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Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

Heroes of the Week: Make A Difference-Wisconsin Volunteers

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In 2006, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released academic standards for personal financial literacy, so when local businessman Lloyd Levin approached Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) offering a free financial literacy program for youth, they welcomed him with open arms. This was the start of the volunteer-driven nonprofit Make A Difference-Wisconsin. The Make A Difference program consists of three core seminars, which cover budgeting and saving, how to open and manage a bank account, and credit cards, credit history/scores and credit reports. The series is delivered in six, 50-minute presentations to 11th and 12th grade students at 79 partner schools throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

“The idea is that we want every kid in Wisconsin to have a chance to complete a basic financial education program before he or she graduates high school,” says Executive Director Brenda Campbell. During the 2012-2013 school year, 602 seminars were given at 70 high schools, reaching 6,198 students. The goal for the 2013-2014 school year is to reach 7,500 students. In addition, the organization recently launched a money-coaching pilot program for teens.

“We currently have 450 active volunteers. Because of our volunteers, we have been able to reach 33,000 kids in seven years,” says Campbell. “We could not begin to do the work we do without the amazing people involved, and you will not see a more active, engaged board of directors in Milwaukee. A huge thanks to all the wonderful people involved as volunteers. Because of you, we are making a difference.”

Interested in bringing Make A Difference-Wisconsin’s free programming to your school? Contact Campbell at 414-273-8101 to learn more. The nonprofit receives no government funding and always appreciates donations. Volunteers are needed and those interested need no prior experience and will be fully trained. For more information about volunteering, donating or the nonprofit’s annual fundraising Investment Conference, visit makeadifferencewisconsin.org.