The Desjardins Youth/Adult Financial Education Awards recognizes leadership within the credit union movement on behalf of youth/adult financial literacy. They consider all activities supporting the personal finance education of members and nonmembers, including, but not limited to, face-to-face teaching, publicity, lobbying for curriculum requirements, teacher and volunteer training, and promotion and use of the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program® (HSFPP).

Naming these awards after Alphonse Desjardins emphasizes the movement's long-time commitment to financial literacy. Besides founding the first credit unions in Canada and the U.S., Desjardins pioneered youth savings clubs and in-school "banks," known as caisses scolaires.

For more information on the Desjardins Awards, including secrets of a winning entry, click here.​

2015 Winners - Youth

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Tech CU
Hey Scouts!
Tech CU, in cooperation with the Boy Scouts of America Calumet Council, developed a program to support the financial literacy efforts of the Boy Scouts of America’s Personal Management merit badge for Scouts age 7 to 17. Currently no other financial institution provides support of the Personal Management merit badge. The badge requirements take Scouts through the real-world decisions of saving, investing, making charitable donations and borrowing money. According to the District Director of the Calumet Council, this merit badge is one of the most difficult to obtain primarily because it takes most Scouts up to a year to work through the requirements. Tech CU’s program includes personnel devoted to the program and specific materials and presentations for the scouts. There is also information to create interest among the Scouts’ parents, support for Pack Leaders plus cash incentives and account bonuses for the Scouts who start and complete the badge.
ASSET SIZE: $500 million+
1st Place: Financial Center First CU
Education Equals Empowerment for Youth
Financial Center recently converted two full-time employees who had previously served in sales/education roles to dedicated financial literacy advocates. The two lead a three-tiered program. The first tier is classroom instruction. The credit union uses the Banzai Financial Education program in two middle/high school classrooms currently. Teachers can request financial workbooks and curriculum for their students and Financial Center First CU pays for the materials and presents classroom lectures. The second tier is the student-run branch. The credit union operated a student-run branch inside North Central High School’s J. Everett Light Career Center (JEL) and partnered with business classes to offer students a four-week financial program. Valuable financial life skills taught in that program include setting financial goals, saving and investing, budgeting and spending, the rule of 72, financial responsibility and much more. Financial Center First CU served over 300 members through the student-run branch at JEL. The third tier is internships. The student-run branch inside JEL affords business students real-life work experience and the opportunity to better understand how the financial world works. Students spend ten days working as student tellers, learning the basics of managing a cash drawer, offering financial products and services to members and understanding the importance of branch operations and member confidentiality. Often, these mini internships open up opportunities for students to become tellers at the credit union’s traditional branches.
2nd Place: Purdue FCU
PALS Financial Literacy Days 
Each summer since 2008, Purdue FCU volunteers have dedicated six days to teaching financial literacy to hundreds of children attending the Purdue Athletes Life Success (PALS) camp at Purdue University. Children attending PALS range in age from 8 to 14, and their parents or guardians meet Department of Health and Human Services income guidelines. Due to the variety of ages, the credit union creates and modifies the games and activities to work for the younger group or older group. This summer, the campers played Credit Jenga, rotated through Minute-to-Win-It style stations and competed in Financial Feud. These games taught participants many things including importance of credit scores, wants vs. needs, fraud, payment methods, budgeting, taxes, interest and being a savvy shopper. There were 40-50 campers per session, and 13 credit union employees provided one-on-one instruction. In addition to the work conducting the fun financial literacy sessions, Purdue FCU, along with the Brees Dream Foundation, also makes a $50,000 donation to PALS each year.
Honorable Mention: Indiana Members CU
IPS #44 Student Incentive Program 
Indiana Members CU (IMCU) has an ongoing relationship with IPS #44. Among other activities, the credit union has organized a Student Incentive Program to teach students about the importance of saving while encouraging them to be responsible and pay attention in school. Through this student incentive program, "IMCU dollars" are earned for (1) good behavior, (2) academic achievement and (3) perfect attendance each quarter. Teachers/staff at the school were given IMCU dollars to give and take away as warranted. The students who had already earned IMCU dollars were incentivized to work harder in order to keep them. Students can purchase prizes at a range of costs with the IMCU dollars. In order to purchase larger, more expensive prizes, the students had to learn to save their IMCU dollars. Also, for every 100 IMCU dollars a student earns, they are entered into a drawing for an iPod. The Student Incentive Program has a direct impact on the students and their habits when it comes to saving money and learning about the importance of financial responsibility. The students love it and the teachers feel as though they have a tool to support their rules.

