SAN FRANCISCO — Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Charles Schwab Foundation have named Eric Cruz of Boys & Girls Clubs of Truckee Meadows the eighth annual National Ambassador for the Money Matters: Make it CountSM financial education program. The National Ambassador serves as an advocate for the program and is charged with promoting financial education for lifelong financial health and well-being to teens across the country. Cruz is the second teen from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Truckee Meadows to win this honor.
Cruz decided to participate in the Money Matters program for the opportunity to learn healthy financial habits from an experienced adult and mentor. As a high school student in Reno, with aspirations to attend the University of Nevada, he was driven to learn how to save money, set financial goals and balance a school budget. Now as the national ambassador, he hopes to inspire and motivate other youth to learn what it takes to be financially fit at any age.
“Before participating in Money Matters, my savings mostly consisted of a couple of dollars a week, which would ultimately be depleted by the end of the week because I would just see my money and spend it,” he said. “After participating in the program, those spending patterns have become nonexistent. I’ve created a bank account for myself that takes a percentage from my paycheck and puts it into a savings account that I will use for college.”
As Money Matters National Ambassador, Cruz will receive a $5,000 college scholarship from Charles Schwab Foundation.
“Our Money Matters National Ambassadors serve a crucial role in communicating the value of positive financial habits to their peers,” said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “Having a successful teen like Eric who influences his friends and family extends and deepens the impact of the Money Matters program and further advances our movement to strengthen financial fitness for Americans.”
Cruz, who will graduate from high school this year, is a leader in his community both through school clubs and various Boys & Girls Club programs. He plans to pursue a degree in nursing from the University of Nevada, Reno, and hopes to continue his education in a Physicians Assistant program after earning his undergraduate degree.
Ten other Boys & Girls Club teens are being awarded $1,000 scholarships for their exceptional achievement in acquiring and applying personal finance knowledge and skills through the Money Matters program.
“Money Matters provides an opportunity for Boys & Girls Club teens to learn how to responsibly handle their finances and take steps to build a financially fit future,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of BGCA. “Our graduates leave the program feeling confident and competent as they apply their newfound knowledge to activities like opening up their first bank account or creating a monthly budget.”
Since inception of the program in 2004, Charles Schwab Foundation has presented a total of $500,000 in college scholarship grants to 248 Boys & Girls Club teens, ages 16-18, who successfully completed Money Matters and demonstrated outstanding personal finance leadership skills and understanding.
About Money Matters: Make It Count
Funded and co-developed by Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Money Matters program is designed to promote money management skills among teens, ages 13-18. The program consists of fun, interactive activities and exercises on topics such as prioritizing needs vs. wants, budgeting responsibly, using credit wisely and saving for college. The program is targeted primarily at teens from underserved communities.
More than 500,000 youth in over 1,700 teen Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. have participated in Money Matters since it launched in mid-2004.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,100 Clubs serve nearly 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Charles Schwab Foundation
Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation.
About Charles Schwab
At Charles Schwab we believe in the power of investing to help individuals create a better tomorrow. We have a history of challenging the status quo in our industry, innovating in ways that benefit investors and the advisors and employers who serve them, and championing our clients’ goals with passion and integrity.