Issue 24: 2013

Corporate Support

Financial Education, Free for All

Strengthening economies through ongoing philanthropic and volunteer investments in financial education.

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This past April, Bank of America and non-profit online education organization Khan Academy marked the start of a new partnership with the launch of bettermoneyhabits.com. This initiative is part of the company’s commitment to financial education through its business, philanthropy and volunteer programs.

“The website features numerous videos that take a plain-language approach to complex financial topics, such as ways of getting out of debt, setting and sticking to a budget, how to save money on everyday expenses, and many others. The goal is to make the information easy to grasp and put into action,” says Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “The videos allow anyone, anywhere to learn at their own pace, with a teaching style that is casual, free of charge and commercial-free as well. It’s part of our broader goal to help connect people with tools and resources to improve their basic money habits and financial lives.”

The Need for Financial Education

“The economic downturn taught us a lot,” notes Sullivan. “We know that most Americans lack a firm understanding of financial matters. And surveys conducted by organizations such as the Jump$tart Coalition® for Personal Financial Literacy have revealed the lack of financial know-how of students, in particular, across the United States.”

“At the same time, we are realistic,” she continues. “We recognize that people don’t wake up in the morning and reflect on how their lives would be better if only they had more financial education. Most of us stumble along until there is a specific challenge or a problem we need help with.”

Moreover, habits are difficult to change or modify, and information needs to be bite-size and actionable, not overwhelming. “The tools we have been developing are designed to address these issues,” Sullivan says. “As a company, we want to make our expertise more accessible and our relationships more human — and we are bringing this same focus and rigor to our approach in financial education.”

A Long History of Support

But the support of financial education is not new for Bank of America. Says Sullivan: “Our partnership with Khan Academy is only the latest in our long-standing and extensive work to make financial education accessible to individuals and families — through our business practices, philanthropic investments and volunteer efforts.”

These programs align with Bank of America’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, which support the company’s purpose: to help customers, clients and communities achieve better financial lives. Other areas of CSR focus include responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local economies; investing in leadership; arts and culture; and diversity and inclusion.

The Bank’s Philanthropic and Volunteer Efforts

“Last year we invested $18 million in financial education grants, and we have extended that reach as financial education is woven into our core philanthropic efforts, which address needs related to hunger, housing and jobs — all of which are focused on low- and moderate-income communities,” Sullivan explains.

Promoting Financial Literacy at U.S. Trust Click to expand

Promoting Financial Literacy at U.S. Trust

Along with supporting Bank of America’s commitment to financial education through volunteering and philanthropic investments, U.S. Trust is focused on improving financial literacy for its clients — and, in particular, the adult children of clients — through its Financial Empowerment program.

“Helping children to become financially literate is a particular concern of wealthy families because of the complexities and demands of managing substantial assets,” explains Chris Heilmann, U.S. Trust chief fiduciary executive. “We created the Financial Empowerment program specifically to help young adults in their twenties and thirties make informed financial decisions — whether they are starting careers or already have their own families.”

The program provides knowledge and tools on topics ranging from financial basics to philanthropy, trusts, buying a home, starting a business, protecting wealth, and dealing with life events from a financial standpoint.

“Importantly, the course can be tailored to a particular family’s needs, in terms of content and even scheduling,” he says. To begin, a U.S. Trust specialist works with participants to identify their values and goals and to diagnose gaps in their financial knowledge. The customized program focuses on the component skills they need. Says Heilmann: “This personalized approach makes the program a surprisingly powerful tool — all the more so because the training can be delivered online, where so many young adults spend a good bit of their time; in one-on-one sessions with a wealth specialist; or in group get-togethers for the entire family.” 

To learn more about Financial Empowerment, visit the education website at U.S. Trust.

“Our volunteer activities are another significant component of what we bring to the table — through more than 13,550 volunteer hours in financial education alone last year,” she continues. “In fact, this past April, during Global Service Month at the bank, we held more than 116 financial education volunteer events across our global footprint, and we have both supported and worked alongside many great partners to reach low-income communities and help those living on the margins.”

