snowcapped mountain peak

Annual Report 2023

From Our Leadership

The momentum financial education experienced in 2023 was unprecedented—particularly in K-12 policy. The U.S. officially reached 25 states that have implemented, or are working to implement, a high school graduation requirement. As such, just over 40% of all high school students in the U.S. will be required to take a course in personal finance. This foundation will increase young adults’ knowledge, decision-making skills and confidence as they move into adulthood. Even more significant is that educators, students, advocates, researchers, policymakers, legislators and funders built the case for school-based financial education requirements based on data. NEFE is grateful to work alongside all those who have strived tirelessly to guarantee financial education to all students, no matter their zip code or school.

Financial education momentum was not limited to high schools. NEFE presented alongside congressional leadership and before many national and state agencies as they raised the topic as a top priority for their work. More colleges and universities made the case for on-campus programs, with NEFE’s partnerships exploring access issues among lower-income students and adult learners. Our newly funded research projects came from a near-record number of proposals as NEFE reached an all-time high in research citations. We look forward to continuing engagement with leaders across the country who are advancing this imperative mission.

We celebrate all the success yet realize there is much more to do. Throughout this annual report, you will read about NEFE’s efforts to address the ongoing needs associated with quality, outcomes and access to financial education. This includes setting the stage for the 2024 Financial Education Innovation & Impact Summit in Denver later this year. We remain steadfast in championing effective financial education as one of the cornerstones that ensures everyone has the knowledge, confidence and opportunity to live their best financial life.

Billy J. Hensley and Richard (Rick) G. Ketchum

Board of Trustees

Jason Young
Jason W. Young

2024 Chair, Atlanta, GA

Dionne Blue, Ph.D.
Dionne Blue, Ph.D.

2024 Vice Chair, Columbus, OH

Rachelle Feldman
Rachelle Feldman

Trustee, Durham, NC

Megan Gorman
Megan Gorman

Trustee, San Francisco, CA

Jourdan Jones
Jourdan Jones

Trustee, New York, NY

Rick Ketchum
Richard G. (Rick) Ketchum

Chair Emeritus, Rye, NY

Nancy Kim-Yun
Nancy Kim-Yun

Trustee, Irvine, CA

Beth Lesen, Ph.D.
Beth Lesen, Ph.D.

Trustee, Long Beach, CA

Bob Lewis
Bob Lewis

Trustee, Palm Beach, FL

Margaret Libby
Margaret Libby

Trustee, San Francisco, CA

Christine D. Lovely
Christine D. Lovely

Trustee, Ithaca, NY

Robin Nunn
Robin Nunn

Trustee, Washington, DC

Kevin Plummer
Kevin Plummer

Trustee, Tampa, FL

Loretta Sanchez
Loretta Sanchez

Trustee, Orange, CA

Connie Weaver
Connie Weaver

Trustee, New York, NY

Billy Hensley
Billy J. Hensley, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Denver, CO


Billy Hensley
Billy J. Hensley, Ph.D.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Executive

Michelle Samuels-Jones, Ed.D.
Michelle Samuels-Jones, Ed.D.

Senior Director, Equity, Executive

Beth Bean
Beth Bean, Ph.D.

