Dept. of Financial Institutions: Myriad of activities in April will promote financial literacy awareness

Contact: Communications Director George Althoff, 608-261-4504

MADISON – Communities across Wisconsin are preparing for a month-long focus on financial literacy. April is national financial literacy awareness month, a joint effort of state and federal government agencies and private-sector organizations to raise awareness of the importance and value of financial literacy.

Wisconsin will participate in a big way, culminating with more than 260 activities during Money Smart Week® Wisconsin, April 21-28, the celebration of which was proclaimed by Governor Scott Walker in early February. The Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is spearheading Money Smart Week Wisconsin efforts.

First Lady Tonette Walker, ambassador for the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy, says Money Smart Week “is an annual event that truly makes a difference in the lives of many Wisconsin citizens.”

“Education is the key to financial survival and success in these fast-changing economic times,” the First Lady wrote in a letter in support of Money Smart Week. “Through the efforts of the Money Smart Week Wisconsin organization and hundreds of business and community partners, educational opportunities will abound during this week-long focus on personal finance.”

Dozens of communities have scheduled free events to help educate consumers of all ages about personal financial topics during the week. Many of the events will be focused on teaching elementary school-age children about personal finance. A listing of scheduled events may be found at (Click on “Consumers,” then click on the State of Wisconsin on the map).

Initiatives being planned during April include:

* “The Big Read,” a statewide event for children in Grades 1-4 during Money Smart Week. At dozens of locations across the state, adults will be reading “The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Commercials” to children and more than 2,000 complimentary copies of the book will be distributed. The book giveaway is being funded by the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) and its’ Office of Financial Literacy. “The Big Read” is being held in conjunction with Governor Walker’s “Read to Lead” initiative, a bipartisan effort to make sure all Wisconsin students can read at an age appropriate level by the time they enter the fourth grade.

* Wisconsin Teach Children to Save Day on April 24, sponsored by the Wisconsin Bankers’ Association,

* National Credit Union Youth Week, April 22-28, sponsored by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and the Wisconsin Credit Union League.

* National Credit Education Week, sponsored by CBM Credit Education Foundation Inc.

* Community Banking Month, sponsored by Community Bankers of Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin’s business community should be applauded for its support of financial literacy initiatives across the state,” DFI Secretary Peter Bildsten said. “Our financial institutions and professionals understand the importance of helping people become smarter with their money. These efforts are good for Wisconsin consumers and good for the state’s economy.”