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Biz Kid$ and Credit Unions Team Up to Educate Youth

Biz Kid$ and Credit Unions Team Up to Educate Youth By Cyndi Cohen
Published July 23, 2013
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Biz Kid$ is the first national public television series promoting financial education for elementary and middle school students. On June 14, 2013, Biz Kid$ soared to the next level, earning a Daytime Emmy Award. The award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing was presented to Biz Kid$ in a gala celebration in Los Angeles, CA.

This is the second Emmy Award for the show. Biz Kid$ scored an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Main Title and Graphic Design in 2009, and has been nominated for 13 Emmy Awards in the last five years.

A Bit about Biz Kid$

Biz Kid$ focuses on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The series encourages school-aged students to take charge of their futures by learning about money and business. By featuring real-life kids who have started successful businesses, each half-hour episode teaches viewers about fiscal responsibility, career possibilities, and community involvement. Biz Kid$ is helping the next generations of consumers realize that they are the catalysts in creating their own financial futures.

Biz Kid$ was born in early 2006 out of a partnership between Biz Kid$ LLC (producers) and America’s Credit Unions. Jeannine Glista, Biz Kid$ Executive Producer, fondly recalls the show’s beginnings. “I had been pitching a show on kid entrepreneurs for a few years and met Jamie Hammond, who had worked extensively on Bill Nye the Science Guy. She brought the concept to the co-founders of Bill Nye. They had all thought about doing a kids’ show on money, and so we blended all the concepts and became partners. The rest is history...as they say.”

CUs and Biz Kid$ Bringing Financial Literacy into the American Home

In today’s society, the task of spreading financial literacy to young people and their parents is very important. Since CUs have a long history of being committed to helping young people succeed and providing financial literacy education to the communities they serve, supporting Biz Kid$ is a natural fit.

America's Credit Unions have been the sole underwriter for 65 episodes. “We are very grateful for their generosity and shared vision of helping kids become financially literate,” said Glista.

The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) (Madison, WI) has contributed more than $4.25 million in underwriting grants to Biz Kid$ since June 2007. During that time, it has also been instrumental in supporting the promotion of the program through fundraising, outreach and administrative responsibilities.

“NCUF aims to maximize the credit union’s investment in financial education for America’s youth through Biz Kid$ and continues to grow the awareness and utilization of the episodes, companion educational materials, and website tools and resources,” explained Danielle Brown, Biz Kid$ Program Coordinator for NCUF.

The Kansas Credit Union Association (Topeka, KS) has also long been a supporter of the Biz Kid$ program, providing multiple underwriting sponsorships on an annual basis to fund the show’s production. They continued their sponsorship as production of Season 5 got under way in 2012 and look forward to continuing it throughout 2013.

“As part of our mission of ‘people helping people’, KCUA and Kansas credit unions have a long-held commitment to personal financial literacy—both for their members and communities,” explained Haley DaVee, VP Governmental and Public Affairs. “From offering individual financial counseling to members to presenting programs at local schools, KCUA and Kansas credit unions are engaged on multiple levels and with multiple partners to increase the financial capability of Kansans. Biz Kid$ is an important partner in our efforts.”

It’s a great fit in KCUA’s overall financial literacy initiative. “Biz Kid$ has aired thousands of times in Kansas since its creation, reaching many with much-needed financial education,” added DaVee.

DaVee feels Biz Kid$ is certainly deserving of its recent accolades. “Even after multiple seasons, Biz Kid$ has kept creating programming that is creative, engaging, and educational. They’ve brought financial literacy into the homes of millions of Americans and helped to start a dialogue between parents and kids on the importance of smart money management.”

Likewise, The New York Credit Union Foundation (Albany, NY) was fortunate enough to get involved with Biz Kid$ right from the beginning as an underwriter and today, still provides its CUs with information and updates, as well as box sets and guides.

According to Allison D. Barna, Director of NYCUF/Community Development, Biz Kid$ takes a unique approach to financial literacy. “The pace of the lessons as well as the casual nature of the presentation brings learning about finance to a more comfortable level that doesn’t really come through in workbooks or lectures. The program keeps up with the trends and the talent on the show talks to the audience, not down or at.”

A Tool for Promoting Good Financial Habits

Although Biz Kid$ provides excellent TV programming, it is actually more than a hit TV series -- it’s also a popular financial education curriculum. In addition to the TV broadcast, the use of the series can also be extended through outreach. All 65 episodes come with lesson plans, teaching materials, and activities that meet national financial literacy standards. All lesson plans are free and downloadable from the Biz Kid$ website.

In fact, Biz Kid$ has become an important part of many credit union’s community outreach programs and provides an opportunity to leverage existing relationships, create new relationships and to strengthen a credit union’s brand in their community.

A Bright Future for Biz Kid$

Since airing in January 2008 Biz Kid$ has been seen by over 41 million viewers, ratings have been excellent, and the show is still carried by 80% of public TV stations. And, although the folks at Biz Kid$ celebrated the recent Emmy, their focus is on the future.

With the continued support of America’s Credit Unions, Biz Kid$ LLC is planning to produce more content through the development of quarterly specials on public TV. “Biz Kid$ is very thankful for the opportunity to work with America's Credit Unions to make a difference in the financial lives of America's youth,” said Glista. “Their belief in this project allows us continue the necessary work of helping this generation become financially literate, and economically independent.”

Brown contended that credit unions have been committed to Biz Kid$ from the start. “Supported by the recent Emmy win, we believe Biz Kid$ will continue to grow, both in viewership and praise.”

For more information about Biz Kid$, visit www.ncuf.coop or find a CU that supports the program.

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