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Teen Financial Literacy Video Contest

June 15, 2020

Congratulations Ian Mark and Alex Jacoby on winning United Way’s Teen Financial Literacy Video Contest!

United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties fights for the Health, Education, and Financial stability of every member of our community. A good understanding of financial literacy helps individuals control their financial resources in order to make informed and effective decisions to provide for themselves and their families. When teens understand financial literacy, they can manage their money more successfully and be better prepared to budget for real life situations. 
According to United Way’s ALICE Report which looks at the population called ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Michigan, low-wage jobs continue to dominate the Michigan economy, making it more challenging for workers to find jobs with wages that can support a basic household budge. The job market has shown improvement since 2010, but 61 percent of jobs in Michigan pay less than $20 per hour. Teaching teens in Montcalm and Ionia counties financial literacy before they graduate is vital to their success.
In an effort to build financial literacy and to help teens pave the way for financial success in the future, United Way partnered with several local financial institutions. PFCU, the title sponsor, along with platinum sponsors - Mercantile Bank of Michigan, Isabella Bank, and Independent Bank to encourage teens to submit short videos on an array of financial topics from credit scores, to saving for a car, how to fund college and more. Teens from Tri-County, Montabella, Lakeview, Vestaburg, Carson City-Crystal, Greenville, Central Montcalm, Belding, Ionia, Portland, Lakewood, Saranac, and Pewamo-Westphalia school districts were invited to participate and were encouraged to create a 90 second video on a financial topic of their choice. Suggested topics ranged from explaining a credit score, saving to buy a car, to how to fund college. The goal is that the teens would create a short video that would show his/her creativity and teach others about the financial literacy topic of their choice. 
Mercantile Bank of Michigan’s Vice President, Dan Mitchell had this to say about the program, “This program was a great way to learn of the talent and creativity of middle and high school students to promote financial literacy in our communities.  The two finalists’ presentations were both accurate and informative, as well as, extremely creative and entertaining.  Given the unfortunate timing of the contest and restrictions, we are excited to see how the program will grow in participants and topics in the years to come.  Congratulations to the 2020 Winners!” 
United Way Montcalm-Ionia Counties is excited to announce the winners of United Way’s first Teen Financial Literacy Video Contest. Ian Mark, a 6th grader homeschooled in Lakeview, was awarded 1st place and a $500 prize for his video on How to Afford College. Alex Jacoby, a 7th grader of Central Montcalm Middle School was awarded 2nd place and a $300 prize for his video titled How to Calculate a Credit Score.
Dave Seppela, West Regional President for Isabella Bank stated, “The creativity and information that this contest drew out from our community’s younger generation was amazing. It gives me hope that they will in the future make good financial decisions based on what they learned through this contest.”
 “Independent Bank is always looking for ways to promote Financial Literacy, and despite the setbacks of the Coronavirus, these participants and videos did not disappoint!  Thank you for helping us to get the word out!” said Lisa Brown, AVP, Community Leader at Independent Bank.
As we help children and families move toward self-sufficiency, we know a key step is preparing children, youth and adults to succeed in school and life. 
Congratulations Ian and Alex on a job well done! 

1st Place - Ian Mark!

2nd Place - Alex Jacoby!

Teen Financial Literacy Contest

Email Haley McLean if you have any questions.


Thank you to our Sponsors!

2020 Title Sponsor

2020 Platinum Sponsor