After being piloted in 2010, the Credit Union Foundation of Maryland & DC expanded their “Millionaire’s Club” concept into four Maryland high schools last year with the help of a National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) Financial Education Grant. The Millionaire’s Club is a high school level after-school financial literacy initiative.
An additional four more Millionaire’s Clubs are planned for four more high schools in 2012. Each Club is paired with a local credit union to help with mentoring, curriculum development and be the financial institution for the Club. Close ties between the Clubs and credit union partners also ensures that the credit union philosophy is properly and prominently applied.
Millionaire's Club members gather after a meeting at Gaithersburg High School in Gaithersburg, Md.
"The Millionaire's Club concept is growing faster than we had expected," noted Kyle Swisher, Executive Director of the CU Foundation of MD & DC. "As schools launch their new Clubs, word has been spreading within administrative and faculty groups creating demand from within school districts. We recently launched a new Club after a student contacted our Foundation asking how they could get the effort up and running in their school. The NCUF grant allowed us to pilot Club expansions and now we're seeking additional funding to seed Clubs throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C."
The positive impact of the Millionaire's Club approach has already begun to show results. For example, members of the Educational Systems FCU-sponsored Millionaire’s Club at Frederick Douglass High School gathered recently to celebrate their first-place finish in the regional Stock Market Game and fourth place statewide. Club members competed among 1,148 teams in Maryland and 136 teams regionally to earn their top spot. Also, four members of the SECU-sponsored Millionaire’s Club at Howard County’s Applications & Research Lab were recently recognized for their placement in the upper percentile of the Department of Treasury’s National Financial Capability Challenge. More than 80,000 students nationwide participated in the Challenge.
About the Millionaire’s Club
The Millionaire’s Club seeks to guide high school students to envision and prepare for their futures through an interesting, club structured after-school financial literacy effort presented by professionally educated staff.
The Millionaire’s Club program offers a detailed monthly curriculum for after-school programs led by paid teaching staff already embedded at the participating high schools (the program provides a small stipend for teachers). The curriculum strongly focuses on interactive activities to allow the student participants to reflect on their daily financial activities, the influence of financial matters in their culture, the importance of educational and career choices, and the tools they can use now to establish a lifelong understanding of and benefits derived from the proper use of those tools. Borrowing from established and successful financial resources, the Millionaire’s Club binds these resources with a club-like atmosphere complete with youth-oriented influences, periodicals, competitive ventures, and entrepreneurial activities.
Curriculum that reflects the National Endowment for Financial Education’s (NEFE) industry standard High School Financial Planning Program is supplemented with materials and activities from brass Magazine, The Stock Market Game, The Personal Finance Challenge, and other sources to build a fun and engaging Club program that meets weekly and stretches throughout the school year.
The Club operates in a business-like structure with the Club membership assuming Board roles and the faculty advisor serving as President/CEO. Members elect Board leadership from within their ranks. Seed funding primes the Club treasury and allows the Club members a practical approach to money management, planning, and budgeting. Capping the school year’s activities is an entrepreneurial exercise that brings the year’s education sessions together and generates funding for the following year’s Club, perpetuating the Club while offering hands-on experience in entrepreneurship and money management.
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. 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.