Can Industry Fund Biz Kid$ for the Long Haul?
AUBURN, Wash. - The Biz Kid$ financial education project on public television is attractive and has positive potential, but success depends on long-term funding considering "youth financial literacy doesn't have a beginning and an end." That's the view of Stephen M. Delfin, executive director of the National Credit Union Foundation and a participant in the March 30 "Credit Union PBS Summit." Delfin said the project is very creative, but the NCUF will focus on answering two key questions. "How will Biz Kid$ engage with existing credit union youth financial literacy initiatives?" asked Delfin. "Youth financial literacy is certainly on mission with programs supported by many credit unions, leagues, and national credit union support organizations. But more work needs to be done to understand how Biz Kid$ relates to these existing efforts." The second question, he asked in a statement, "Can the credit union movement sustain the Biz Kid$ program year after year?" Financial literacy is "a permanent commitment requiring permanent investment. While the commitments pledged at the Seattle meeting go a long way toward covering the first year's budget, a long-term funding approach will be needed to ensure success," he maintained. "I could envision NCUF playing a role in helping the organizers think through how to create sustainability beyond the first year's budget. For example we should look at alternative funding models that reach beyond the typical credit union system fundraising sources. "For instance," he continued, "there are prospective external funding sources that share credit unions' commitment to youth financial literacy. These include private foundations, community foundations, other charitable organizations like Junior Achievement, and government agencies. Moreover, he said, there are also fundraising techniques within the credit union movement that could be considered, such as credit union employee and member giving using online fundraising technology. "So a successful effort would likely engage both credit union and non-credit union funding sources with a shared commitment toward improving youth financial literacy," he concluded. -