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REAL Solutions® Grant Recipients


7 Rivers Chapter of Credit Unions

The chapter received $3,000 to award higher education scholarships to the winners of their Finance and Investment Challenge Bowl

Oshkosh Community Credit Union, Oshkosh

The credit union received $4,400 to purchase and promote the Banzai Direct financial education tool

Shoreline Credit Union, Two Rivers

The credit received $3,000 to support the startup of their Credit Union at Work program to provide financial education


Peoples Choice Credit Union, Medford & Gilman

The chapter received a $5,000 grant for financial education materials.


The Madison Area Chapter of Credit Unions

The chapter is using grant funds to develop a financial education program for soon-to-be released inmates at the Oakhill Correctional Institution. Staff from credit unions in the chapter will collaborate to provide instruction.

STAR Credit Union, Madison

This youth-chartered credit union will use grant funds to offer its Youth Entrepreneurship Society program. The program uses BizKids lesson plans and videos to teach teens how to own and run a business. In the first six months, the students participate in job shadowing and training and meet with local business owners. Over the final six months, the students create a business plan that includes a budget and proposal for investors. They pitch their ideas to a panel and receive an investment based on their proposal.


The Central Wisconsin Chapter of Credit Unions

The chapter is purchasing a poverty simulation kit from the National Credit Union Foundation to host live learning events involving students from the Marshfield, Stevents Point, Plover and Wisconsin Rapids areas. At least one credit union in the chapter has youth-run branches in schools in two of those areas. The poverty simulation will be used to cement relationships with these and additional schools, offering young people a glimpse into the way credit unions can help individuals and families address financial challenges. The simulations teach valuable personal finance skills and encourage young people to take their studies seriously.


STAR Credit Union, Madison

The funds will allow the credit union to hire additional student tellers and/or increase the salaries and offer negotiating skill to students delivering member service to young savers of a Madison-area Boys & Girls Club. The young tellers create a budget for the income they earn, learn cash-handling skills, balance a cash drawer, and more. They are given career development coaching and learn time-management skills. Because the program does not make income from fees or loan interest, the grant can help reward long-term employees with increased skill sets while bringing new student learners on board.


UnitedOne Credit Union, Manitowoc

The credit union purchased a video camera and software for an online video education program. The effort will engage younger members in learning financial concepts and improve member engagement with the credit union via social media.

WESTconsin Credit Union,  Menomonie

The credit union purchased iPads to establish a Family Financial Program that engages young people and their parents in financial learning with the help of a local Boys and Girls Club and university extension office.

The goal is to set entire families on a sustainable financial plan. Children will learn financial concepts throughout the fall and engage in an online "reality" simulation in spring. Parents, who will receive financial training through the extension, will guide their children in spring as they apply their learning.


STAR Credit Union, Madison

The credit union, which serves young members of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, will develop a new website that will better engage its young members, age 7 through high school, in online financial learning and problem solving.

The more interactive site aims not only to impart money matters that aren't taught at home – many of the parents of these young members are themselves underbanked or unbanked – but also to encourage return traffic to the credit union and continued regular saving.

A new laptop computer will also improve the outreach of STAR to more Boys and Girls Clubs to add member accounts and encourage increased account balances, in part through young member testimonials.

Park City Credit Union, Merrill

The credit union is using its grant to create marketing materials, purchase a domain name and micro-site, train staff and distribute informational materials to small businesses.

The goal is to offer credit union access to entrepreneurs that struggle to access needed business banking services and who are being needlessly gouged for some of the most commonly-used services such as business checking. Radio ads, billboards, printed materials will encourage small companies to improve their financial position by taking advantage of member-ownership in a financial cooperative.


Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Janesville

The credit union is purchasing iPads to help implement web-based financial curricula within the two high schools that house its in-school credit union branches. 

As part of its effort, the credit union will train its student tellers as Financial Literacy Student Ambassadors. They will serve as role models and leaders providing peer-to-peer financial literacy education.

The credit union estimates it can reach as many as 540 students with education that emphasizes saving and wealth building, improving creditworthiness and budgeting. 

Park City Credit Union, Merrill

The credit union is offering a Credit Rebuilder Program to help members and non-members improve their creditworthiness and improve budgeting skills to make consistent loan payments.

The grant will help fund advertising as well as promotional and educational materials needed to offer the program, as well as training for two employees to become certified credit counselors (for a total of four at the credit union).

Enrollees in the program will pay down a secured loan with regular payments reported to the credit bureaus to improve credit scores. Participants will have access to online support materials and spend at least one hour with certified staff to create a budget.


Superior Choice Credit Union, Superior

The credit union partnered with debt counselors at a local nonprofit agency to enroll 53 members in their Great Debt Pay Down program - similar to a savings challenge-in which enrollees are encouraged to become debt-free and savings-rich. Participants' average credit score is 685 with $23,508 in average outstanding debt.

So far, they've offered participants seminars on basic budgeting and identity theft. A webpage and blog are being developed. A grand prize is being offered to the participant with the most improved financial position. The credit union was honored by a local nonprofit agency for its financial advocacy. 

La Crosse Area Postal CU, La Crosse

The credit union used workshops, brochures, phone calls and other means to educate members on debit cards and debit card fraud, internet banking, mortgages and insurance.

The credit union also deployed a youth survey and plan to launch a young adult newsletter with information specifically for them. The funding is also helping the credit union provide financial information through its website, Facebook, an improved newsletter and a postcard series.

Star Credit Union, Madison

Funds helped develop its "Stock Market Club," which educated teenagers from low socio-economic neighborhoods about investing in the stock market and mutual funds. 

Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Janesville

Funds helped develop the "Student Saver Club," which educated high school students on the importance of saving.