by Colton Campbell

More University of West Georgia students will be better able to balance a checkbook and pay off student loans, thanks to a $25,000 donation from the Walmart Foundation.

Photo of University of West Georgia Richards College of Business faculty member receiving a check from the Walmart FoundationThe donation – coming from the retail giant’s Spark Communities Program – will benefit UWG’s Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy (CEEFL). The Walmart Foundation has donated more than $153,000 to UWG in the past 10 years, supporting several colleges and initiatives in the university.

“We’re so excited about and grateful for this donation from the Walmart Foundation, and I know the money will be put to good use in this life-changing program,” said Nichole Fannin, executive director of development at UWG. “Financial literacy is important to the future success of our students. Only 20 states in our country require students to take an economics course, and only 17 states require high school students to take a course on personal finance.”

Fannin said Walmart’s donation will be used to create and implement video modules that will be used for instruction in the CEEFL program.

“The program’s objective is to provide meaningful resources that improve students’ financial decision-making capacity and build financial fitness for all students at UWG,” Fannin said. “Along with the video modules, Walmart’s support will help cover the supply and operational costs associated with the program’s many presentations.”

The contribution to the UWG Foundation was made possible through the Walmart Foundation’s Georgia’s Spark Communities Program (SGP). Through this program, the Walmart Foundation supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better.

The gift was revealed during a presentation at the Walmart.com facility in February. Walmart Foundation representatives also presented a $10,000 check to the UWG Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

“Addressing tough challenges and providing access to education on topics such as financial literacy enables our community access to more economic opportunities, allowing them to live better,” said Walmart Public Affairs Director Glen Wilkins. “We are proud of the support from the Walmart Foundation to the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy at the University of West Georgia and are honored to support the great work they do every day.”

Kim Holder, a lecturer in the Richards College of Business at UWG and the director of CEEFL, said comprehensive financial literacy programs at the collegiate level like the one she directs are relatively new. The goal is to develop a program to be modeled for institutions across the nation.

“UWG is taking the initiative to go above and beyond to provide all our students with the opportunity to a gain a basic understanding of personal finance,” Holder said. “We’re implementing a financial literacy course with video-based lessons and our hope is that this course can be helpful for all students, particularly those who receive need-based scholarships.”

Holder said some lessons learned by students in the financial literacy program include balancing a budget, understanding and repaying debt, saving for children’s education, saving for retirement, and achieving overall financial well-being.

“With this generous support from Walmart, we will be able to develop an initial staggered rollout of personal finance basics video modules available to all UWG students,” Holder said. “We’ll also begin designing intermediate-level financial literacy modules to be made available to faculty for use as independent supplements to existing courses.”

The Walmart Foundation SGP strives to award grants that have long-lasting, positive effect on communities across the U.S. In the last fiscal year, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $54 million in cash and in-kind contributions throughout the state of Georgia.

To be considered for support, prospective grantee organizations must submit applications through the Walmart Foundation SGP’s online grant application. Eligible applicants must have a current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in order to meet the program’s minimum funding criteria.

Additional information about the program’s funding guidelines and application process are available online at http://foundation.walmart.com/apply-for-grants/state-giving.

Posted on February 27, 2018