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DollarWI$E Campaign Announces 2012 Innovation, Summer Youth Campaign Awards

By Javier Arvelo
January 30, 2012


The Mayors' National DollarWI$E Campaign has announced its 2012 Innovation Grants award winners and its Summer Youth Campaign grant recipients at the 80th Winter Meeting of The U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington (DC) on January 20.

The 2012 winners of the Innovation Grants are the cities of Boston, Bridgeport, and Milwaukee. Each of these cities received a $15,000 Innovation Grant to further their local financial education program and put its citizens on the path to financial freedom.

Boston seeks to serve 12,650 low-income taxpayers at 22 community-based free tax- and asset-building sites; recruit 600 tax preparation volunteers and train and certify at least 400; and provide $22 million to taxpayers through credits and returns.

Bridgeport wants to support its Reality Fair for both high school and middle school students. In addition, the city wants to bring low-income students into parity with students from higher-income suburbs by building a grassroots awareness campaign. The city will also use DollarWI$E funds to support its Saturday Kick-Off Meeting for 7th- and 8th graders and their parents, which will provide them with the basic fiscal education and financial resources needed to improve their lives and help lead them out of poverty.

Milwaukee and its housing authority will be able to expand the outreach and financial education to begin to include households that receive Section 8 rent assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program.

"Our DollarWI$E grant will make it possible for my city to expand crucial financial education programs to inner city youth," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch.

The Innovation Grant program encourages mayors and cities around the U.S. to start or expand programs that provide financial literacy education for their citizens in innovative, replicable ways. So far, mayors and cities have taken advantage of these funds to promote a variety of programs throughout their communities: Earned Income Tax Credit help; financial literacy fairs; money management workshops; credit and banking lessons; and targeted financial education for youth, low-income people, and senior citizens.

Established in 2004 with the generous help of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation, the Campaign has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to 37 cities through its Innovation Grants and its Summer Youth Campaign Grants.

Summer Youth Campaign

The DollarWI$E Campaign announced five winners for its Summer Youth Campaign. Each will receive $4,000 grants to promote financial education within their summer youth jobs programs. For the 2012 year, DollarWI$E awarded grants to the cities of Columbus (GA), Detroit, Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Norfolk.

The DollarWI$E Summer Youth Campaign seeks to work with mayors and cities towards the incorporation of a financial literacy education component into every Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEPs) around the country by 2015. SYEPs provide a great opportunity to reach millions of students from around the U.S.

As part of the Summer Youth Campaign, DollarWI$E will sponsor its SYC iPad contest. Up to five students from across the country, who participate in summer youth job programs, will get a chance to produce a video of his or her experience with financial literacy education and enter it for a chance to win an iPad.

The Campaign also announced at the meeting the launch of DollarWI$E Español, which will include important financial education information.

Meanwhile on its website, Tweeter and Facebook, DollarWI$E will continue to provide quick reference material and information on new financial tools for all those mayors and cities that have made these media platforms part of their communication structure. For more information, visit bedollarwise.org.