Summit Credit Union: Four local families selected to compete in 5th annual Project Money


June 13, 2013

For more information, contact:

Tania Widish, (608) 243-5000X4701, [email protected]
Cheryl Van Tessier, APR, (608) 467-4408, [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. — “We’re sick of feeling like we never have enough.” “Our kids’ financial dependence on us has gone from 10 years to 20.” “We realized we can’t start a family right now.” “We don’t talk about money. We don’t plan for money.”

These are a few comments from the four local families who have just begun competing to change their financial lives by competing in the fifth-annual Summit Credit Union Project Money reality-based financial challenge.

Project Money provides an opportunity for participants — as well as the community at large — to learn how to ‘do more’ with their money and achieve financial success. From 152 applicants, four teams were selected, each with different backgrounds and financial situations.

“This year’s Project Money families are from a variety of stages of life so there’s a situation or scenario that many people in the community can relate to and learn from,” said Kim Sponem, CEO/president of Summit Credit Union. “These four teams are each committed to not only make positive changes, but to sharing their financial stories on television and online so others can learn from their experiences.”

The 2013 Project Money teams include:

· Nicky and Troy Cross, daughter Josie and son Chance, from Portage, Wis. — a family overwhelmed with debt and the fluctuating expenses of raising young children, learning how to communicate better and build a road map they can follow together as a team.

· Ruth and John Otto, daughters Claire and Cameo, and son Owen, from Verona, Wis. — a family with two teenagers, adjusting to the big changes brought on by the addition of a new baby into their lives.

· Michelle and Brad Samuel, and sons Reece, Brody and Mason, from McFarland, Wis. — a family dealing with debt and the expenses that come with raising three boys. They’re committed to breaking free from their reliance of credit cards to reduce their financial worries and start building a stronger future.

· Stacey and Brandon Steinmetz, from Prairie du Sac, Wis. — a young couple who have their sights set on starting a family. But first they’re determined to get their finances and spending under control and build their savings to secure their future.

Between June and December, each of the teams will work one-on-one with a Summit financial coach, who will provide them with the plans, tools and advice they need to accomplish their financial goals.

“So many of our goals in life are tied to money,” said Sponem. “Project Money helps educate and empower people about smart money management so they can make changes and start getting ahead.”

Their ongoing progress and unique stories will be featured at:, which will feature tips and advice from the financial coaches each week correlating with the participants’ real-time situations and challenges, so that anyone following along can relate and apply to their own financial goals. The site will also feature weekly blogs from each of the participants, as well as links to their respective Facebook pages, which the community is encouraged to “like,” in order to follow and comment on their postings, videos and progress throughout the competition.

Additionally, starting in July, WMTV news anchor Leigh Mills will be reporting on the participants’ challenges & progress in an ongoing series airing on Channel 15 during the 5 p.m. newscast.

In February 2014, a $10,000 prize will be awarded to the team that earns the most points during the competition. Points are awarded for percent increase in savings, decrease in debt and participation in program events. Runners up will each receive $2,500.

Summit Credit Union’s first four “Project Money” competitions made a huge difference in the lives of the four participant teams each year (16 total participating teams), as well as community members who followed their progress. Not only did they learn how to ‘do more’ with their money and achieve financial success, the competing participants collectively boosted their savings by $111,046 and decreased their debt by more than $158,000.

About Summit Credit Union:

Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone in Wisconsin. Summit holds $1.9 billion in assets and has more than 128,000 members with a total of 23 locations throughout the Madison and Milwaukee areas. For more information, visit or call (608) 243-5000 or (800) 236-5560.

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