Being awarded the Fall 2019 Plutus Foundation Grant was instrumental to the success of an innovative financial literacy experiment in holistic money wellness learning – an event that focused on breaking the chains of financial illiteracy for the ENTIRE family, while removing the cost and physical barriers to attendance for families most in need.
The results were both unexpected and immensely gratifying – and are now opening doors to even greater partnerships across the country!
The “Dollars and Good Sense – Family Fun Money Games” event held in Kalama, WA in October 2019. Our innovative live event pilot program blended quality, fun and holistic money skills foundations for adults in one area of the facility (Dollars and Good Sense™), with simultaneous, safe learning opportunities for both teens and little ones (Smart Money Commanders™ – using custom-designed interactive theater and games) – ALL at the SAME TIME.
Bringing Money Knowledge to the Whole Family
Partnering with passionate business leaders, two dynamic community civic groups, an amazing local credit union and the Plutus Foundation, our team was able to offer a two-day event that was free of charge to struggling families in the entire community.
Meals and snacks, workbooks, games, support staff, childcare, prizes and a bonus 8 week Foundations course awaited 16 families who truly wanted to “get off the money madness roller coaster” and chart a new financial future for themselves and their kids.
Led by a spunky licensed CPA, two caring credit experts, a down-to-earth “get it done tactics” director and several off-the-charts amazing theater creatives (with a combined 69 years of expertise), we used oodles of caring tools, laughter and fun learning to cover eight diverse areas of financial literacy:
- Attitudes, dreams and core values
- Vision Board and Planning
- Life planning, parents and retirement
- Credit, borrowing and loans
- Debt Management – Meet the Debt Slayer
- Money talks with your kids
- Tax tips, more resources and tools for 2020
During the live event, the kids would often come and share what they were learning in their module, including songs and skits they had learned. The responses and feedback from the attendees at the end were overwhelmingly positive.
Ongoing Support for Families Who Need Help Changing Their Money Story
As our team had residual funds remaining from the sponsorships and grant (we all volunteered our time to the event) we offered a Dollars and Good Sense (DGS) Foundations program, an 8 week deep dive that covered each area of the live event – one week at a time.
“DGS Foundations” was offered in a combination live and virtual format, with event alumni-only access to continue building strong financial foundations – with caring and customized accountability. Each week there was another lesson, activity sheets, Q&A, office hours and pouring more of our expertise into increasingly confident students of all ages – i.e “both the small kids and the tall kids!” The little ones were given a full one year access to “Smart Money Commanders” via our secure learning platform on Teachable. And yes, their parents and grandparents know the Frugal Song by heart now too!
As a result of the event and Foundations program, several families have taken dramatic steps to identify their dreams and goals, reduce debt, take a hard look at their budgets, get wills and other important legacy documents in place, start on retirement funds, commit to money talks and decisions as a family – and one family even qualified to purchase their first home within 90 days of the event!
Was it a lot of work? You bet. Would we do it again? In a micro heartbeat…
In fact, we have spoken with several leaders across the country since the New Year and know, beyond any doubt, that the need for high quality, fun money wellness remains – and is a real stumbling block to healthy families.
By providing a holistic, caring and innovative solution with our nimble and customizable platform – we believe we can break the chains of financial illiteracy and build a fun and smart foundation for money wellness – one family at a time!