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Montana Jump$tart Coalition - April 2015

Montana Financial Education Coalition*

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.

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.

FEC 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 $15,000.
  • Publishes a calendar featuring school age art around financial literacy topics. The artwork is selected from state-wide art contest submissions including award photos of the art contest winners. The calendar prominently displays the MFEC and Jump$tart logo’s along with the logo of our great sponsors who also receive calendars to distribute statewide. The calendar includes monthly financial tips, and emphasizes key financial literacy dates and programs, such as Financial Literacy Month.
  • 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 including the ongoing discussions about financial education in Montana schools, standards and graduation requirements which remain 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 with prizes for top submissions. 
  • Provides liaisons to the Montana Military Financial Alliance and the Montana Partnership to End Childhood Hunger (MPECH).
  • Partners with the Montana Bankers Association and EverFi as they continue to there are now 22 Montana banks sponsoring nearly 80 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.
  • 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. 

The MFEC Conference Committee is busy planning the 2016 Statewide Conference which will feature keynote speaker Holly Petraeus from the Office of Service Member Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In partnership with the Montana Military Financial Alliance, MFEC will host an evening event focused on Service members and their families addressing some of the compelling financial issues they face.

The coalition is supporting Montana’s Partnership to End Childhood Hunger’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. By working with the Montana Food Bank Network to identify families at risk of hunger, MFEC partners around the state are providing small and focused financial literacy consultation and support.

MFEC’s Marketing Committee started planning for the 2016 Financial Literacy Calendar and corresponding art contest. The art contest scheduled for later this fall will ask children demonstrate their financial intentions by coloring or painting in three jars: Save, Invest, Donate. Sponsorship drives are in process. If you or your organization would like to sponsor a month or order 2016 calendars contact Cara Ewing at Turn on JavaScript!.

Finally, MFEC is working to establish a Teacher Advisory Council. Teachers will participate in MFEC meetings, advisory council conference calls and conferences and have the opportunity to gain a sponsorship from MFEC to attend Jump$tart’s National Educator Conference in Washington D.C., in November 2015.

Diana Holshue, MFEC President
Helena Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
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*2015 State Coalition of the Year Award Winner