KERRY SULLIVAN

Other New Partnerships

“We continue to deepen our partnerships around financial education and expand opportunities to bring this critical knowledge to individuals and families,” notes Sullivan. “We recognize that many communities need more hands-on help, so we’ve partnered with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, to target our efforts. For example, we recently piloted financial education workshops in several markets nationwide, including Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and Long Island,” says Sullivan. The free workshops, which were held in community spaces and at local Bank of America banking centers, were well-received by attendees. They used the FDIC Money Smart curriculum, which focuses on such topics as understanding credit scores and credit repair, savings, and managing day-to-day finances through budgeting.

“AT BANK OF AMERICA,WE ARE DEDICATED TO BUILDING STRONG ECONOMIES THROUGH INVESTING AND GIVING IN THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE.”
— KERRY SULLIVAN

“There remains an unmet need to bring financial coaching to scale in low-income communities,” Sullivan says. “So we’ve formed a new partnership with the nonprofit volunteer organization Points of Light to fund the Financial Opportunity Corps, which will engage AmeriCorps volunteers to provide instruction at selected local nonprofits across the country.” 

Other examples of support include an ongoing partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work program through which financial advisors are volunteering as one-on-one financial coaches, providing objective financial education, advice and guidance to service members transitioning back into the civilian workforce. This year, there are five Warriors to Work financial coaching sessions — in New York City, Phoenix, Seattle, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. — all part of the company’s broader efforts to help "members of the military reintegrate into civilian life. (See “Supporting Those Who Serve Our Country” in Issue 22.)

Empowering Individuals and Communities

“Connecting individuals to tools and resources to help them achieve better economic futures is core to our company’s purpose,” says Sullivan. “We’re bringing our expertise to the table and working with partners to achieve greater impact – we can all play a role to rally around this critical life skill.”

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.

This past April, Bank of America and non-profit online education organization Khan Academy marked the start of a new partnership with the launch of bettermoneyhabits.com. This initiative is part of the company’s commitment to financial education through its business, philanthropy and volunteer programs.

“The website features numerous videos that take a plain-language approach to complex financial topics, such as ways of getting out of debt, setting and sticking to a budget, how to save money on everyday expenses, and many others. The goal is to make the information easy to grasp and put into action,” says Kerry Sullivan, president of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “The videos allow anyone, anywhere to learn at their own pace, with a teaching style that is casual, free of charge and commercial-free as well. It’s part of our broader goal to help connect people with tools and resources to improve their basic money habits and financial lives.”

The Need for Financial Education

“The economic downturn taught us a lot,” notes Sullivan. “We know that most Americans lack a firm understanding of financial matters. And surveys conducted by organizations such as the Jump$tart Coalition® for Personal Financial Literacy have revealed the lack of financial know-how of students, in particular, across the United States.”

“At the same time, we are realistic,” she continues. “We recognize that people don’t wake up in the morning and reflect on how their lives would be better if only they had more financial education. Most of us stumble along until there is a specific challenge or a problem we need help with.”

Moreover, habits are difficult to change or modify, and information needs to be bite-size and actionable, not overwhelming. “The tools we have been developing are designed to address these issues,” Sullivan says. “As a company, we want to make our expertise more accessible and our relationships more human — and we are bringing this same focus and rigor to our approach in financial education.”

A Long History of Support

But the support of financial education is not new for Bank of America. Says Sullivan: “Our partnership with Khan Academy is only the latest in our long-standing and extensive work to make financial education accessible to individuals and families — through our business practices, philanthropic investments and volunteer efforts.”

These programs align with Bank of America’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, which support the company’s purpose: to help customers, clients and communities achieve better financial lives. Other areas of CSR focus include responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local economies; investing in leadership; arts and culture; and diversity and inclusion.

