Community Foundation launches child savings account initiative

September 5, 2019

K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke handing off a K2C Piggy Bank to Ludington Area Schools Franklin Elementary kindergarten student Koye Hlady.

Community Foundation launches child savings account initiative

Beginning this fall, every kindergartener in Mason County will have access to an education savings account at West Shore Bank seeded with $50.

The Community Foundation for Mason County has recently launched the KickStart to Career Child Savings Account Program (K2C).

The accounts are deposit only, and withdrawals are restricted to post-secondary education expenses. This includes traditional college/university degrees, as well as other types of career training or education including skilled trades’ professions. Each account will be seeded with $50, a donation from John and Anita Wilson through their John and Anita Wilson Family Fund held at the community foundation. 

Students will be able to earn additional philanthropic contributions throughout their K-12 school years.

“We are extremely excited about the impact that this program will have on students in Mason County,” said K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke. It’s a major achievement for the Foundation.”  The program will serve approximately 300 kindergarteners in this first year.

The community foundation has partnered with the Mason County Promise, West Shore Educational Service District, West Shore Bank, and Safe Harbor Credit Union to create the county-wide program. The CFFMC will administer the program, and West Shore Bank will conduct deposit days. Both West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union will provide financial education.

“Encouraging students and parents to save for their students’ future career is an important habit to instill at a young age,” said Jeremy Holmes, vice president of West Shore Bank.  “We are honored by this important role in making a difference for so many students and families throughout our local communities.”

“Safe Harbor Credit Union sees the potential to impact families in a positive way and is excited to partner with the Community Foundation for Mason County to offer financial literacy programming to every kindergartner in Mason County as part of the KickStart to Career program,” said Safe Harbor Credit Union President/CEO Adam Johnson.

The program centers around fostering hope and opportunity for all children in the county. The research behind child savings accounts, which have been created across the country, shows us the significant impact this kind of financial investment has on students’ lives, according to a press release from the community foundation. Children with just $500 or less saved for college are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without savings, according to the Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion.

Throughout the program, students and their families will be partnered with on a number of different levels. West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union will provide financial education in every classroom and will conduct deposit days throughout the school year. Students will be encouraged to make deposits and will receive a financial reward when they make their first deposit.  The initial reward this year will be $10 per student offered by West Shore Bank, and we are hoping to increase the rewards by partnering with other businesses and organizations throughout Mason County in the coming year.

Parents and the community are encouraged to support the program. Parents can support their children by making contributions to the account. They can do this through multiple means, including making a contribution at any West Shore Bank branch or signing up for direct deposit to their child’s account. The wider community is invited to support K2C as the community foundation works to build a permanent endowment. In addition, the Foundation is seeking the support of local organizations and groups to provide additional philanthropic incentives to students.

For more information, review the CFFMC website https://mason-foundation.org or contact the K2C Coordinator, Julie Van Dyke, at [email protected].

Betten Baker Ford

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