Senior Vice President, Research and Impact, Executive

Joanne Flores Moses
Joanne Flores Moses, CPA®

Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Executive

Brian D. Ford
Brian D. Ford

Chief of Staff, Executive

Joshua Caraballo, PsyD
Joshua Caraballo, PsyD

Managing Director, Research, Institute

Amy Marty Conrad
Amy Marty Conrad

Managing Director, Insights, Institute

J. Michael Dedmon
J. Michael Dedmon

Director, Research, Institute

Emma Donahue
Emma Donahue

Senior Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Institute

Erin Edlund
Erin Edlund

Manager, Office Operations, Corporate

Hunter Field
Hunter Field

Manager, Policy and Advocacy, Institute

Greg Fischer
Greg Fischer

Director, Strategic Partnerships, Institute

Paul Golden
Paul Golden

Managing Director, Media and Executive Engagement, Executive

Mary Hoch
Mary Hoch

Director, Thought Leadership Initiatives, Institute

Mary Beth Kelley
Mary Beth Kelley

Senior Manager, Technology, Corporate

Lanell Daniel-Knight
Lanell Daniel-Knight

Manager, Administration, Institute

JJ McGinnis
JJ McGinnis

Senior Manager, Marketing and Engagement, Institute

Tina Mealer
Tina Mealer

Senior Manager, Human Resources, Corporate

Gregory Morgan
Gregory Morgan

Senior Manager, Communications, Institute

Peggy Muldoon
Peggy Muldoon

Director, Business Projects, Institute

Raven Newberry
Raven Newberry

Managing Director, Policy and Advocacy, Institute

Christine Noble
Christine Noble

Manager, Operations Support, Corporate

Chelsea Norton
Chelsea Norton

Managing Director, Marketing and Engagement, Institute

Matthew Reyes
Matthew Reyes

Manager, Marketing and Engagement, Institute

Madelyn Smith
Madelyn Smith

Manager, Research, Institute

Amarie Söderlind
Amarie Söderlind

Senior Director and Controller, Accounting, Corporate

Naomi Verdun-Askew
Naomi Verdun-Askew

Senior Manager, Marketing and Engagement, Institute

Mission, Vision and Core Values

Our Mission

NEFE champions effective financial education. We are the independent, centralizing voice providing leadership, research and collaboration to advance financial well-being.

Our Vision

NEFE envisions a nation where everyone has the knowledge, confidence and opportunity to live their best financial life.

Our Core Values

intentionality, collaboration, stewardship, transparency

Our History

The Denver-based nonprofit College for Financial Planning was established as the nation's first financial planning educational institution for professionals.
The free, teen-focused High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP) launches.
NEFE is formed and becomes the parent organization of the College for Financial Planning.
NEFE is among the founding members of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. NEFE leads in the establishment of April as Financial Literacy Month.
NEFE sells the College for Financial Planning and fully funds the endowment to focus solely on its philanthropic education work.
NEFE conducts its first of many expert convenings, which have focused on retirement challenges, gender issues, low-income families, life-changing events and more.
NEFE begins funding research as the sole focus of its grants program.
NEFE launches CashCourse®, a free, online resource designed for college and university students.
NEFE serves on the first of three U.S. Presidential Advisory Councils on Financial Capability (2008-2009, President George W. Bush; and 2009-2015, President Barack Obama).
NEFE launches the Financial Education Evaluation Toolkit®, an online tool to help financial educators evaluate the impact of their programs on learners.
NEFE establishes the Five Key Factors for Effective Financial Education, a framework to help educators successfully deliver and evaluate personal finance instruction.
NEFE begins sponsorship of the Cherry Blossom Institute, an annual research convening focused on financial education.
NEFE publishes the first version of the Personal Finance Ecosystem, a tool defining the factors of financial well-being.
NEFE announces retirement of education programs to focus on research, enhancing knowledge impact and providing thought leadership. NEFE transfers CashCourse to the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance.
For the first time in its history, NEFE is governed by a female-majority Board of Trustees.
NEFE celebrates its 30th year of operations.
NEFE announces $2 million in partnerships with the Appalachian College Association and the Colorado Community College System to implement programs tailored to unique populations.
At NEFE's 30th anniversary Financial Education Innovation and Impact Summit, winners of the first-ever NEFE Innovation Award and NEFE Impact Award are honored.
NEFE hires its first senior director of Equity.
NEFE surpasses $6.6 million in total funding for research projects since 2006.
NEFE timeline infographic

Our Strategy

Our Legacy Is Built On Championing Effective Financial Education.

As one of the first organizations to wholly dedicate its efforts on quality financial education, NEFE continues to embrace and contribute to best practices in collaboration, research and evaluation.

Strategic Plan Highlights
NEFE strategic wheel

Endowment Performance

NEFE does not raise revenue through the sale of products or services. Growth of the endowment occurs through the investment of assets. NEFE is a private operating foundation and subject to annual minimum spending rules by the Internal Revenue Service. All charitable activities, apart from research grants, count towards the minimum spending requirement.


2023 Minimum Required Spend


2023 Total Actual Spend

Estimates as of 12/31/23. See 990PF for finalized numbers.


Market Value of NEFE Endowment

NEFE Updates

FEI&I Summit Recap and Highlights

Following our inaugural Financial Education Innovation & Impact (FEI&I) Summit, we spent the year expanding and exploring outputs from the Summit as we begin planning our next Summit in 2024.

We used Financial Capability Month—an event we helped create more than two decades ago—to publish our initial FEI&I Summit recaps and blogs, summarizing the presentations and conversations held throughout the Summit in the areas of Access, Quality and Impact:


The ease with which all people can obtain financial education in a way that accommodates different life circumstances (e.g., geography, age, ethnicity/race, socioeconomic status, etc.); the way in which technology improves a person’s ability to obtain financial education.


