MADISON, Wis. (4/27/11)--June 30 is the deadline for credit union organizations to apply for new Financial Education Grants from the National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF). NCUF’s annual grants, formerly known as “Innovation Grants,” have been renamed to reflect the foundation’s new focus on financial education. The grants continue to be aligned with REAL Solutions, NCUF’s signature program. REAL Solutions strives to improve the financial capability of American families, including low-wealth individuals and families and young adults and children. Financial education and literacy programs from REAL Solutions are designed to increase family financial capability through access to information, training opportunities and coaching. NCUF said research shows that the low-wealth market includes not only lower-income consumers, but also consumers with moderate and middle incomes who have been unable to build significant savings or assets. REAL Solutions aims to help these consumers become credit union members, grow savings and accumulate assets that will generate wealth for their families. New Financial Education Grants can assist credit union organizations participating in these programs, or other initiatives consistent with the financial education components of REAL Solutions. They are:
* Providing financial counseling; * Building employee and member financial capacity through savings challenges and other wealth coaching programs; and * Creating experiential learning programs, such as reality fairs and poverty simulations, after-school financial education programs, product awareness and staff training.
Organizations eligible to apply include credit unions, credit union service organizations, state credit union associations and foundations and any other organizations owned or controlled by credit unions. The amount of grant dollars available depends on how much credit union organizations invest in the Community Investment Fund (CIF). With interest rates at record lows this year, NCUF will need to receive funds from more supporters and CIF investors to grant at least $300,000. Each quarter, half of the CIF dividends is returned to investing credit unions. The other half is donated to NCUF, which grants half of its dividend to each investing credit union’s state foundation or league. NCUF uses the remaining portion of the CIF dividend to support its national programs and Financial Education Grants.