Press Releases

For Immediate Release
February 27, 2009 Contact: Charles Evenson

Winners of Governor’s 2009 Financial Literacy Awards Announced

(Madison) Governor Doyle’s Council on Financial Literacy (GDCFL) has selected six individuals and 10 organizations to receive its 2009 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards. The awards recognize excellence in promoting financial literacy among Wisconsin citizens and will be presented at a ceremony to be scheduled in the future.

The winners were selected by the GDCFL this week based on nominations received from the Council’s Awards Committee. The evaluation of nominees was based on four criteria: innovative implementation, demonstrated measurable results, collaboration with partners and scope—either statewide or having the potential to be statewide or focused to need-based groups.

Winners of individual awards include:

  • Sharon Abel, Adult Basic Education Instructor, Lakeshore Technical College, Sheboygan County Detention Center, Sheboygan, WI
  • Suzanne Dennik, Consumer and Housing Education Coordinator, Milwaukee and Racine Counties, Milwaukee and Racine, WI
  • Ann Meronek, Business and Education Educator, D.C. Everest Senior High School, Weston, WI
  • Rita O’Brien, Family and Consumer Protection Teacher, Appleton School District, Appleton, WI
  • Susan Shilz, Regulatory Specialist, Wisconsin Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, Madison, WI
  • Michelle Tidemann, Family Living Educator, UW-Extension, Fond du Lac County, Fond du Lac, WI

Winners of organizational awards include:

  • AARP of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
  • Appleton Area School District, Appleton, WI
  • Brokaw Credit Union, Weston WI
  • Educators Credit Union, Racine, WI
  • Get Smart Wausau, Wausau, WI
  • Manitowoc Money Smart Week Committee, Manitowoc, WI
  • STAR Credit Union, Madison, WI
  • UW Credit Union, Madison, WI
  • Wisconsin Bankers Association, Madison, WI
  • Wisconsin Youth Credit Unions, Pewaukee, WI

“I congratulate the individuals and organizations for their contributions to financial literacy,” said Governor Jim Doyle. “They are enhancing Wisconsin’s economy by making people more knowledgeable about their own money. We all benefit from that.”

The social and economic costs of financial ignorance are high. Money problems are the leading cause of divorce and a leading cause of suicides. Stress caused by money worries among workers results in low morale, low productivity, theft, fighting, absenteeism, tardiness and other problems that hurt the bottom line of employers and ultimately the economy.

In a nationwide study conducted in 2008 by the National Jumpstart Coalition (NJC), Wisconsin 12th graders achieved an average score of 57 percent on a test of their financial knowledge. While it was above the national average of 48.3 percent, the score remains an “F” on any grading scale.

The GDCFL was formed in early 2005 to advise Governor Doyle on how to improve the financial literacy of Wisconsin’s citizens. Three years ago it launched Money Smart Week Wisconsin in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. It was the first-ever statewide campaign in the country to promote financial literacy. DFI provides coordination and administrative support for the GDCFL and Money Smart Week Wisconsin. For more information about the Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards contact David Mancl, Director, Office of Financial Literacy at 608-261-9540 or email him at