Moneythink's Financial Need and Ownership Report

After interviewing over 90 students on 7 different University and College campuses, we’re excited to share with you the findings from our report, Financial Need and Ownership: Student Perspectives on Postsecondary Persistence.

Read how financially insecure students prepare and tackle financial challenges and what we can do to set them up to be better equipped throughout their college careers.

Moneythink's Financial Need and Ownership Report Financial Need and Ownership: Executive Summary Read our blog post about creating the report

Moneythink mentors: more than just teachers.

“We can connect to these students; a year or two ago, we were in their shoes thinking about applying to college and getting jobs, and we’re able to connect with them on that level.”

“We are there not just to teach finance, but to be a part of their lives as role models.”


Jeremiah Douchee, Moneythink program graduate

Growing up, Jeremiah faced adversity, but his mother and football coaches helped him keep his eye on the ball. He dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur but was unsure of the path to get there. Jeremiah entered our program as a junior in high school. Through our program, he worked with his Moneythink mentors to define financial goals, build a business plan, and take real steps on a weekly basis to move toward his financial and career goals. His Moneythink mentors helped him plug into extracurricular opportunities like college visits and field trips, and even wrote his college recommendation letter. Jeremiah is now at Dartmouth College on a full ride scholarship.

Here’s what he had to say, reflecting on his Moneythink experience:

“Moneythink is a phenomenal organization that is direly needed. In a country with urban areas with severe poverty and financial nescience, Moneythink provides a financial education that will develop society. [The program has] an interesting spin: using college students as teachers allows high school students to be taught by someone they respect, are intrigued by, and could be their peers for years to come. It is an amazing organization run by great leaders; [Moneythink] is bridging socioeconomic gaps today and improving tomorrow’s world.”


Tess Sadowsky, Moneythink Claremont Colleges

In her first year as a Moneythink volunteer, Tess established partnerships with three local classrooms in Los Angeles.  Moneythink usually works with high-schoolers, but Tess partnered with another campus organization to teach the Moneythink curriculum to women in a halfway house.  The women directly applied the knowledge to start a business venture that raised funds to get them back on their feet.  They dried fruit from the trees on campus and sold it under the name: Fallen Fruit for Rising Women.  Today, the halfway house continues to sell products at farmers’ market events.

Here’s what Tess had to say about the importance of Moneythink for women:

“Women often bear the brunt of financial illiteracy.  Young women are frequently found less financially literate than young men.  This transfers to family budgeting, and thus a family’s financial well-being.  Furthermore, a mother’s education and financial literacy greatly affect her children’s.

As the first woman to found a MT chapter, and the first woman in a national leadership role for the organization, I recognized the importance of MT in young women’s lives, and the potential impact of our programs on young women and their future families.  Now in my role as our Alumni Association chairwoman, I work to recruit strong female mentors to connect with the students.”

Meet Moneythink: Rakhee & Tumerra

See how first-year Moneythink volunteer Rakhee Jain was able to be become both a mentor and a role model for one of her students, Tumerra Daniels.

Nnaji Iwunze, Moneythink program graduate

Nnaji entered the Moneythink program in his junior year of high school. As the oldest of several siblings in a single-parent household, Nnaji had big dreams – he just had to figure out how he would make the financial leap into college and the real world. Nnaji worked with his Moneythink mentors to develop financial plans, try his hand at entrepreneurship, get a job, begin saving for college, and earn scholarships. Nnaji was accepted into 21 universities and now attends Baldwin Wallace University in Ohio on a full-ride scholarship. As one of the few youth in his neighborhood to make it to college, he is a proud role model for his siblings.

As quoted in the Chicago Tribune:

“It has had a huge impact on my life. I learned that the financial decisions I make today will have a lasting effect on my future,” said Iwunze, who has a part-time job in concessions at Soldier Field and also works as a Moneythink intern.

He offers several anecdotes of his newfound money habits, such as funneling 20 percent of his paycheck toward savings. Most surprising, though, is the way small amounts of change can add up.

“I started throwing pennies into a jar and now I have $50 in pennies,” he said, with a touch of awe. “It’s really a thrill.”

Learning to save is especially crucial for young adults like Iwunze, who is headed to Baldwin Wallace University in the fall. Financial distress, especially for students from low-income communities, can add to the college dropout rate.


Ryan Greenlaw, Moneythink program graduate

As a charismatic class clown, Ryan Greenlaw was a natural leader in his Moneythink classroom at Hales Franciscan in Chicago.  He used lessons learned to successfully apply for a scholarship to attend the prestigious Swarthmore College.  He has volunteered for Chicago’s homeless and now mentors youth in Philadelphia.  Ryan will be studying abroad in South Africa this winter before working on an education technology start-up in Shanghai this summer.


Blake Mason, Moneythink USC

From Moneythink’s 2012-2013 annual report:

“This past semester, I taught the curriculum to a class in the Academy of Finance at James A. Foshay Learning Center, a school in south-central Los Angeles. We taught every Friday morning early enough that I initially wondered if the students would even be able to focus, let alone enjoy the class at that hour of the morning. The first session seemed to confirm my fears. The students were rowdy and it was a constant struggle to grab their attention. I spoke to their teacher later that day, and he pointed out that the students were in the low GPA track class. He also noted, however, that while they may be wild, they are also more down to earth and have lots of potential. It took me a couple of weeks, but I began to see what Mr. Stahura was talking about. I had to learn to meet them at their level and structure my classes in a manner that would better suit their needs. By the sixth week, my team had finally found our stride. A steady diet of discussion and visuals helped us connect with the students.” – Blake Mason, Moneythink mentor

Stories are great, but how does Moneythink's impact fit into the bigger picture?

We believe that stories convey a human element which numbers often miss. Yet, all too often, donors and volunteers alike fall for stories without holding their favorite nonprofits accountable to measured outcomes. We’re on a mission to even the odds for future generations, and the only way we’ll know whether we succeed at that mission is if we’re keeping score.

Learn how we measure impact. Why financial education?

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