The quality of financial education and the mechanisms we use to deploy it; the degree to which it adjusts for cultural, economic, racial and geographic differences; the industry’s integration of nontraditional educational methods and patterns of information consumption.


The success with which the industry is advancing financial well-being outcomes among various groups with unique circumstances and needs, what the data shows in terms of successes and gaps, and the quality of assessments in analyzing outcomes.

These were the foundation for our FEI&I Summit Webinar series, which we organized and produced throughout the summer and fall, continuing into 2024 and leading into our FEI&I summit in October. We hope to see you at the event, more details to come soon.

Save the date information for FEII Summit 2024 with mountains as a backdrop

NEFE’s First Senior Director of Equity

Michelle Samuels-Jones (upper left) and Theodore "Ted" R. Daniels of SFEPD (upper right) stands with Hampton University's winning HBCU Financial Literacy Knowledge Bowl team.

In 2023, we made the important decision to hire our first senior director of Equity—Michelle Samuels-Jones, Ed.D.

Michelle made an immediate impact, expanding NEFE partnerships with organizations that serve underrepresented populations and leading initiatives to build collaborations among key stakeholder champions of equity in financial education.

Visiting Scholars

Stephanie Cote

We introduced Stephanie Cote as our visiting scholar for 2023-24. Stephanie is Odawa and Potawatomi from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians from Northern Michigan and serves as a thought leader for the Indigenous population. Her project is a seven-part series exploring Indigenous populations entitled “Financial Education for the Contiguous United States Native Nations.”

Chloe McKenzie

We continued partnering with Chloe B. McKenzie, our visiting scholar for 2022, who published several additional research and opinion pieces throughout the year on the topic of financial trauma and financial nonparticipation.

Strategic Partner Updates

We hit the ground running in 2023 after announcing our new strategic partnership initiative establishing a research-to-practice laboratory to advance effective, population-specific practices in financial education and provide guidance and support for the future of the financial education field.

Appalachian College Association logo

Appalachian College Association (ACA)

The ACA partnership is a population study on rural college students, primarily from economically disenfranchised Appalachian communities who tend to be first-generation college students. The seven ACA colleges we funded planned and operationalized their financial education interventions. Six of the seven colleges rolled out their activities for the fall semester—the seventh college's program is launching in 2024. Activities ranged from embedding financial education in a required quantitative literacy course for freshmen to hiring and training paid peer mentors. Assessment results were gathered from undergraduates at these colleges at the beginning and the end of the semester. Colleges are taking lessons from the fall semester to improve the marketing and delivery of their tailored financial education programs.


Colorado Community College System (CCCS)

The CCCS partnership is a population study on community college students. These students tend to be older, more racially diverse, and study and work part-time, compared to traditional four-year undergraduates. In 2023, CCCS hired a program manager to oversee the partnership for the system and an instructional designer to create online modules. In addition, we assisted with preparing options that individual community colleges can elect to offer to their students. CCCS is finalizing its Colorado Skills Institute online program, a platform to enable access for any student or employee of CCCS and all community colleges. We conducted due diligence for a co-funder from the banking or investment sector to offer financial incentives to students who complete the financial education modules.

NEFE on the Road

Speaking Engagements

NEFE values collaboration with mission-aligned organizations to build, deliver and promote programs, initiatives and research focused on financial well-being. Our diverse partnerships span social services, education, research and media organizations.


2023 Speaking Engagements


2023 Technical Requests

Policy & Advocacy

2023 Event Highlights

The Policy and Advocacy work portfolio expanded in 2023, highlighted by co-hosting “Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill” in Washington, D.C., with the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. The event returned to being in-person for the first time since 2019, and brought together a diverse group of advocates, educators and policymakers to champion financial education and celebrate efforts. The chairs of the bipartisan Financial Literacy and Wealth Creation Caucus—Rep. Joyce Beatty (D, OH) and Rep. Young Kim (R, CA)—set the stage for financial education as a cross-party issue. NEFE also spoke to leadership groups including the National Association of Attorneys General and the National Association of State Treasurers.

