After a six-year run under the watchful eye of the Washington Credit Union League and its foundation, the BizKid$ show on financial literacy and entrepreneurship has a new parent–the National Credit Union Foundation.
The switch is part of a long run plan to expand the national reach and profile of the PBS show to a wider audience of consumers, teachers and lawmakers.
The show, created and produced in Seattle, has aired on 340 public broadcasting stations and entering its fifth season. It was launched in 2007 and underwritten by $10.4 million in contributions from CUs, trade groups, foundations and vendors.
"The BizKid$ is a project that has a national scope and reach making it appropriate for the NCUF to take the reins," explained NCUF Chairman Gary Oakland, who also is CEO of BECU in Tukwila, Wash. "Through a national home, we can utilize more resources available through the national credit union system" to enhance its status.
One of NCUF’s first tasks, said Oakland, 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 trade groups.
"We are delighted to take Biz Kid$ on," said Bucky Sebastian, NCUF executive director, adding that "with NCUF’s new focus on financial education, it’s a perfect fit for us and also for credit unions across the country."Over the years NCUF’s own contributions have topped $3.4 million.
The switch to NCUF from the Washington CU Foundation, said Oakland, had been under study for years but awaited restructuring and leadership changes at NCUF, including last year’s hiring of Sebastian, the former CEO of GTE FCU of Tampa, Fla.
The changeover, said Oakland, will also give more leeway to the Northwest Credit Union Association and its Oregon and Washington foundations to devote more time to Real Solutions projects and aid for the unbanked, said the Washington foundation said.
Washington League leaders came up with the idea of the BizKid$ project in 2005 in conjunction with TV producers of hit PBS kids’ shows. The league said the switch was "a great day for BizKid$ and everyone who has been involved in the project."