Thought Leadership Thursday
Financial Education & Empowerment Breakthroughs
Thought Leadership Thursday Article
Dear Members of the NAST Community,
As we near the end of 2021, I would like to highlight our work on financial education and empowerment. Financial wellness (FinWell) has long been a priority of our association and our members. Just prior to the start of the pandemic, the NAST Foundation, in collaboration with the Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE) and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR), applied for funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation to support a financial wellness program designed for public employees and their families. The program was approved for $1.4 million.
The funds were used to issue subgrants to 24 governmental entities at the state and local level, which was then used for direct educational and engagement activities to boost employee financial education and wellness. One of the highlights of the FinWell program was how each grantee tailored their program for their specific population, which not only allowed them to successfully engage their audience but allowed us to identify some novel and impactful practices. The 24 case studies will be released in early 2022; I’ll be sure to send them out!
Besides the subgrants, we developed four toolkits and a booklet called Six Financial Life States for Financial Wellness, to support cross-generational training in your office. The interactive online tools assist with face-to-face and online FinWell conference planning, actionable legislative text, and a hot map to see what individual states are doing on this topic. View all of the toolkits here.
Based on the success of the first grant, the NAST Foundation board approved the application for a second round of funding to create a digital financial wellness platform to amplify these programs. The Wells Fargo Foundation awarded the NAST Foundation $465,000 to continue our work. The intent of this second phase is to engage the public sector workforce throughout the U.S. with a free digital platform that conducts assessments of individuals’ financial wellness and offers related personalized learning modules. We are excited to announce that Enrich was awarded this contract.
The new program was officially launched yesterday. If you missed the webinar, it was recorded and I invite you to read more and apply here. Besides access to the assessment and training platform, five online courses will be created and housed on the website: 529 college savings and ABLE plans, unclaimed property, state-sponsored retirement savings, and public financial workforce opportunities.
I wanted to share this program with you to not only highlight recent successes on such an important topic, but to provide an example of how NAST works with our principal state members, as well as our corporate affiliate partners, to achieve great things. I would like to thank our Treasurers and Treasury staff, as well as our partner organizations (SLGE and IPMA-HR), for their collaboration on this program. And I would particularly like to thank Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the program. Without their support, we would not have been able to create this important program.
In addition, I would like to encourage our other corporate partners to consider programs that they believe, working with the NAST Foundation, would have an impact to NAST members and their constituents and bring those ideas for us to discuss further. There are many opportunities out there and we would be happy to discuss ideas with you.
I know we are a week past Thanksgiving, but it’s never too late for me to express my thanks to all of the members of NAST for their commitment to our mission and priorities, and I look forward to many more opportunities we have to collaboratively work toward those goals.
Again, thank you.
Executive Director, NAST