Make A Difference–Wisconsin, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit agency founded in 2006 by Lloyd Levin with a mission to provide financial literacy programs and resources that empower students to make sound financial decisions. The Make A Difference – Wisconsin vision is to build strong communities where students and their families make informed financial decisions and take control of their financial future. Make A Difference–Wisconsin engages volunteers from the local business and professional community in the delivery of financial education.
Studies show that U.S. teens are graduating from high school without solid financial management skills. The lure of credit card offers and check-cashing stores, combined with a lack of money management education, sets many up for financial crises that can last a lifetime. We want to change that.
Our core program consists of three lessons focused on budgeting and saving; understanding checking accounts; and understanding credit cards, credit history/scores, and credit reports. The program is typically delivered over the course of six visits to the classroom. Volunteers present the program individually or in pairs and engage students by sharing personal and professional experiences related to financial literacy and through the use of several hands-on activities.
In addition to the core program, Make A Difference – Wisconsin launched a one of a kind program called Money Coach. Pilot-tested in 2013 at four high schools and one community organization in Milwaukee, the program pairs students with trained coaches who spend an hour with them once a month. The coaches are business professionals who bring a variety of financial backgrounds and professional experiences to the program. With their coaches’ help, the students establish financial and personal goals, and make action plans to reach them. The coaching curriculum consists of eight lessons plans covering topics that include employment, starting a banking relationship, and saving for education. This year the Money Coach program is being held in eight high schools and two community organizations in Milwaukee.