Advocacy in Action

paper and clipboard with CRA written on it

Legislative Review

We continued to advocate for K-12 statewide financial education requirements throughout 2023 and were monitoring legislation introduced in several states. By the end of the summer, six state legislatures (West Virginia, Indiana, Connecticut, Minnesota, Louisiana and Oregon) passed bills requiring financial education for graduation, with two additional states (Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) finalizing their legislation prior to the end of the year. This brings the number of states with these policies to 25.

Learn more in our annual legislative recap
panel of people speaking

Response to Community Reinvestment Act Reforms

For nearly two years, we were monitoring the process for updating the Community Reinvestment Act, a landmark U.S. civil rights law aimed at countering racial discrimination in lending. In October, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency took steps to modernize a law untouched this century.

Read more for NEFE's reaction to the reforms

Contributing to the National Conversation

Elevating Stories on Financial Education Impact

We're interviewing people on financial education and financial well-being and why they're crucial to so many. Listen to students, advocates and financial professionals speak on why financial education and wellness is so important.

Financial Education Policy Tracking

policy tracker map

One of the major enhancements to our website was a new legislative tracker map. This addition enhances our continued work showcasing K-12 financial education legislation being considered at the state and national level.


Right Place, Right Time

Gathering data on important issues at key moments set the tone for our opinion poll work in 2023.

We commissioned a series of polls exploring trust in the financial services sector, and how public sentiment shifted in the wake of the collapse of several banks around the world. We also conducted an exploration into financial services interactions among Native communities.

With the end of the three-year student loan repayment pause, we conducted in-depth opinion polling to determine the short- and long-term impacts on both the general population and those with outstanding loan balances.

In addition, we conducted our traditional financial well-being opinion poll to start the year and ended the year researching how Native community members view their financial lives.

Billy Hensley conducted a national satellite media tour on our student loan data, speaking to radio and television outlets  across the country.

Billy Hensley conducted a national satellite media tour in September on our student loan data, speaking to radio and television outlets across the country.

Opinion Poll Data Shows U.S. Adults with Student Loans Worried About the Repayment Pause Ending

83% of U.S. adults with outstanding student loans say they will need to make significant budgetary changes in order to make their payments.

As 31% of U.S. adults are scheduled to begin repaying student loans for themselves or a dependent, NEFE conducted in-depth consumer polling to determine the short- and long-term impacts facing this population after a three-year pause.

Consumer Trust, Awareness of Bank Crisis Explored in New Opinion Poll

The well-publicized collapses and failures of banks worldwide in early 2023 raised questions on whether consumer trust in the financial services industry was impacted. This polling compares U.S. adults who were aware of these bank crises and those were unaware of the bank crises, asking them questions on confidence, faith, ethics and professionalism in financial institutions.

Grants Awarded to Lewis and Clark and Alabama

Lewis and Clark College logo

Lewis and Clark College’s project, “Exploring Racial Ideologies Within the National Standards for Personal Finance Education,” will examine the language within the “National Standards for Personal Finance Education” to identify best practices for educating African American youth about financial literacy.

"I couldn't be more excited and appreciative of NEFE for sponsoring our project. Their support allows us to delve deep into the critical topic of financial education for African American students, and we are determined to uncover valuable insights that will make a real impact. This grant empowers us to drive positive change in financial literacy education, and we are eager to embark on this journey,” says Arielle Hammond, Ph.D. candidate, Lewis and Clark College.

University of Alabama logoThe University of Alabama will use NEFE grant funding for their project, “Finances in Sexual and Gender Minority Couples Toward Inclusion in Family Financial Capability,” examining how sexual and gender minority couples manage their household finances, perceive access to financial services, and assess how financial attitudes and behaviors are associated with financial, psychological and relational well-being.

“The conversations we were able to have with NEFE were instrumental in strengthening our research and methodology. We especially appreciate their commitment to understanding and repairing systemic inequalities in financial well-being,” Casey Totenhagen, Ph.D., associate professor in human development and family studies, University of Alabama.

A joint project between Montana State University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the California Policy Lab at UCLA received a grant for their project, “Can Financial Education Reduce the White-Black Wealth Gap?” to examine if a one-semester personal finance course as a high school graduation requirement has an equal impact on financial outcomes for white and Black students, or if one group is uplifted while the other is left behind.

Research Priorities

NEFE offers research funding opportunities annually to advance projects with potential to contribute profoundly to the field of financial education. More details about the 2024 grant cycle will be released in July, and prospective applicants can anticipate submitting letters of inquiry in the fall.

