Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
February 23, 2011
Financial Empowerment Programs Get A Boost From The State To Educate Delawareans Of All Ages
Funding Derived From Licensing Fees Collected From Payday And Other Short-Term Lenders
WILMINGTON – Thirteen non-profits will split more than $500,000 in new grant funding to improve the financial well-being of Delawareans through financial literacy programs, Secretary of State Jeff Bullock announced today. A total of 36 organizations throughout the state applied for funding from the state’s new Financial Literacy Education Fund (FLEF). The announcement of the recipients was made at the First State Saves 2011 event held at Barclays Bank on the Wilmington Riverfront.
In 2009, Governor Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 108 requiring businesses that make short-term consumers loans (such as title loans and payday loans) to pay an annual high-cost loan license fee of $1,500 for each licensed office they operate. These monies are deposited into the FLEF, which the law states must be used to fund grants to or contracts with schools or other organizations that provide financial and economic literacy skills to adults and youth.
“These organizations help people make the most of the money they have and, through education, help people avoid financial predators. Financial literacy helps people open a new chapter in their lives – one dedicated to economic opportunity and empowerment,” Markell said. “In difficult financial times, these skills are even more important. It is also vital that we educate our young people so that they grow into adulthood already equipped with good financial habits.”
The FLEF is administered by the Office of the State Bank Commissioner and the Secretary of State’s Office. Proposals for competitive grants were assessed based on how they would improve the financial well-being of Delawareans, and the State was particularly interested in funding proactive, preventive, and forward-thinking proposals. Applications for programs and services designed to reach populations or geographic regions within the State that have had limited access to financial literacy programs was strongly encouraged.
“There are clearly many groups throughout the state that care about the well-being of their fellow Delawareans and have sound ideas to help them increase their financial awareness,” said Secretary Bullock. “I am very happy that the Financial Literacy Education Fund can help support these efforts by expanding the reach of financial educational programs for both adults and youth, empowering them and helping them secure their economic future.”
All schools recognized by the Delaware Department of Education and nonprofit organizations within the state of Delaware that have a 501(c)(3) designation by the Internal Revenue Service were eligible to apply. Agencies receiving a Financial Literacy Fund Grant must serve the state of Delaware and its residents without discrimination based on race, religion, gender, age, disability, or national origin.
Grants were awarded in three categories: (1) K-12 Financial Literacy Programs; (2) Adult Financial Literacy Programs; and (3) Targeted Campaigns focused on providing education to those facing decisions on debt, with specific emphasis on reaching out to the military, seniors, and minority communities.
One of the grantees, the Delaware Financial Literacy Institute, will receive $100,000 to create a statewide multimedia campaign making Delawareans aware of the importance of taking charge of their finances: spending less than they earn, saving early and often, controlling debt, and avoiding fraud and predatory practices. The campaign will use billboards, social networking, public service announcements, classes, and other means to improve Delawareans’ control and knowledge of money.
One of the successful proposals for youth programs was submitted by Junior Achievement of Delaware and the Latin American Community Center, which have formed a partnership to provide financial and economic literacy skills to close to 1,000 students in northern New Castle County. Funding awarded to the Delaware Council for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship will help it expand its existing “Keys to Financial Success” program to more Delaware high school teachers, providing them with training and instructional materials.
"This is another tool for Delaware educators as they continue to teach our state's students the important life lesson of how to make sound financial decisions," Secretary of Education Lillian Lowery said.
Interfaith Community Housing (ICH) has created alliances with school districts throughout Kent County and Colonial School District in New Castle to co-host Financial Fitness Workshops. The meetings focus on residents struggling with their home mortgage payments, but it also guides them through a review of their credit reports and budgets. Graduates of the program have access to ongoing counseling and support in person and by phone. The $40,000 grant that ICH is receiving from the State will help them continue and expand this program to more people.
These are only four of the 13 programs that are taking creative approaches to helping Delawareans become savvier in order to make better financial decisions. A list of the grantees can be found below: