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Issue: Education (Neighborhood Assist)

Chicago, Illinois
Year Funded: 2013
Organization: MoneyThink

To empower urban teens to build a better future through peer-mentorship and financial education.

The Moneythink community is comprised of late-stage high school students in urban areas who have proven potential to benefit from effective financial education; in low-income areas, these critical real-world skills are of even greater importance as students seek to transcend their surroundings and end the cycle of poverty. According to a recent Stanford University report, the “number one reason many young adults drop out of college is an inability to juggle school, work and paying for basic expenses.”  A scholarly report from 2006 found that “high school seniors with higher financial literacy scores were less likely than others to bounce a check and more likely to balance their checkbooks.” The broader implications of these, and similar findings, signal the need for improved financial education for students preparing to transition into adulthood. The innovative volunteer model at the core of Moneythink programming empowers students by equipping them with essential, applicable skills.  The average Moneythink student sees their financial literacy skills increase twofold. This progress in financial savvy and behavior manifests as long-term, positive impact on math achievement, classroom attendance/dropout rates and postsecondary persistence rates. The reach and scope of Moneythink programming creates potential for generational shifts in financial decision-making and individual economic influence. Further, the Moneythink Young Entrepreneurs Conference and externship programs create avenues for students to enter the workforce, experience the power of information and articulate individualized goals. The highly inspired and knowledgeable volunteer base that facilitates weekly Moneythink programming, delivers information via pop-culture examples and relationship-building to maximize comprehension and application. As White House Champions of Change winners, Moneythink earned the confidence of President Obama in driving lasting community-focused change.

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