“BizKid$”, the industry-backed PBS show on financial literacy and entrepreneurship for young people, has a new parent, the National Credit Union Foundation.
After a four-year run with the Washington Credit Union Foundation, fund-raising and administration of the Seattle-based show, now aired on 340 public TV stations, was taken over last week by the NCUF.
“This project has national scope and reach, and it is appropriate for the NCUF to take the reins,” said NCUF Chairman Gary Oakland, CEO of the $9.6 billion BECU in Tukwila, Wash.
“Through a national home, we can utilize more resources available through the national credit union system to raise the profile of the show with consumers, teachers and lawmakers,” Oakland said.
He said one of the first tasks will be to hire a full time “BizKid$” director who can oversee funding and administration to ensure the program gains wide support from CUs and various trade groups.
Over the years CUs, vendors and others have ponied up more than $10.4 million to underwrite the cost of the show, now entering its fifth season. Contributions have included $3.4 million in NCUF grants with national fund-raising first launched in 2007 but with its debut in 2005.
“We are delighted to take ‘Biz Kid$’ on,” said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF executive director. “With NCUF’s new focus on financial education, it’s a perfect fit for us and also for credit unions across the country.”
The switch to NCUF from the Washington CU Foundation, said Oakland, had been under study for years but awaited restructuring and leadership changes at NCUF, including last year’s hiring of Sebastian, the former CEO of the $1.5 billion GTE FCU of Tampa, Fla.
The changeover, said Oakland, will also allow the Northwest Credit Union Association and its Oregon and Washington foundations to devote more time to charity projects and grant-giving.
Since its start, “the BizKid$” project has been championed and administered by RoxAnne Kruger, executive director of the Washington CUF. She called the switch “a great day for ‘BizKid$’ and everyone who has been involved in the project.”