Financial Literacy Month: RMJ Foundation Looks Ahead 

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On April 29, the RMJ Foundation will host its first-ever virtual CU Escape Room fundraiser, which will test participants’ knowledge of the credit union movement and cooperative principles.

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues are celebrating “April is Financial Literacy Month” by focusing on credit union financial education efforts. This week we put the spotlight on the Richard Myles Johnson (RMJ) Foundation, the state foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada dedicated to supporting credit union efforts in spreading the financial literacy message to young people.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the RMJ Foundation had a rather successful 2020 and is looking ahead to another great year with two new board members, the launching of a new Bite of Reality website, a special partnership with other foundations nationwide, and an exciting fundraising event.

The RMJ Foundation recently welcomed two new members to its Board of Directors: PSCU Senior Vice President of Strategic Business Development Chris Gunnare and Patelco CU Financial Educator Veronica Dangerfield. And it will soon launch a website for its popular Bite of Reality® (BOR) program—which aims to teach young people about finances and budgeting. The website will function exactly like the BOR App and will help with Bite of Reality Remote events so students only need Zoom and the website. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic led RMJ to develop Bite of Reality Remote so credit unions could still offer youth financial education which didn’t require a kit, venue, or even volunteers.

This new website also will help for when in-person BOR events return, said RMJ Foundation Executive Director Tena Lozano.

“So if a student for some reason can’t download the Bite of Reality app, he or she can just go to the website instead,” she added. 

On March 15, the National Foundation launched the first-ever national Biz Kid$ Showcase presented in partnership with the RMJ Foundation as well as the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, CrossState Credit Union Foundation, the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, and the Credit Union Association of New Mexico. Biz Kid$ is a credit union-funded and branded financial education program for young adults, championed by the National Foundation. In the Biz Kid$ Showcase students will work through three learning modules that will teach them how to create a business plan. Once they complete the modules and submit a business plan, students have until April 30 to complete a showcase project, which will be reviewed by a panel of credit union experts or “investors.” The top three business plans from each state will receive a cash prize and move on to national-level judging. The top three business plans from across the country will receive a cash prize.

“We’re encouraged by the number of credit unions that have shown an interest in helping us spread the word about this fun, educational opportunity,” Lozano said.

Later this month, RMJ will host its first-ever virtual CU Escape Room fundraiser. The Escape Room—to be held Thursday, April 29 at 5 p.m. (PST)—will test participants’ knowledge of the credit union movement and cooperative principles. 

“We invite all credit unions in California and Nevada to join us and test your skills and see if you can escape,” Lozano said. Attendees will be randomly assigned to teams, so they can network, meet new people, and have some fun—all while raising money for the RMJ Foundation.”

To register, click here.

A Successful 2020

There were 190 Bite of Reality events held in California and Nevada in 2020 reaching more than 14,000 students. Some 104 sessions were held using Bite of Reality Remote. About 74 credit unions are now using the BOR program and $387,144 was raised for the Foundation via donations and events, including the RMJ/Origence Golf Classic, held in-person in Dana Point in August. To read the RMJ Foundation’s entire 2020 impact report, click here.

“Credit unions in California and Nevada have really stepped up to continue providing financial education to young people during these challenging times,” Lozano said. “I’m looking forward to what we can do together this year.”

For more information, please contact the RMJ Foundation at info@rmjfoundation.org.

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