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Executive Letter: Wisconsin Bankers Foundation Supports Statewide High School Quiz Bowl

Rose Oswald PoelsBy Rose Oswald Poels

The Wisconsin Bankers Foundation (WBF) has existed since 2015 with a mission to empower financial decisions through education and research. I’m pleased to share that the Foundation has recently awarded a $5,000 grant to a Wisconsin non-profit organization, Asset Builders, to support its Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl.

The Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl (FICB) is a quiz bowl competition that helps teach high school students about personal finance and economics. Teachers of subjects including personal finance, economics, business, and marketing can sign up teams of students to compete in the Challenge Bowl.  The program aligns with statewide learning standards and is an effective strategy to complement what students are learning in the classroom. The tournament features student teams competing for trophies and fabulous prizes in an atmosphere of friendly competition.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a Challenge Bowl event held at the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) headquarters in Madison and was delighted to see how engaged and enthusiastic the students were. Among the “quizmasters” were DFI leaders and a number of young professionals from the banking and financial services industry that had volunteered as judges. This provided the high school students with a unique way to gain exposure to various career paths and to ask the quizmasters and judges questions about their jobs. Volunteering at the competitions is a fun and rewarding service opportunity for staff from your bank. If you or members of your staff would like to get involved with a competition in your area, please contact me.

Challenge Bowl competition

The excitement of the students, teachers, and volunteers was clear to see as the student teams rushed to hit the buzzers to earn points for their answers. There was even the occasional lively debate over the competition rules and technicalities. I was impressed to see the level of the material the students had mastered in preparation for the tournament and how much pride they took in answering the questions correctly. It was evident that the program is helping to provide the tools students need to make good financial decisions that will empower their futures.

Teams that finish in first and second place in each regional championship then advance to the state championship tournament. Because the Challenge Bowl is held at multiple locations, it is accessible for students around the state to participate in the live tournaments. The value teachers see in the Challenge Bowl is evidenced by their continued participation year after year.

Your support makes it possible for the Foundation to promote financial literacy through initiatives like the Challenge Bowl and our Reading Raises Interest program. Please consider making a financial contribution or donating an item to the silent auction fundraiser, which will be held at the WBA Bank Executives Conference, February 9–11 in Wisconsin Dells. Bankers share a commitment to bolstering the financial wellbeing and quality of life in our communities, and through the Wisconsin Bankers Foundation, we can make an impact on a statewide scale.