By Rose Oswald Poels
Promoting financial capability is a long-standing tradition throughout the banking industry. Bankers are continuously promoting and empowering Wisconsinites to make informed decisions in many ways, from hosting financial education-focused workshops and seminars to offering personalized guidance.
To support the work of bankers committed to ensuring the economic well-being of their communities, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation was established in 2015 to further the public’s financial literacy and capability and to broaden consumer empowerment in the financial services industry. Through education, scholarships, grants, and research, the Foundation has seen great success in connecting with students and adults across Wisconsin.
Due in part to the support and involvement garnered from bankers across the state, the Foundation has made significant strides since its inception to advance financial literacy and capability in Wisconsin. In 2023, the Foundation saw a more than 120% year-over-year increase in the number of elementary school ‘Teach Children to Save’ presentations given with our Reading Raises Interest Kits, and a more than 130% year-over-year increase in the number of applicants for our Spring Scholarships. Other notable Foundation programs include:
- Awarding scholarships to students in Wisconsin pursuing a career in agricultural banking,
- Offering comprehensive and comparative banking industry data on Banconomics.com,
- Curating digital financial education resources,
- Supporting outstanding non-profit financial education programs across the state through grants, and
- Honoring bankers and industry leaders with Excellence in Financial Education Awards for their engagement with financial literacy.
WBF’s annual Silent Auction is the easiest way to help support the Foundation. Taking place now through Friday, February 9, 2024, at 11 a.m., this year’s Auction features a range of items generously donated by individuals, banks, and organizations, with all proceeds directly benefiting the Foundation’s initiatives. The Silent Auction is open to all WBA-member bankers, Associate Members, and friends. Donations made above the item’s fair market value may be tax deductible.
Additionally, the Foundation is now accepting applications for our 2024 Spring Scholarship program. This $2,000 Scholarship — awarded to four students — is available to Wisconsin high school seniors, employees of a WBA-member bank, or dependents of a WBA-member bank employee who will be enrolled in an accredited Wisconsin public or private, non-profit college, university, or technical college in Fall 2024. Bankers are encouraged to share these details widely in their communities prior to the March 15, 2024, application deadline.
As a critical element of economic stability, financial literacy is central to empowering individuals, families, and Wisconsin communities. With your generosity, the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation can continue arming Wisconsinites of all ages with the knowledge and tools they need for a secure and prosperous future.