SPIRE Credit Union has received both the Adult and Youth Desjardins Awards recognizing outstanding financial education efforts among Minnesota credit unions with assets of $1 billion or greater. The awards are sponsored by the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA). SPIRE has received the Adult Desjardins award for six consecutive years and the Youth Desjardins four years in a row.
SPIRE’s Building Financial Freedom program was developed in in 2007, and since its inception has reached 13,600 adults and youth over 1,700 classroom hours.
In 2019, 843 youth were educated over 35 events in the areas of fraud, auto buying, budgeting, housing options, credit management and more. Several new programs were offered to youth last year, including a “Personal
Finance for Teens” class at the Youth Educated at Home (YEAH) Academy in Roseville, MN. SPIRE’s SVP/Chief Lending and Product Officer, Cliff Wantz, developed a storyline, following the fictional lives of Lizzy, Evy, and Ben, from ages 23 to retirement. He illustrated how their respective financial choices influenced their overall, long-term quality of life, using visual representations of why financial choices matter.
SPIRE also reached more than 5,200 adults throughout 2019 offering 220 events in Minnesota and internationally. SPIRE developed multiple new financial education programs for adults in 2019, including global outreach benefitting the Philippines Credit Union Industry. SPIRE’s Director of Business Development worked with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), Global Women’s Leadership Network (GWLN), Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU), and several Cooperatives throughout the Philippines. More than 600 adults were educated on U.S. credit union practices and regulatory efforts. SPIRE also helped create a strategic growth plan for KAYA, a new electronic payment platform for Filipino credit co-ops.
SPIRE’s winning entry will advance to the national competition, where it will compete with financial education projects from credit unions in other states.
“Our financial literacy team is passionate about what they do and their work absolutely has a positive impact on the financial well-being of our communities,” says SPIRE President/CEO Dan Stoltz, , “These employees should be celebrated and recognized for their efforts!”
The award is named in honor of Alphonse Desjardins, the co-founder of the first cooperative financial institution in Lévis, Quebec in 1900, which served as the forerunner of the current credit union system in America. Desjardins was an ardent believer in the value of teaching children to save, and he promoted the idea of in-school savings programs.