Carter Federal Credit Union (CFCU) is increasing opportunities to access financial education and financial counseling services through its Collaborative Financial Education Pilot Program that combines education with entertainment for an innovative approach to financial education.
CFCU has developed a member volunteer training program, partnered with a local studio to film a series of financial literacy video trailers to be shown before movie features in a local theatre and provided interactive workshops around Biz Kid$ financial education programming. Biz Kid$ is the Emmy Award winning and credit union funded public television series that teaches kids about money management and entrepreneurship.
A Carter Federal Credit Union volunteer distributes information on Biz Kid$ and tips for starting a business at a Biz Kid$ screening at Springhill Theatre, in Springhill, La.
CFCU’s unique program was launched this year with a grant from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) to help increase CFCU’s capacity for delivering financial education programming and expand opportunities to access financial literacy training and financial counseling in low-wealth and underserved populations in Northwest Louisiana and South Arkansas. Two CFCU member businesses, Fairfield Studios and The Spring Theatre, LLC, have partnered with the credit union to develop and implement the project by contributing services, products and funding.
“Carter Federal Credit Union’s multi-faceted approach to financial literacy is great,” said Lois Kitsch, NCUF National Program Director. “Plus, trailers are an integral part of the theater experience, which makes this such a clever way to reach moviegoers with a message that will resonate.”
CFCU’s Three-Pronged Approach to Financial Education
CFCU’s pilot program includes three initiatives designed to deliver financial education and literacy training to target populations by increasing both the number of trainers available, and the number of venues available, specifically venues beyond traditional classroom settings. CFCU’s first initiative was to establish a member volunteer training program, adding much needed skills and human resource assets to CFCU and their community. During the pilot phase, ten member volunteers were trained and certified by the credit union to deliver financial education workshops, and presentations in communities served by CFCU. The group was named the “Carter Federal Education Team" (CFET) and includes credit union members and employees. CFET members serve a vital role between the public and the credit union. Already, over 500 people in the community have received financial education training as a result of this initiative.
CFCU operates eight branch locations in low-income and underserved rural areas of Northwest Louisiana and South Arkansas. These areas are host to high levels of economic distress related to unemployment, poverty, substandard housing conditions, predatory payday lending outlets, and other negative factors. CFCU’s second initiative involves a partnership with Fairfield Studios to create a series of educational video trailers that are shown in a local movie theater (Springhill Theatre, in Springhill, La.). These videos introduce financial literacy topics to age appropriate audiences using a “Carter’s Fun Facts About Money” concept. Filmed on location in the communities CFCU serves, these videos combine familiar surroundings, social and cultural elements with financial literacy topics to peak interest and raise awareness among viewers. The trailers are also available on YouTube:
- “A New Bike” – This trailer is targeted towards youth and is shown before G rated movies. It addresses careless spending and the importance of savings.
- “Your Financial Future Preview” – This trailer is targeted towards 21 years and older and is shown before movies that target adult viewers. It addresses the importance of retirement planning, savings and investing for the future.
- “Looking Back Looking Forward” – This trailer targets a broad audience ages 17 years and older and is shown during PG rated movies that target viewers in this age range. The script was written to address the financial literacy issues that are most relevant to CFCU members and its communities.
The marquee of Springhill Theatre, in Springhill, La. displays information about an upcoming Biz Kid$ screening.
CFCU’s third initiative exponentially increases CFCU’s capacity to deliver financial education. It includes working with their project partner, The Spring Theatre, LLC, to develop a financial education program that adds a much needed educational component to their summer Kids Camp Movie Program and Senior Citizens Night. This initiative increases the financial literacy of up to 2,818 students between the ages of 5 and 18 years of age and up to 3,000 senior citizens. Utilizing the large screen format of a movie theater to present Biz Kid$ and Spendster curricula provides unique educational and interactive learning experiences to youth and seniors in an ideal setting. CFCU has garnered strong audience participation and peaked interest in their educational programming because it is presented during the summer and in a relaxed cultural venue.
“This program is one the ways Carter Federal Credit Union is responding to the increasing need for financial literacy within our membership and in the communities we serve,” said James Gibson, President/CEO at CFCU.
A Foundation Grant at Work
NCUF grants are made possible by supporters of the Foundation and the Community Investment Fund (CIF), an award-winning system of investments that help credit unions earn dividends while donating to national and state community development programs.
This “Grant at Work” is part of a series highlighting NCUF grantees making a positive impact in their community and empowering consumers to achieve financial freedom through credit unions.
About the National Credit Union Foundation (ncuf.coop):
The National Credit Union Foundation is the US credit union movement's primary national philanthropic program provider, fundraiser and grant-maker, working to help consumers achieve financial freedom through credit unions. 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.
NCUF is funded primarily by investments in the award-winning Community Investment Fund (CIF) and by generous Supporters led by the Credit Union National Association and CUNA Mutual Group. All NCUF donors provide support that empowers NCUF and state credit union foundations to make financial freedom achievable through credit unions.
The National Credit Union Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization. NCUF continues to earn the Better Business Bureau seal of approval as an “Accredited Charity” for meeting all 20 BBB Wise Giving Alliance Standards for national charities.