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Montana Financial Education Coalition - September 2014

MFEC partners participate in Teach Children to
Save Day and donate Money Savvy Pigs to students.

The Montana Financial Education Coalition (MFEC) is a collection of financial institutions, government and non-profit organizations, businesses, and interested individuals who believe that financial literacy is essential to economic advancement. The MFEC is the State of Montana’s affiliate to National Jump$tart Coalition and extends its scope further to include Montanans of all age groups and demographics. The Montana Financial Education Coalition functions as a platform to forge partnerships and share best practices to become more efficient and effective in our initiatives to promote financial literacy for all.

Mission Statement
The Montana Financial Education Coalition (MFEC) strives to improve the personal financial knowledge and decision making ability of Montana citizens by promoting public awareness of the need for personal financial education, and by uniting and building capacity of financial education programs.

The greatest strength as a coalition is our ability to facilitate connections and collaboration among those committed and passionate about financial literacy. In 2013, MFEC defined five touch points to reach its partners and interested parties. These five touch points are used consistently to share information, events, and other opportunities across the state. The touch points are e-blasts, Facebook, Twitter, MFEC website, and Financial Resource Education (FREDMT) database.   Additionally, at each MFEC board meeting, we stream live tweets of information shared and partner updates.

MFEC hosts statewide conferences every other year featuring nationally recognized keynote speakers and presentations by state leaders, educators, non-profits, and community leaders. During alternate years, MFEC hosts a series of regional workshops around the state on relevant financial literacy topics, such as foreclosure workshops, retirement planning sessions, and training on financial fraud.

MFEC and its partners host, sponsor, support, and facilitate other financial literacy programs throughout the state, including: Montana $aves $cavenger Hunt for teens, Financial Football, National Children’s Theater, Teach Children to Save, Economics Challenge, Mini-bank Program, Military Saves, America Saves, Feed and Shred, Kids College, Homebuyer Education, Step Ahead Camp, Montana Money Magic, and many more!

In addition, MFEC also does the following:

  • Provides MiniGrant funding opportunities for financial literacy initiatives. To date MFEC has awarded MiniGrants to 30 diverse organizations across the state of Montana totaling over $15,000.
  • Maintains Montana’s online FredMT database www.fredmt.org. The FredMT database provides financial literacy information and service providers by region, demographic and topic.  It is an on-line source available to all Montanans seeking such resources.
  • Promotes public awareness of the need for personal financial education through participation in statewide discussions about financial education and by sharing information on each of our five touch points.  
  • Participates in important discussions surrounding the 2013 legislature’s joint resolution to mandate financial literacy as a requirement for graduation. While a mandate was not approved the ongoing discussion about financial education in Montana schools remains a focus of the coalition partners and board members.
  • Promotes and sponsor educators for Jump$tart’s National Educator Conference
  • Coordinates art contests for elementary students, titled: “A Penny Saved is…” with prizes for top submissions.  
  • Provide liaisons to the Montana Military Financial Alliance and the Montana Partnership to End Childhood Hunger (MPECH).

This fall, the coalition is publishing a calendar featuring school age art around the theme “a penny saved,” which includes the 2014 art contest winners. The calendar will include the MFEC and Jump$tart logo’s along with sponsors who will receive calendars to distribute statewide. The calendar will include monthly financial tips, and emphasize key financial literacy dates and programs, such as Financial Literacy Month.

In October, the coalition will participate with MPECH in a meeting with Montana’s Governor and First Lady at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Helena Branch. The coalition is supporting MPECH’s 10 Step Plan to End Childhood Hunger by providing for the goal in Step 10: to increase financial literacy education to families experiencing or at risks of hunger in the state.

Through partnerships with the Montana Bankers Association and EverFi, there are now 22 Montana banks sponsoring over 78 schools to provide online financial literacy training to Montana high school and elementary age students. The numbers of banks, schools, and students participating continues to grow.

Diana Holshue, MFEC President
Helena Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
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