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Fidelity Investments® Marks National Financial Literacy Month With New Partnership, Employee Volunteer Programs Across the United States, and Innovative Tools
Company partners with national nonprofit Council for Economic Education to help close “education gap” for thousands of educators teaching personal financeBOSTON – As part of its ongoing effort to find innovative ways to advance financial education for youth, Fidelity Investments® announced today a partnership with the national nonprofit Council for Economic Education (CEE) to bring state-of-the-art financial literacy resources to more than 150,000 educators across the country each month. The company also marks National Financial Literacy Month this April with a series of new and continuing employee volunteer programs to address the financial education gap among teachers and the deficit in financial literacy among young Americans.
Although more states have begun to mandate personal finance as a required student course (now only 17 states, according to CEE’s 2014 Survey of the States), there is currently an education gap among teachers: in a recent University of Wisconsin-Madison study, less than 20% of teachers and prospective teachers nationwide reported feeling very competent to teach all of the personal finance concepts on which they were surveyed. As for youth, research from the Michigan Retirement Research Center shows that only 27% of young adults know basic financial concepts such as interest rates and inflation.
The Fidelity®/CEE partnership comprises two major components: the SmartX program at the school, district or state level, which engages and enables elementary and middle school teachers to deliver to their students personal finance education aligned with the Common Core; and a newly enhanced iteration of EconEdLink, the leading source of online economic and personal finance lessons for teachers, students and afterschool providers. The SmartX program draws from CEE’s award-winning Financial Fitness for Life series for content in earning income, saving, money management, spending and credit.
“Our goal year-round is to bring our employees’ expertise and our best resources to the challenge of teaching young people the basics of personal finance,” said Gary Blank, senior vice president, public affairs and policy at Fidelity Investments. “And while the challenge is multi-faceted, with CEE we can make almost immediate progress enhancing proven resources to K-12 educators across the country. Our new CEE partnership is complemented by volunteer programs throughout the year where our employees provide students and teachers with financial concepts through in-classroom discussion, hands-on simulation activities and interactive games – in addition to addressing foundational education needs for students by implementing programs designed to develop strong analytical, critical thinking and basic math skills delivered in a dynamic setting that helps young people thrive.”
In partnership with the Ohio CEE, Fidelity will host a teacher financial literacy training event later this spring on its Covington, Ky. campus as part of the Smart Ohio initiative in Greater Cincinnati, which includes not only teacher training, but also both teacher and student assessments to ensure that the training is effective and makes a measurable impact on students. Fidelity employee volunteers will provide support for the training, help deliver its contents and work collaboratively with CEE to build both the competence and confidence of teachers to better understand financial literacy concepts and deliver financial literacy lessons.
Fidelity’s support of an enhanced EconEdLink will allow the portal to become a single destination for teachers and education leaders to provide them with the CEE tools, resources, professional development and community engagement to be the most effective teachers of economics and personal finance. The redesigned site will help CEE to better showcase its content, while reflecting shifts in educational delivery systems by making its content easier for teachers to find the most relevant information and integrating new emerging educational tools. Additional features will also help CEE to build community through social media and to expand its ability to more easily reach more educators.
“The Council for Economic Education is the leading organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school, and Fidelity is a top leader in this space on a corporate level,” said Nan J. Morrison, president and CEO of the CEE. “We carry out our mission by educating the educators. Partnering with Fidelity enables us to bring exciting new resources and tools that will engage and support this critical group.”
Fidelity’s Employee Volunteer Programs
The partnership with CEE comes as part of Fidelity’s efforts to improve education and financial education for youth in low-income areas across the United States. For the past several years, the company has worked with respected nonprofit organizations to deliver financial education programs for K-12 schools in the areas where Fidelity’s regional sites are located. For National Financial Literacy Month 2014, these programs include:
• In partnership with Junior Achievement, personal finance courses in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas and Utah. These programs include JA Finance Park®, a real-world personal finance simulation with location-based and online versions.
• “Teach the Teacher” financial education training in Kentucky, Ohio and North Carolina.
• Massachusetts middle school students benefiting from the time and skills of Fidelity employees via an "Invest Like a Millionaire" apprenticeship, provided through a long-standing partnership with Citizen Schools.
• Fidelity and the New Hampshire Jump$tart Coalition bringing an “I Can Save” program to elementary school children and supporting Financial Fitness Fairs to high school students.
• Students, teachers and families from New Jersey’s 31 at-risk school districts visiting Liberty Science Center to learn financial concepts.
• The Fidelity Investments Financial Education Grant Challenge, launched in September 2013, which invited Americans and organizations to offer innovative ideas to improve the financial literacy of high school students in low-income areas. In February, Utah 4-H’s winning idea was selected among entries received from 30 states, and the pilot kick-off is scheduled for this May.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $4.7 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0 trillion, as of February 28, 2014. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit www.fidelity.com.