2015 Winners - Adult

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Via CU
Seminars in the Community
Via CU is committed to financial education and has focused on providing free financial education and seminars in the community. The credit union has worked with a number of employers and community partners to help encourage an attitude of savings. A featured product is the Via CU Start Up Certificate, which allows members to begin a 12-month CD with $10 and encourages monthly deposits. The credit union also offers incentives for direct deposit, provides Financial Savings Tips posters and offers budgeting seminars. Via CU is very active with its area Chambers of Commerce—there are five in Grant and Blackford Counties. A presentation on "Financial Stress in the Workplace" was presented to each of the Chambers and their membership. Via CU also spent time presenting about Financial Stress in the Workplace to Rotary and Kiwanis and presented a session on Identity Theft to the Blackford County Senior Center and Senior Walking Clubs in Marion. Via CU has also partnered to provide financial education with community and nonprofit organizations, including the Marion Housing Authority and the Grant County Young Professional Networks. Via CU was also a part of the planning of the Bank on Marion Chapter that encourages financial institutions to offer 'second chance' accounts with an educational component.
ASSET SIZE: $500 million+
1st Place: Financial Center First FCU
Education Equals Empowerment
Financial Center First CU’s adult financial literacy programs are lead by two employees who were recently assigned exclusively to financial literacy and member education. The programs are composed of three parts. Part one is Wealth Builder Educational Seminars which cover basic budgeting, advanced investment strategies, insurance solutions and more. There have been 21 seminars serving 432 members so far this year. Incentives are paid to members who attend multiple sessions. Part two is Minority Outreach which, in addition to providing weekly seminars for the unbanked and under-banked Hispanic individuals throughout Central Indiana at the Mexican Consulate’s office, has also begun holding financial basics workshops for local businesses that employ large numbers of Hispanics. Outreach has also broadened to the Chinese and Eastern European immigrant communities. Part three is Health Savings Member Lunch ‘N Learn Workshops. The topics covered include managing an HSA, budgeting, understanding credit, insurance needs, basic investing, home buying, auto buying and holiday spending. Also, Financial Center First CU focuses on finding partnerships with organizations that help those with potentially troubled financial situations due to life circumstances including domestic violence centers, substance abuse rehabilitation services, local churches and homeless shelters.

2014 Winners - Youth

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Finance Center FCU

2014 Winners - Adult

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Finance Center FCU

2013 Winners - Youth

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Youth Financial Education

2013 Winners - Adult

ASSET SIZE: $150-500 million
1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Adult Financial Education

2012 Winners - Youth

1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Youth Financial Community Outreach
1st Place: Indiana State University FCU
Tiger Cubs Pack #17

2012 Winners - Adult

1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Adult Financial Community Outreach

2011 Winners


1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Financial literacy in the community and a guiding strategies for serving members and the community.


1st Place: Centra CU
Commitment to improving financial literacy in the community


1st Place: Finance Center FCU
Incorporating financial education in Indianapolis-area high schools

2010 Winners


First Trust CU
CU in School provides a realistic, student-based point of view on gaining financial literacy


Finance Center FCU
In an age of multi-tasking, multi-faceted strategy employed to educate high school students

2009 Winner


First Place: Finance Center FCU
Financial Literacy and Student Credit Union Program

2008 Winners


First Place: Independent FCU
AEF/IFCU Grant for Economics


First Place: REGIONAL Federal Credit Union
Setting Goals and Establishing the Groundwork for Good Money Habits


First Place: Finance Center Federal Credit Union
Financial Literacy & Student Credit Union Program

2007 Winners


First Place: Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union
Creative Ways to Teach Children and Parents About Money Concepts


First Place: Indiana State University Federal Credit Union
Working with Junior Achievement to Present Economics 101

2006 Winners


First Place: Perfect Circle CU
Financial Education Roadshow

Second Place: Evansville FCU
“Together, we’ll make it happen.”


First Place: Bayer FCU
NEFE education program at the Bashor Children’s Home

2005 Winners


First place: Perfect Circle CU
Youth Financial Literacy


First place: Purdue EFCU
PEFCU at School

Honorable mention: Indiana University EFCU
High School Financial Literacy

2004 Winners


First place: Evansville FCU
Multiple projects for youth financial literacy


First place: Purdue EFCU
Multiple projects to develop youth financial literacy

Second Place: MidWest America FCU
Children and Money Workshops

Honorable Mention: Evansville Teachers FCU
Credit union youth projects, work with community groups

2003 Winners


First Place: Marion School EFCU


First Place: Centra CU

Second Place: Professional FCU