JumpStart Awards "Odom" to Barb O'Neill


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Jump$tart Coalition Awards “Odom” to Cooperative Extension’s Barb O’Neill for Financial Literacy Efforts

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2009…Barbara M. O’Neill, a Specialist in Financial Resource Management for the Cooperative Extension at Rutgers University, has been named the 2009 winner of the coveted Odom Award by the Jump$tart Coalition® for Personal Financial Literacy. The award was presented at the not-for-profit organization’s annual awards dinner, which was held April 1 in Washington, DC.

This prestigious award recognizes individuals who have made substantial contributions to the promotion of financial literacy among students, and is today the highest award given for individual contributions that further personal financial education/literacy among students in kindergarten through college. 

“I’d like to accept this award on behalf of Cooperative Extension educators nationwide who are actively teaching personal finance to youth and participating in state Jump$tart Coalitions,” O’Neill said upon accepting the award. “I also accept this award on behalf of my financial education colleagues in the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education.”

Other awards presented during the event included the Federal Legislator of the Year presented to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), who represents the 30th District in Texas, including much of the city of Dallas. The State Coalition of the Year was presented to the Tennessee Jump$tart Coalition. In addition, the national poster contest winner of Jump$tart Coalition national partner National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) was presented during this year’s dinner. The winner of the contest is Leah Ellyson, an 11th grade student at North Marion High School in Farmington, West Virginia.

“For those of us in the financial literacy education movement,” Dr. O’Neill noted during her acceptance speech,” “this is our moment to shine. People need us. They are concerned about their debt, investment losses, and economic uncertainty. “In addition, financial literacy is finally being recognized at the highest levels of the federal government. Yes, this is our moment.”

 “I’m delighted that Barbara won this award,” Neil Milner, chairman of the Jump$tart Coalition, noted. “I came to know her when we served together on the Jump$tart Board of Directors, but I knew her by the quality of her reputation long before that. She is one of those people with so many professional designations at the end of her title that even the acronyms don’t fit on a business card. She’s a wonderful choice!”  

About Jump$tart: The Jump$tart Coalition is a Washington, DC-based not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve the personal financial literacy of students in kindergarten through college. It is mentioned prominently each year in Congressional resolutions proclaiming April “Financial Literacy for Youth” Month. The coalition has grown to include more than 180 national partners and 48 affiliated state coalitions. One of its premier services is the Jump$tart Personal Finance Clearinghouse, which lists more than 750 titles of financial literacy materials available for all and can be found at www.jumpstartclearinghouse.org.