Mayors for Financial Literacy
DollarWise: Mayors for Financial Literacy is the official financial education initiative of The United States Conference of Mayors and its Council on Metro Economies and the New American City. Since its inception in 2004, mayors and cities across America have made a commitment to increasing access to financial education for their citizens by participating in DollarWise initiatives. Our goal is to incorporate a financial education component into every summer youth jobs program in the nation.
We invite you to explore our website, where you can learn all about DollarWise and find out what it takes to tackle financial illiteracy in your city. Most importantly, we invite your city to make a commitment to financial education and participate in the campaign. Together, we are building strong foundations for the future of our communities and those who call them home.
How do I set up a financial literacy campaign in my city?
Setting up a local financial literacy campaign may sound overwhelming, but it is easier than you might think. Sure, it will take some work and a little bit of effort, but by following a few simple steps you’ll be up and running in no time.
Step 1 Analyze your city’s financial education needs
Different cities scope out their financial literacy needs in different ways. Some bring together groups of city and community leaders and residents to discuss their needs; others take a statistical approach based on sources such as census and IRS data; yet others use some combination of the two. In the end, chances are you’ll be able to identify many different groups to help. But that can be overwhelming. Focus your efforts on one segment of your community and then expand from there as your capacity grows.
Step 2 Find out who’s already addressing those needs
Most likely, one or more organizations are working on financial literacy in your city. There’s no need to “reinvent the wheel,” as the saying goes. Learn who those groups are, how and where they do their work, and the segments of your community they work with. Groups that are probably addressing financial literacy may include faith-based groups, financial institutions, public and private schools, nonprofits, the local housing authority and/or housing-assistance programs, local employers, and other community-based groups.
Step 3 Develop partnerships with those groups
Establish partnerships with those organizations that are working to improve financial literacy. Help them to reinforce and enhance their work and to build a coordinated, citywide effort. You can work with them on organizing classes, workshops, and community programs. Your work with them will build your application for an Innovation Grant and create a foundation for even greater expansion of your local financial literacy efforts in the future.
Step 4 Take advantage of all DollarWise has to offer
- Apply for Innovation Grants.
- Participate in the Summer Youth Campaign and Financial Planning Days.
- Work with your local partners to organize financial education classes and events.
- Work with our national partners and learn from other DollarWise cities.
- Make a commitment to an ongoing, year-round financial literacy effort.
- After a while, take a step back and evaluate your local campaign. Identify areas in which you can improve.