ChoiceOne Bank received the 2019 Financial Literacy award from the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) at their Best Conference recently held in Traverse City. ChoiceOne Bank Vice President, Commercial Lender and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Officer Patricia Brown accepted the award for the effort she and her team put forth in developing and implementing the KickStart to Career programs in Muskegon and Newago Counties.
Each year, the Michigan Bankers Association recognizes member banks for their outstanding work in financial literacy. The MBA Financial Literacy Awards recognize the industry’s hard work in financial literacy education and what member banks provide their customers and communities.
“Receiving the 2019 Financial Literacy award is exciting for our Bank as we are honored to partner with the Community Foundations of Muskegon and Newago Counties to offer their KickStart to Career programs,” said ChoiceOne Bank President and CEO Kelly Potes. “Patricia has done an amazing job getting these programs off the ground in these counties. In fact, she has become uniquely positioned as a national leader in developing and implementing children’s savings accounts throughout the country.”
KickStart to Career is the name given to Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs); a type of savings account in the United States, usually designed specifically for higher education and career advancement savings. The CSAs ChoiceOne Bank works with are offered through Community Foundations, others can be offered by state government and local government. ChoiceOne Bank partnered with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and the Fremont Area Community Foundation in Newago County to help launch their KickStart to Career programs with Brown at the lead.
Brown has also taken the lead in offering assistance to other Foundations throughout the country to assist with the development and implementation of their programs. She has participated in training with CFLeads, a national network of community foundations committed to building stronger communities through community leadership. CFLeads CSA Conference was lead by representatives from Prosperity Now, a national nonprofit offering grassroots advocacy including the support of CSAs, and with CEDAM on community development opportunities through CSAs. CEDAM is a nonprofit association serving the community economic development (CED) industry in Michigan.
“The overall goal of our KickStart to Career programs is to interrupt generational poverty, to bank the unbanked and allow a platform for children to begin dreaming of a brighter future,” said Brown. “We want to see family engagement grow with these programs, so we developed a curriculum that encourages teachers, parents and bankers to engage with our children to help them learn the value of saving for their futures.”
In addition to Brown’s time, ChoiceOne Bank has committed staff to develop and implement the programs for KickStart to Career. The Bank schedules alternating types of training until graduation. Education is tailored annually relevant to each grade. ChoiceOne will donate $25 to a child’s account if a member of the family opens a new account at ChoiceOne. Financial literacy can help to develop a money-smart community when families are offered a community banking experience instead of having to use high-cost alternatives.
“It’s proven that students who are presented a curriculum on the fundamentals of saving will have greater financial success in their adult years,” said Brown. “My vision is for young adults to have a sense of pride coming from a community that has invested in them and given them the tools they will need for a healthy financial future.”
About Michigan Bankers Association (MBA)
Founded in 1887, the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA) is a trade association of Michigan financial institutions which currently includes more than 2,300 branches located throughout the state with combined assets of over $150 billion. For more information see https://www.mibankers.com/.
We help community foundations build strong communities by advancing effective practices, sharing knowledge, and galvanizing action on critical issues of our time. For more information see http://www.cfleads.org/.
CEDAM is a nonprofit trade association serving the community economic development (CED) industry in Michigan. Our members are nonprofit affordable housing developers, Main Street organizations, Community Development Corporations (CDCs), Community Development Organizations (CDOs), community foundations, local governments and municipalities as well as many other types of organizations working to ensure their communities are financially empowered, equitable and vibrant. We host conferences and training events, manage programs, offer funding and capacity building opportunities as well as other resources available online. For more information see http://mcfe.cedamichigan.org/childrens-savings/
Ensuring everyone in our country has a clear path to financial stability, wealth and prosperity. For more information see https://prosperitynow.org/.