KickStart to Career Child Savings program to hold Deposit Day. 

October 30, 2019

KickStart to Career Child Savings program to hold Deposit Day. 

In Mason County, approximately 70 percent of children start college, but only 35 percent on average graduate from a program. The Community Foundation for Mason County is working to improve that statistic with its new KickStart to Career Child Savings Account Program (K2C) that launched earlier this fall for all Mason County kindergartners.

The foundation will hold the first Deposit Day Nov. 6. The special savings accounts are expected to help children save money for future career training or college expenses. According to studies from the Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion, children with just $500 or less in a savings account for college are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without savings.

“We are extremely excited to impact 305 kindergarten students in Mason County in the first year of this innovative program,” said K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke. “Every penny counts toward building dreams, and we ask parents to work with their children to bring in any amount Nov. 6 to encourage their children to save and earn funds. This is the first of multiple opportunities throughout the child’s K-12 career to donate to and earn funds for their account.”

West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union staff will provide a brief financial education program for kindergartners at every Mason County school Nov. 6 and accept money children have saved in their piggy banks provided to them earlier this fall. Students are encouraged to make deposits on Deposit Days, scheduled twice annually, and will receive a $5 financial reward at each Deposit Day. The second Deposit Day for this school year is March 18, 2020, with the $10 per-student annual gift donated by West Shore Bank.

Earlier this fall, every kindergartner in Mason County received an education savings account at West Shore Bank, each seeded with $50 donated by the John and Anita Wilson Family Fund held at the community foundation. The accounts are deposit only, and withdrawals are restricted to post-secondary education expenses, including traditional college/university degrees, as well as other types of career training or education including skilled trades professions. Students can earn additional contributions throughout their K-12 school years, such as on Deposit Days.

“Research shows us the significant impact this kind of financial investment has on students’ lives,” said Andrea Large, executive director of the foundation, and former superintendent of Ludington Area School District. “Our goal with this program is to close the post-secondary education gap for students in Mason County by encouraging families to save, increase financial education, and instill strong financial practices at an early age to help families plan for their children’s future. Most importantly, we hope it fosters hope and builds aspirations of children and their families around careers and higher education. We are so thankful to John and Anita Wilson for their generosity in helping to make this happen for our kids.”

The K2C program is a part of a larger children’s savings account (CSA) initiative spreading across the country as a way to provide children and families with long-term savings accounts plus incentives to save for the future, along with financial education. The K2C program is one of only 50 CSA programs in the country.

Community and Businesses Encouraged to Participate

Parents and the community are encouraged to support the program in addition to Deposit Day. Parents can support their children by making contributions any time to their account at any West Shore Bank branch or signing up for direct deposit to their child’s account. Family members, friends and community members also can donate to a child’s CSA account. At the branch, donors must identify that they are contributing to the account in the K2C program.

Businesses also can participate as a classroom sponsor. Grade sponsors are needed each year to continue a match on Deposit Days or Reward Days (when students can earn incentive dollars if they meet goals established by the program’s education partners). West Shore Bank is sponsoring Deposit Days for every kindergarten class going forward, and Sarah Kanitz of Lake Michigan CPA Services, PLC has stepped up with $10-per-child incentive dollars when they are in first grade. Sponsors are needed annually at each grade level as the students advance in their K-12 education.

Program partners of the community foundation include Mason County Promise, West Shore Educational Service District, Mason County public school districts, West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union. The community foundation administers the program, and West Shore Bank conducts the Deposit Days, with both West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union providing financial education during Deposit Days.

For more information about the K2C program, including how to make a donation or be a sponsor, visit or contact K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke at