NEFE Names First Innovation Award & Impact Award Recipients


NEFE Celebrates 30th Anniversary with Retrospective, Forward-Thinking Event

DENVER—The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) culminated its 30th year of operations with the inaugural Financial Education Innovation and Impact Summit, a celebratory set of events to recognize the past, present and future of the organization’s work championing financial education. The Summit kickoff dinner on Dec. 6 included an awards presentation with NEFE partners, board members, and current and former staff, highlighted by the establishment of the NEFE Innovation Award and the NEFE Impact Award, as well as the announcement of its initial winners.

“Over the past three decades, we’ve built many meaningful relationships and appreciate every opportunity we earn to listen, learn and collaborate with some amazing advocates. It brings me tremendous pride to recognize the winners of the NEFE Innovation and Impact Awards,” says Billy Hensley, Ph.D., president and CEO of NEFE. “Narrowing down the list of the first-ever recipients of these awards was a challenge. However, we are thrilled to honor these four individuals and organizations that truly champion financial well-being.”

NEFE’s Innovation Award was created to recognize organizations and individuals who have exhibited leading-edge work and groundbreaking progress in the field of financial education. Recipients will have moved the field of financial education forward in exciting, transformative ways and exemplify originality and a forward-thinking vision. The first-ever recipients of the NEFE Innovation Award are Knology and the Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance (HEFWA).

Knology was selected for its achievements and dedication to studying complex social issues and producing practical social science for a better world.

NEFE is grateful to Knology for filling gaps in financial education research and for providing a suite of tools that provide insight into financial education across states.

The Knology team said the following when accepting the award: “This award is really a recognition of shared effort. Thank you NEFE for believing in an audacious goal of consolidating all the policies and investments across the nation. We knew this could be useful, but we hope this award may draw attention to the database and feed rapid innovation in the financial education policy. The need is great.”

HEFWA was selected for its achievements in building a community of engaged, committed professionals driving nationwide change in the financial knowledge and skills of college students.

“While we are happy to accept this Innovation Award on behalf of HEFWA, it needs to be said that our success which has led to us being on this stage is the product of lucking out and finding some of the best people in the world who have volunteered their time to help HEFWA grow the way it has. To all of those people, past and present, we thank you so much for support,” says Phil Schuman Indiana University’s executive director of financial wellness and education.

NEFE’s Impact Award was created to recognize organizations and individuals who have sought meaningful change, significant achievement and measurable impact in financial education. Recipients will have a body of work that is a foundational piece for the field of financial education by contributing to the field’s momentum, shaping best practices and advancing financial well-being. The first winners of the NEFE Impact Award are the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) and Theodore “Ted” R. Daniels, founder and president of the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc. (SFEPD)

GFLEC was selected for its ongoing work for the financial education field, including its recent work to obtain approval for the Journal of Financial Literacy and Wellbeing, which is testament to its lasting and impactful work on the field and related fields.

“This award is very significant for GFLEC because it is from NEFE—a visionary leader that has changed the landscape of financial education in the United States. This award recognizes the work of the team at GFLEC. I cannot tell you how proud I am of the passionate and mission-driven individuals who contribute to our research and programs. Last year, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and I continue to marvel at what we accomplished during that decade. No one brings in results alone. Success is always the outgrowth of collaboration. This is why I am grateful to our team members, past and present, and to the support of NEFE,” says Annamaria Lusardi, Ph.D., professor of economics and accountancy at the George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) and the founder and academic director of GWSB’s GFLEC.

Ted Daniels was selected for his impactful work in financial education and the countless individual lives he has changed.

“NEFE is an outstanding leader and collaborative partner in the financial literacy field, and I am deeply honored to receive their first Impact Award. Our role at SFEPD is to increase the financial resilience of Americans, especially in communities of color, through teaching financial knowledge and skills necessary to achieve financial security and self-sufficiency. Financial education is key to helping African Americans to attain economic mobility and generational wealth and we appreciate NEFE for elevating awareness about SFEPD’s important work on this critical issue,” says Daniels.

In addition to the award winners, NEFE was honored to welcome author/former Denver Bronco player Ryan Harris as the keynote speaker at the Financial Education Innovation and Impact dinner. The event was the kickoff to a two-day conference to discuss strengthening the future of financial well-being.

“NEFE fulfills the need for a cross-industry space to discuss common problems, ways to innovate for the future and maintain a connected—and dynamic—community within the field. Together, with our partners, we collectively generate curiosity and enthusiasm about advancing financial well-being,” Hensley continues.

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