Press Releases

For Immediate Release
August 06, 2010 Contact: Charles Evenson


DFI-Led National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy Celebrates 10th Anniversary  

(Madison) DFI’s Office of Financial Literacy is coordinating 10th anniversary plans for the National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy (NIFEL).  Events include a “booster shot” class about current economic conditions for past attendees and a celebration event to be held Friday, August 6 at the Executive Residence.  First Lady Jessica Doyle who has been extensively involved with the NIFEL is hosting the occasion.  

The Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition (WJC) created the program in 2001, and originally called it the Wisconsin Institute of Financial and Economic Education (WIFEE).  By 2004, the WIFEE had become the NIFEL and grown into the only three-session, graduate-level, teacher-training program of its kind in the nation, a designation it still holds.  Also in 2004, the Financial Literacy and Education Commission of the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated it, “a recognized practice for teacher training.”

Each course includes a mix of lecture, interactive learning, moderated panel discussions and field trips to such places as the Chicago financial district.  Presenters consist of national and local financial experts from academia, the media, government, business and nonprofits.  They include several members of Governor Doyle’s Council on Financial Literacy.   All volunteer their time and expertise.  The nationally recognized program has made Wisconsin the undisputed national leader in showing educators how to teach their students about money and personal finance.

Since its inception, over 1,200 participants representing 13 states have enrolled.  Two hundred of them have achieved significant recognition by being inducted into the elite “Clock Club,” an acknowledgement conferred only to those who complete all three programs.  Wisconsin educators who have attended sessions have reached over 300,000 students in their classrooms.   Other states have sent representatives to observe the NIFEL and then modeled similar programs after it, though no other program matches its scale and quality.   

Observing this week’s session are Velia Cardona, and Leilani Maldonado from the Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico and Gina Elmore, and Sharon Garchitorena, from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office.  Special guest Susie Irvine, President and CEO, AFSA Education Foundation, Washington D.C. is also attending the event.  The AFSA pioneered its Money Skill online financial education tutorial in Wisconsin because of the state’s outstanding efforts in promoting financial literacy.