Money Smart Week was designed as a public awareness campaign through a variety of organizations that include businesses, schools, agencies, media outlets, libraries, and non-profit organizations. The goal of this awareness campaign is to increase financial literacy, informing consumers through informational seminars and finance-related activities. These services are offered to people of all incomes and walks of life, for any purpose. However this campaign is not new; it was established by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002 and each year hosts events from April 5-April 12. This program serves to inform consumers in a way that aims to benefit the general public in their understanding of taxes and finance, providing simple steps for people to help themselves.
Each year, groups who support this week convene, educating people for free about various financial organizations and institutions, such as the Federal Reserve. Consumer handbooks about adjustable rate mortgages are provided and information on identity theft, credit cards, and bank account promotions are given. This is very helpful, especially to people who struggle with financial issues and haven’t been given the amount of education necessary to have financial/tax knowledge. In Washington state alone, there are dozens of organizations who support this week, such as Seattle Public Library, Bellevue College, AARP, and more. Each day from April 5 to April 12, classes and programs are offered in various locations around the Seattle area. Children also enter in contests and win prizes and scholarship money for their achievements in financial education. Thanks to the hard work of organizations like the Seattle Public Library, this event has spread far beyond Chicago and gained national coverage.
–Andrew, Teen Center Adviser