3 fantastic financial nonprofits you should know about

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3 fantastic financial nonprofits you should know about


Are you "financially literate"? According to the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy, financial literacy is "the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial wellbeing."

But how does this translate to your everyday life? Being financially literate can include:

  • Understanding your credit
  • Knowing how to create an effective budget
  • Knowing how to wisely invest your money
  • Saving for the future

Many experts agree that financial education, which is a key part of becoming financially literate, is lacking in the United States. The Council for Economic Education's 2016 Survey of the States found that only 17 states require high school students to take a personal finance class.

And financial education has some tangible benefits, especially if delivered before college.

A 2015 Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) study of three states (Georgia, Idaho and Texas) where high school personal finance education is mandatory found that students from these states went on to have higher credit scores and reduced delinquency rates (they failed to repay a loan less often) compared to students in states that didn't have mandatory personal finance programs.

Even if you missed out on financial education when you were younger, it's not too late to learn. While you should always do your own research before donating to or participating in not-for-profit groups, we've rounded up some of our favorite financial literacy nonprofits who are dedicated to helping young people and adults find their financial footing, particularly those from low-income or underprivileged backgrounds.

1. Operation HOPE, Inc.

Established: 1992

Disclosure: Credit Karma and Operation HOPE have partnered for events in Detroit, Michigan on July 20-21 and July 23-24. During those events, Credit Karma will donate to Operation HOPE for each verified social media post made by attendees who visit Credit Karma's on-site tent. The donations will go directly to Operation HOPE's educational initiatives in the Detroit community.

Operation HOPE is a nonprofit - and a partner of Credit Karma - whose goal is to provide financial literacy and empowerment to young people and adults.

Caryn Anderson, Operation HOPE's director of communications, says the organization was established "grounded in the belief that everyone - regardless of their backstory - deserves a life filled with financial dignity and opportunity."

Operation HOPE has locations in dozens of American cities, including Detroit, Oakland, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Washington D.C, and offers a variety of free workshops, including "Credit and Money Management," a homebuyer workshop and basic computer classes.

It also offers more in-depth programs, including Banking on Our Future, where specially-trained HOPE Corps volunteers go to schools to teach financial literacy to kids. This is one part of its Project 5117 initiative, which aims to:

  • Empower 5 million young people with financial literacy education.
  • Give opportunities to 1 million of these young people to become entrepreneurs and job creators.
  • Open 6,000 Operation HOPE locations (sponsored offices that will be located in banks, credit unions, government facilities and other community locations) to give communities access to credit counseling, credit education and money management.

Anderson says that when people attend an Operation HOPE class, the aim is that they'll walk away feeling "empowered that that they have taken the first step on their journey to building a sustainable future."

You can learn more about Project 5117 and Operation HOPE's mission on its website.

2. National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)

Established: 1972

NEFE is focused on bringing resources and education to underserved Americans. Paul Golden, NEFE's director of media relations, says that financial education "is a life-long skill that all people need to be mindful of continually through their lives."

Golden adds that while there are proven benefits to young people receiving financial education, there's also a need for "booster shots" throughout their lives to keep their learning up-to-date.

Here are some key NEFE initiatives:

  • Its High School Financial Planning Program® provides resources for educators, such as financial lesson plans for high school teachers. The program is focused on financial basics that are relevant for teens, including budgeting, saving and preparing for the burden and management of student debt.
  • General financial tips, resources and advice for Americans from a multitude of backgrounds, including retirees, young people starting out and college students on its Smart About Money website. These resources include calculators that can help you determine how long it could take to pay off your credit card, or when you should start saving for your kid's college fund.
  • They conduct long-term studies into key financial behaviors and trends, including the impact of student loans on particular population segments and how high schools can play a part in shaping their students' future financial habits.

3. Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy

Established: 1995

Jump$tart, a financial literacy nonprofit based in Washington D.C., is focused on providing financial education to young Americans from pre-school to college by ensuring teachers are equipped with the resources they need.

To do this, Jump$tart works with about 150 partner organizations and 51 state coalitions to be "a unified voice in the world of financial literacy," according to Heather McElrath, Jump$tart's director of communications.

A March 2016 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that teachers don't feel comfortable teaching financial education - only 31 percent of respondents felt "completely comfortable" and 18 percent felt "not comfortable at all."

The teachers surveyed also indicated that they needed more support in order to educate their students in financial literacy, including teaching materials and their own professional development.

Jump$tart focuses on working with K-12 teachers by holding an annual conference that provides attendees with financial education resources and opportunities for professional development.

Jump$tart was also the original promoter of Financial Literacy Month, which happens every April. This month-long campaign is now supported by multiple organizations and businesses, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which uses the month to raise awareness of financial education gaps. The month was also officially recognized by President Obama in 2011.

About the Author: Korrena Bailie is Credit Karma's Managing Editor. She's been writing and editing personal finance content since 2012. When she's not scanning personal finance-related Google Alerts, she's climbing, traveling to countries where it rains all the time (ahem, Ireland) or talking to her cats as if they're people.

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I do wish that I had finance management classes@ my old high school.money management,investments,explain in easy to understand words investment terminology and what it means GO DETROIT!!!! southwest side

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