‘My Green’ Campaign Helps Native Youth Take Charge of Their Money

Source: Wall Street Journal

LONGMONT, Colo., April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — It’s called “Minor’s Trust,” “Big Money” or “18 Money,” and for a number of Native American youth, it represents a blessing and a curse. However, a new interactive web tool can help Native youth do big things with their minor’s trust.

A small number of tribes pay out dividends from tribal businesses, or per capita payments, to their members. Payments for tribal members who are age 17 or younger are usually held in a financial trust until the youth turns 18. At age 18 (although sometimes later) youth receive a substantial payment and are faced with the responsibility of managing their “Big Money” at a young age.

With funding from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) is launching the My Green campaign this month to help Native youth learn to manage their money. The main feature of the campaign is the My Green website at www.mybigmoney.org. It features four spokespeople — Native youth ages 17-23 — who present their stories about how they managed their Big Money. They share their lessons learned in several videos, and serve as guides throughout the different components of the website. The site contains several money tools that Native youth can use to learn how to better manage their payments, including a Big Money simulation game that mirrors real-life spending decisions one must make.

First Nations created the campaign and website in response to the growing demand to provide financial education to Native youth who are receiving a large lump sum of money. Studies have shown that Native youth have very low rates of financial literacy and are more likely to be “underbanked,” and Native youth who receive a large Minor’s Trust payment (sometimes $50,000 or more) are especially vulnerable to making poor financial decisions.

“Receiving a large minor’s trust payment at age 18 can be exciting but also very stressful for Native youth,” said Shawn Spruce, program consultant at First Nations. “We are confident the My Green website will offer these kids valuable tools to explore how to invest in their future.”

First Nations will continue to unveil and promote the website at several conferences including the Native American Finance Officers Association conference held April 18-19, the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque April 26-27, and The National Indian Education Association conference Oct. 29 — Nov. 3.

To learn more, visit www.mybigmoney.org, “like” the campaign on Facebook at MyGreenFNDI, or follow the effort on Twitter @mygreenfndi.

Contacts: Sarah Dewees (540) 907-6247 or sdewees@firstnations.org and/or Randy Blauvelt (303) 774-7836 or rblauvelt@firstnations.org

SOURCE First Nations Development Institute

/Web site: http://www.firstnations.org