Fueled by a strong fundraising effort Tuesday night, the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission plans to double its unique outreach efforts this year.
The Financial Literacy Commission, a nonprofit organization administered by the Tennessee Treasury Department, raised more than $150,000 from private donors at a reception and dinner held at the State Capitol.
Those funds, supplemented by a smaller appropriation from the Tennessee General Assembly, will be used to help expand an outreach program that is unlike any other in the country.
While many states focus their financial literacy training efforts on high school students, Tennessee’s program targets elementary school children.
Studies have shown that young children’s minds are receptive to learning basic financial literacy concepts – and children who learn about financial literacy when they are young are more likely to develop good habits they can apply throughout the rest of their lives.
Tennessee’s program is geared toward “teaching the teachers” by providing financial literacy training and resources at summits held around the state. Elementary school teachers, who receive special incentives for attending the voluntary summits, learn how to incorporate financial literacy lessons into their classroom curriculums.
Last year, more than 500 teachers attended one of the four summits sponsored by the commission. Based on an average elementary school class size of 25, this means that the teacher training summits impacted financial education for 12,500 students in 2012. This year, the commission plans to increase the total number of summits statewide to nine.
State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. hopes every elementary school teacher in the state will find time to attend one of the summits.
“Financial literacy is an absolutely critical skill in the world in which we live,” Treasurer Lillard said. “People need to know how to balance a checkbook, manage their credit and save money for retirement or their children’s college education. All of that knowledge begins with a good foundation of basic financial literacy. We need to provide our young people with this type of education so they will be prepared for the future.”
More than 110 people attended the fundraising event, including First Lady Crissy Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell and numerous other leaders from the political and business communities.
For more information about the Financial Literacy Commission and upcoming summits, go to www.tnflc.org.