Financial Literacy Conference
Effectively delivering financial education takes more than just teaching key concepts. It takes community and cultural understanding. It takes empathetic insight. It takes a deeper connection with varying populations and their individual needs. Many financial concepts and lessons are pretty cut and dry, but the individuals learning them seldom are.
To help those in financial education continue to improve their efforts with the communities they serve, Financial Beginnings launched the Pacific Northwest's first FinEd professional development conference in 2014. The annual conference was designed to help educators build financial knowledge and classroom confidence by offering practical resources and tools, a place to share successes with like-minded educators, and an opportunity to interact with financial experts. The conference is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the need for financial literacy and to connect educators, nonprofit leaders, and government staff with the tools and resources necessary to deliver financial education to their communities.
In October 2018, Financial Beginnings Oregon continued the tradition by hosting its own event, the 2018 Financial Literacy Conference (FLC), in Canby, OR. With close to 200 in attendance and $62,000 in sponsorships generated, the conference was a success. But beyond the numbers, feedback from attendees, speakers, and the Financial Beginnings Oregon team indicated this year's event was the best yet!
As Tom Moosbrugger, Development Director explained, the FLC, "was so successful that it enabled us to skip our annual gala altogether, allowing us to focus more of our time on doing other program work and building awareness in the community."
Attendees shared positive conference reviews, indicating they learned helpful money management tips and that they intend to more actively participate in their financial well-being. Educators and nonprofit and government employees also noted that the conference made them feel more confident teaching others about financial concepts.
This year's conference was framed around the theme of equity and inclusion, with several sessions addressing financial literacy through this lens. One panel discussed the unique financial literacy needs of the Latinx community and how one might take culturally sensitive approaches to addressing those needs. Another session, titled, "Equity, Inclusion, & Financial Empowerment," included a diverse panel of women who discussed how knowledge of issues surrounding economic disparities and inequities experienced by local communities of color can inform attempts to provide financial education. Financial Beginnings Oregon hoped to leave FLC attendees not only with a better grasp of their own finances and more prepared to increase financial literacy, but also with a greater appreciation, consideration, and sensitivity for the diverse needs that exist in their communities.
Moosbrugger noted, "Being 'prepared' to bring financial literacy into a community doesn't simply mean knowing how to balance a budget and access your FICO score; it also means understanding the unique needs and barriers of the communities with whom you're working and responding to those needs in a way that is respectful and sensitive."
Financial Beginnings Oregon Executive Director, Kate Benedict was very pleased with this year's event. From a highly regarded keynote delivered by Oregon State Treasurer, Tobias Read, to workshops and panels covering topics central to her team's work, Benedict was encouraged by the FLC and excited for the future. As Benedict explains, every time she shares with others what Financial Beginnings does, they respond by saying they wish the organization was around when they were in school. While Benedict is thrilled people recognize the value in what Financial Beginnings provides, she looks forward to the time when people instead day, "I learned from a personal finance workshop when I was younger, and it changed my life!"
Thank you to our generous conference sponsors!