FINRA Foundation Awards 2021 Ketchum Prize to Shawn Spruce
Champion of Financial and Investor Education in Native Communities Receives Highest Honor
WASHINGTON—The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) today awarded Shawn Spruce the 2021 Ketchum Prize—its highest honor—in recognition of his outstanding advocacy, teaching and outreach as a champion of investor education and financial capability in Native communities.
Spruce is a financial education consultant at First Nations Development Institute (First Nations), a nonprofit organization that assists Native American tribes, their communities, and Native nonprofits in economic development by providing technical assistance, training, policy guidance and grants.
“We are delighted to honor Shawn Spruce for his incredible work as a consummate educator and advocate of Native communities, long one of the most financially marginalized and underserved populations in the United States,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. “Shawn has battled on behalf of Native Americans against systemic financial inequities and proven himself a highly capable fraud fighter, combining investigative research with collaborative action. At the same time, he has delivered common-sense, unbiased financial and investor education to Native American youths and adults through every available channel.”
“The Ketchum Prize is perhaps the greatest recognition I have received as a financial educator and financial capability advocate,” Spruce said. “For a community-driven career that spans nearly 15 years, it is a tremendous acknowledgement, not only of myself, but all of Indian Country, for which I am especially grateful. I sincerely hope my work inspires others as we continue to foster economic empowerment through education, innovation and self-reliance for both present and future generations.”
Spruce has collaborated with First Nations to develop an interactive investment training curriculum for tribal governments. As a result, tribal leaders are better able to make investment decisions on behalf of their communities. Spruce has delivered this training to the Zia Pueblo, Taos Pueblo, Zuni Pueblo, San Felipe Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Ute Mountain Tribe, Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Hopi, among others.
Spruce also worked with First Nations to develop two websites to teach essential financial and investing skills to young people. InvestNativeOnline.org is a free resource used by several tribal programs as required training for tribal youth. ManageYourEBCIMoney.org was created exclusively for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) based on research Spruce conducted that showed young tribal members and their families needed knowledge and skills to manage trust distributions paid to tribal members at age 18. To date, more than 3,000 EBCI tribal members have completed the online training as a requirement for receiving their first trust payments.
In partnership with First Nations, Spruce has written articles on a wide range of personal finance, fraud awareness and investing topics. The culturally themed articles are provided to tribes and nonprofits to publish in tribal media.
As Walsh noted, “A big part of being an effective financial educator is the ability to communicate complex financial topics in clear language to encourage positive action. Shawn does this at every opportunity. Simply put, his work changes people’s lives for the better."
Click here to listen to Spruce talk more about his work in Native communities on the latest episode of FINRA Unscripted, FINRA’s podcast series.
Watch this video as Spruce describes the financial and investor education training he provides to Native American youths and adults.
About the Ketchum Prize
The FINRA Foundation’s $10,000 Ketchum Prize honors FINRA’s former chairman and CEO Richard “Rick” Ketchum, who retired in 2016 following three decades of distinguished leadership in securities regulation. Ketchum also served as chairman of the FINRA Foundation and is a longtime advocate for helping families achieve economic well-being.
Following Ketchum’s retirement, the FINRA Board of Governors and the FINRA Foundation Board of Directors took steps to perpetuate his vision and achievements by endowing an annual cash prize to recognize researchers and educators who have made major and uncommon advances toward improving investor protection and financial capability in the United States.
Previous Ketchum Prize recipients include: University of Pennsylvania Professor Dr. Olivia S. Mitchell; Dr. Annamaria Lusardi of the George Washington University’s Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center; and Dr. J. Michael Collins of the Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The FINRA Foundation is now accepting nominations for the 2022 Ketchum Prize. Information is available at www.finrafoundation.org/ketchumprize.
About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.
FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry—brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.