After spearheading efforts for six years, the Washington Credit Union Foundation (WCUF) will be passing fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities for Biz Kid$ to the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to ensure the program gains the maximum support from the credit union system.
“This is a great day for Biz Kid$ and everyone who has been involved in this amazingly successful project,” said RoxAnne Kruger, Executive Director of WCUF and Biz Kid$ project manager on behalf of credit unions since 2005. “It is because of credit unions and their social conscience that they support this show, which raises awareness of financial literacy and entrepreneurship across the country.”
The show, which premiered in January 2008, quickly grew into a national phenomenon. It has aired on over 340 public television stations in all 50 states with a viewership reach of 271 million people. Biz Kid$ has the highest recorded carriage of any children’s program have ever released by American Public Television, with a viewing audience of more than 1.2 million per episode. The website is currently receiving more than 100,000 unique visitors a month hailing from about 140 countries.
Others began to take notice of the show and its important message. In its first four seasons, Biz Kid$ has garnered seven Emmy nominations—winning once in 2009—and rang the closing bell ceremonies at both the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ Exchange for the past three years in conjunction with National Financial Literacy Month. In 2010, it also won the credit union industry’s most prestigious honor, the Herb Wegner Award. More recently, the Internal Revenue Service and Ernst & Young have started using the program in their outreach efforts, which speaks to the quality of the product.
In recent years, the underwriting of the show has grown from a network of credit unions, credit union associations, foundations and affiliate organizations into a wider coalition; in 2010, the Michigan Credit Union League’s Invest in America program (www.lovemycreditunion.org) stepped forward with a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to the program to ensure its success going forward. This transition agreement is part of that trend, says NCUF Executive Director Bucky Sebastian.
“We are delighted to take Biz Kid$ on,” said Sebastian. “With NCUF’s new focus on financial education, it’s a perfect fit for us and also for credit unions across the country.”
“This project has national scope and reach, and it is appropriate for the NCUF to take the reins,” said NCUF Chairman Gary Oakland, CEO of BECU in Tukwila, Wash. “Through a national home, we can utilize more resources available through the national credit union system to raise the profile of the show with consumers, teachers and lawmakers.”
NCUF has a long history with the program, having contributed more than $3.4 million in underwriting grants to Biz Kid$ since June 2007. It has also been instrumental in supporting the promotion of the program and its outreach resources through conferences and its website.
“The Biz Kid$ message of financial responsibility and awareness is perfectly matched with the credit union philosophy,” added Jamie Hammond, one of the show’s executive producers. “We couldn’t ask for better underwriters and are thrilled to be continuing our partnership going forward.”
Over the past six years, the credit union system and its affiliates have raised more than $10.4 million that have supported the show’s production, website and curriculum. Credit unions can get information on supporting Biz Kid$ at ncuf.coop>National Programs>Biz Kid$>Support Biz Kid$.
About the Washington Credit Union Foundation:
The Washington Credit Union Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 philanthropic organization which helps advance the Credit Unions of Washington State. Its mission is to support and promote credit union development and credit unions’ commitment to social responsibility.
About the National Credit Union Foundation:
The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement’s primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker. Through NCUF grants and programs, credit unions provide widespread financial education, create greater access to affordable financial services, and empower more consumers to save, build assets, and own homes. For more information, visit www.ncuf.coop.
About Invest in America:
CU Village, a marketing company based in Livonia, Michigan, holds contracts with U.S.-based companies for exclusive credit union member discounts through the “Invest in America” program. Its role is to provide marketing and technology support for credit unions on these membership enhancement programs. For more information on Invest in America, visit www.lovemycreditunion.org or follow Lovemycreditunion on Twitter www.twitter.com/LoveMyCU.