The Bank’s Philanthropic and Volunteer Efforts

“Last year we invested $18 million in financial education grants, and we have extended that reach as financial education is woven into our core philanthropic efforts, which address needs related to hunger, housing and jobs — all of which are focused on low- and moderate-income communities,” Sullivan explains.

“Our volunteer activities are another significant component of what we bring to the table — through more than 13,550 volunteer hours in financial education alone last year,” she continues. “In fact, this past April, during Global Service Month at the bank, we held more than 116 financial education volunteer events across our global footprint, and we have both supported and worked alongside many great partners to reach low-income communities and help those living on the margins.”

KERRY SULLIVAN

Other New Partnerships

“We continue to deepen our partnerships around financial education and expand opportunities to bring this critical knowledge to individuals and families,” notes Sullivan. “We recognize that many communities need more hands-on help, so we’ve partnered with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, to target our efforts. For example, we recently piloted financial education workshops in several markets nationwide, including Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Los Angeles and Long Island,” says Sullivan. The free workshops, which were held in community spaces and at local Bank of America banking centers, were well-received by attendees. They used the FDIC Money Smart curriculum, which focuses on such topics as understanding credit scores and credit repair, savings, and managing day-to-day finances through budgeting.

“AT BANK OF AMERICA,WE ARE DEDICATED TO BUILDING STRONG ECONOMIES THROUGH INVESTING AND GIVING IN THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE.”
— KERRY SULLIVAN

“There remains an unmet need to bring financial coaching to scale in low-income communities,” Sullivan says. “So we’ve formed a new partnership with the nonprofit volunteer organization Points of Light to fund the Financial Opportunity Corps, which will engage AmeriCorps volunteers to provide instruction at selected local nonprofits across the country.” 

Other examples of support include an ongoing partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warriors to Work program through which financial advisors are volunteering as one-on-one financial coaches, providing objective financial education, advice and guidance to service members transitioning back into the civilian workforce. This year, there are five Warriors to Work financial coaching sessions — in New York City, Phoenix, Seattle, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. — all part of the company’s broader efforts to help "members of the military reintegrate into civilian life. (See “Supporting Those Who Serve Our Country” in Issue 22.)

Empowering Individuals and Communities

“Connecting individuals to tools and resources to help them achieve better economic futures is core to our company’s purpose,” says Sullivan. “We’re bringing our expertise to the table and working with partners to achieve greater impact – we can all play a role to rally around this critical life skill.”

Promoting Financial Literacy at U.S. Trust Click to expand

Promoting Financial Literacy at U.S. Trust

Along with supporting Bank of America’s commitment to financial education through volunteering and philanthropic investments, U.S. Trust is focused on improving financial literacy for its clients — and, in particular, the adult children of clients — through its Financial Empowerment program.

“Helping children to become financially literate is a particular concern of wealthy families because of the complexities and demands of managing substantial assets,” explains Chris Heilmann, U.S. Trust chief fiduciary executive. “We created the Financial Empowerment program specifically to help young adults in their twenties and thirties make informed financial decisions — whether they are starting careers or already have their own families.”

The program provides knowledge and tools on topics ranging from financial basics to philanthropy, trusts, buying a home, starting a business, protecting wealth, and dealing with life events from a financial standpoint.

“Importantly, the course can be tailored to a particular family’s needs, in terms of content and even scheduling,” he says. To begin, a U.S. Trust specialist works with participants to identify their values and goals and to diagnose gaps in their financial knowledge. The customized program focuses on the component skills they need. Says Heilmann: “This personalized approach makes the program a surprisingly powerful tool — all the more so because the training can be delivered online, where so many young adults spend a good bit of their time; in one-on-one sessions with a wealth specialist; or in group get-togethers for the entire family.” 

To learn more about Financial Empowerment, visit the education website at U.S. Trust.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Some of the featured participants are not employees of U.S. Trust. The opinions and conclusions expressed are not necessarily those of U.S. Trust or its personnel.

Always consult with your independent attorney, tax advisor, investment manager, and insurance agent for final recommendations and before changing or implementing any financial, tax or estate planning strategy.