In 2023, NEFE chose three projects from institutes of higher education to receive a total of $579,789 in grant funding. Since 2006, NEFE has funded 43 projects for more than $6.6 million.

NEFE identifies the following topics as research funding priorities, marking a shift in our agenda. While our grant cycle remains open to all eligible concepts, we give preference to well-designed projects that align with the priorities listed below. Our directed research opportunities provide funding for projects that address these topics specifically.

Strong standards of measurement strengthen the case for effective financial education and inspire others to join our cause. We continuously seek to improve the quality of research in our field by evaluating whether our instruments are effective in their measurement. We are interested in re-evaluating current financial literacy metrics and how financial literacy, behavior, perception, knowledge and skill can be measured more effectively.

We seek:

  • Existing measures to be validated and grounded in theory
  • The creation of new measurements that are grounded in theory
  • Measures to be tested for validity across demographic attributes (e.g., race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, age cohorts).

Sensitivity and awareness that individuals' lived experiences vary and therefore measurement validity may differ across populations.

NEFE acknowledges that financial education alone cannot solve the economic inequity that exists across socioeconomic status, race and gender within the U.S. We see financial education as one piece of a broader ecosystem that affects individual financial capability and well-being.

We ask:

  • To what extent does financial education play a role in driving equity across populations?
  • How does it cooperate with other factors within the ecosystem?
  • How can it improve to bridge the many gaps and meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities within our country?

We encourage the investigation of knowledge, skill and wealth disparities—especially among populations that statistically are more likely to experience systemic barriers to improving their financial well-being, such as Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and women and girls. It also is essential to consider the framework of intersectionality when examining population-based disparities.

We pursue the study of disparities through the lens of:

  • Effective financial education pedagogy
  • Effective evaluation
  • Culturally competent curriculum, programs and educators

Examining bias—specifically as it pertains to personal finance—helps us identify knowledge gaps in our field. By being more inclusive, we can strengthen both our research design and data. For example, individuals without a credit score disproportionately earn a lower income and are underrepresented in many research studies that use credit score as a key variable, thus limiting the income variation of the study's population.

  • Who are we excluding, and why?
  • Alternatively, why are certain populations always being studied?
  • What are the ways research can give a voice to those who have traditionally been unseen and less heard in the data?

NEFE recognizes that exposure to financial education among youth in the U.S. can vary widely based on the presence or implementation of state mandates and the amount of financial socialization and education within a family unit. Such a wide range of formative experiences creates an inconsistent foundation for the knowledge and skills critical to financial well-being and decision making in emerging adults.


And the Winners are...

We sponsored awards supporting emerging scholars and investing in, and recognizing, research in the field of financial well-being.

Josh Caraballo presenting at the AFCPE Symposium

AFCPE Research to Practice Award

Presented at the AFCPE Symposium to Miguel Quiñones, Ph.D. candidate from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, the award celebrates the individual(s) or organization(s) that best demonstrates the effective collaboration of research and effective practice.

Beth Bean and others at the 2023 Cherry Blossom Financial Education Institute

2023 Cherry Blossom Financial Education Institute

NEFE supported several awards at the 2023 Cherry Blossom Financial Education Institute, including sponsoring the Financial Literacy Research Award for two outstanding papers and the Rising Financial Literacy Scholar Award, examining household levels of financial literacy and its impact on fertility and housing policies.

Various images of NEFE staff holding awards won during 2023

NEFE was recognized by organizations both within and outside the fields of financial education and financial well-being.

  • Silver medalist for “Best Nonprofit Video” at the MUSE Creative Awards for our “Past, Present and Future” video, which debuted at our 2022 FEI&I Awards Dinner.
  • Winner of a Ragan’s Hot List Award for our Personal Finance Ecosystem.
  • Finalist in the Ragan’s Nonprofit Communication Awards for our Strategic Partnership kickoff and communications strategy.
  • Recognition award for sponsoring the first Historically Black College & University Financial Literacy Bowl for the Society for Financial Education & Professional Development.


NEFE disseminates research, poll data and provides support to journalists in their consumer finance reporting. NEFE is frequently cited in media outlets across the country.


2023 Total Media Mentions


Overall Coverage in Top-Tier* Media Outlets

*Top-tier = outlets with national reach, syndication of content and/or have reached over 500k impressions

Social Media

Twitter (X)


Twitter (X)





















Open Rate


Instagram Launched in 2023 Engagements = interactions with content

Total Reach

social media followers, email subscribers, etc.

Memorable Moments from the Year

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