DollarWise is the Economic Mobility initiative of the United States Conference of Mayors. DollarWise believes in helping residents thrive economically. The Campaign fosters and supports innovative programs to promote educational opportunities, jobs and livable wages, financial capability, homeownership, affordable healthcare, and more. DollarWise addresses three primary components to address economic mobility:
- Removing barriers that prevent economic advancement;
- Creating economic opportunity through education and skills development; and
- Building assets to create intergenerational wealth.
The DollarWise Campaign is made possible through support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, its founding sponsor.
Each year, DollarWise offers USCM members the opportunity to apply for an award through its Innovation Grant Program. As of 2022, DollarWise has awarded grants to over 100 cities nationwide.
Member cities of The United States Conference of Mayors are eligible to apply for the DollarWise Innovation Grants. DollarWise Innovation Grants are designed to support city programs that remove barriers and create opportunities for underserved residents, so that they can build intergenerational wealth.
DollarWise grant awardees demonstrate a strong dedication to helping low & moderate-income residents improve their economic health and success.
Summer Youth Campaign
DollarWise encourages each city to incorporate a financial education component into its summer youth employment program. Our goal is to make financial education a key component of every summer youth job.
A summer youth job can be a watershed moment in a youth’s life when he/she learns the responsibility of work and the excitement of earning money. Being hired for a job and receiving a paycheck is a teachable moment that can shape attitudes and habits that last a lifetime. The idea is to use this window of opportunity to instil in youth conscientious habits and attitudes toward money and equip them with financial-management skills.
DollarWise Summer Youth Jobs Contest
While DollarWise will not be launching a national Summer Youth Jobs Contest with prizes in 2020 due to COVID-19, we are making available six financial education modules and a final exam for summer youth employment programs to use as part of their curriculum. The modules can be accessed at www.bedollarwise.org/syc. Youth who complete the final exam with 80% accuracy or higher will be provided a personalized DollarWise certificate of excellence.
The six financial education modules are powered by BetterMoneyHabits.com, and contain valuable financial education topics for young people including: budgeting, the anatomy of a paycheck, debit and credit cards, navigating the college financial aid process, understanding the true cost of buying a car, and renting a place to live. Please reach out to the DollarWise Campaign with any questions about the modules.
Each year, the DollarWise Campaign, in partnership with The U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, launches the DollarWise Summer Youth Contest to help youth in summer jobs have access to financial education. Since 2012, over 10,000 youth have participated in this initiative.
Each summer, youth are invited to complete a set of financial education modules that cover important topics. For 2019, these topics included: setting a budget, the anatomy of a paycheck, understanding credit and debit cards, completing a FAFSA, the true cost of purchasing a car, and renting a place to live.
During tax season each year, DollarWise encourages cities and mayors to promote free tax assistance programming in their communities. DollarWise strongly urges cities to promote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) as an opportunity for residents in lower tax brackets to potentially receive more money in their tax refunds, and use that money to create a savings plan. However, DollarWise encourages mayors to promote IRS’ Free File Program
as a way for residents to file their federal taxes online for free.
The IRS’ Free File Program allows taxpayers making under $73,000 a year to file their federal taxes (and state taxes where applicable) online for free. Taxpayers can participate in Free File by going to IRS.gov/FreeFile. View the video below for more information.
DollarWise Best Practices & Reports
Financial Education Best Practices
Summer Youth Jobs and Financial Education