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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Financial Mentors of America

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: Education - provide outcome based blended online financial, career discovery and post secondary education planning and selection curriculum with critical thinking, problem solving, tam building and project based learning to Texas teens.

Results: Course begins Sept 2017.

Target demographics: high school students gain financial, career, post secondary education and reality-based math

Direct beneficiaries per year: In past 1200 students attended course. New Texas course will be released Sept 2017 to 1200 school districts. Goal - 10,000 students.

Geographic areas served: State of Texas

Programs: Real Life Financial Math, a Texas approved advanced math course and a capstone, Game of Real Life, an experiential game where students interview for jobs, work, pay bills, file tax returns while "aging" from 19 to 25 in 1 1/2 hour intervals. The community is very actively engaged as interviewers, trainers and mentors.

Community Stories

21 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The idea is unique and the vision is bold! I've been a part of FMA for about 6 months. Since, I have been taken aback by the hurdles we have to jump as a nonprofit, but even more so the support we get from the community. People can really rally behind a group committed to providing the tool for critical thought at a pivotal age for decision-making.

ken_39

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Financial Mentors of America (FMA) and its programs, including the Game of Real Life and Real Life Financial Mathematics and Ready To Launch since 2004.

FMA focuses on student outcomes - do they graduate college ready, do they go on to post secondary education, do they complete their post secondary education and what careers and lives are they living.

One goal is to improve socioeconomic conditions of the community by helping teens succeed through education.

If education and helping teens succeed; if improving personal and economic conditions for families and communities interest you or sparks a passion, I recommend you contact FMA and start a dialogue. www.gameofreallife.org

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Teens taking charge of their educational future in the face of horrific circumstances including being homeless, living in poverty, attending schools that, for many reasons, cannot and are not providing the guidance and education the students need and deserve.

This is what I have observed and I have been overwhelmingly excited by the effectiveness of Financial Mentors of America and its Game of Real Life and Connect the Dots programs. Students gravitate to critical thinking and taking personal responsibility for their Future. The statistics speak LOUDLY.

1. 100% of the students graduating from the Game of Real Life have graduated from high school college ready.
2. Currently, 92% are on schedule to graduate within 6 years from entering college; colleges such as Colombia University, Purdue, University of Houston, Scripts and many more.
3. Many of the Game of Real Life graduates return to volunteer as Team Leaders and Career Mentors for the next generation of Game participants.

Volunteering for Financial Mentors of America is personally meaningful and has impact on the individual students as well as the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering with Financial Mentors of America as a Game of Real Life instructor 10 years ago. I was a classroom teacher looking for avenues to volunteer in my schools community for the summer. After meeting Lorraine, I was intrigued by her dedication and passion to educate youth on college access, workforce development, and how to make lucrative financial decisions. I have run into a few of my former Game of Real Life students over the years and am so proud that the Financial Mentors of America curricula and my small contribution was able to drastically change their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Ever since I began working with Financial Mentors of America, I've encountered and worked along with some incredible and passionate people. The whole staff is committed to bringing financial education to underprivileged high school students and many more. They are so dedicated of sending the right message and making lessons fun and relatable to the students. Every day I'm learning something new from my colleagues at FMA. They encourage me to improve my video editing skills and experience filming first hand.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just recently started working with FMA (Financial Mentors of America), but I am already extremely proud of the work we do and the vision this nonprofit has going forward. The goal of FMA's course, RLFM (Real Life Financial Mathematics), is to help ensure that students are prepared for all real-life matters throughout their lives. They learn how to prepare for life in college, how to become financially independent, ensure they have the knowledge to properly plan for marriage, children, mortgages, loans, tax situations, etc.

The program also helps students build skills needed for getting on the right track with their careers. I strongly believe that all students should be required to take this course as it would benefit many people who have already left school, that is how powerful and meaningful it is when appropriately applied to one's life goals. I wish I could have taken this course back in high school; I would have made better life choices. The decades of experience Ken and Lorraine have had in finance really shines through.

Patricia164

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Several months ago, I was looking for a meaningful pursuit to add to my "retirement" life when a niece pointed me to Financial Mentors of America on Volunteer Match. As I read about the organization, I saw that their mission was directly related to needs I saw among the college students I worked with in my 22 year career on a major university campus, and so I volunteered to help. My role is quite limited at this point - just editing a newsletter - however, I am included on the weekly calls linking the folks who are doing the core work of the organization. As I listen to the tasks being accomplished, I am very impressed with the vision, the leadership and the volunteers associated with FMA. The purpose here is to institute in Texas schools the course that everyone wishes they had in high school - Real Life Mathematics. Students will learn about every financial decision they will face in the 8 to 10 years after high school graduation in the most practical terms. There are several schools successfully piloting the course this year and it can only grow as the benefits are realized! Lorraine Decker is so knowledgeable and she and Nibal Markus, the chief administrator for the organization, are organized and focused! They have gathered a great team of volunteers and collaborators. The team is dedicated and competent! I look forward to watching this grow and seeing thousands of students better able to navigate life because of Financial Mentors of America.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was a wonderful experience working as a volunteer in the team. I had the chance to practice my craft and do what I love. The support I received from the members of the team is phenomenal.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience volunteering for FMA has been amazing. As a student, it has been very rewarding getting to work with incredibly nice and helpful people in different fields with different work backgrounds. I have been lucky to have the opportunity to learn new things and gain experience with such kind people who are very passionate about what they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have found working with FMA to be an incredibly rewarding opportunity! Anytime you can work directly with people who are passionate about improving the lives of others, especially our future generations, it's going to be a positive experience. Having even a small role in something that will improve the lives of hundreds, thousands and possibly even millions of high school students in the future is something one can really take pride in.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with FMA has been excellence. They are an organization with a vision and a purpose and they are truly caring about their volunteers. I have been working with them part time for over 6 months and don't have a complaint. They are on a mission to educate highschool students in financial education. It's a big and lofty goal that needed to be done and they are well on their way to success. It's been fun to be a part of an organization like this that has come so far and still has such a long way to go and shows no sign of slowing down.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I learned about FMA several years ago when Lorraine Decker, FMA President described the "Game of Real Life" curriculum at a United Way event. I later attended a couple of FMA board meetings and dinner sessions where I became even more impressed with the focus on better positioning young people to understand and navigate their financial futures. I participated in the FMA mini-Game of Real Life at an IBAT Financial Literacy Summit - The Independent BankersBank July 26-27, 2016 at Farmers Branch, TX and witnessed bankers buying-in and agreeing to volunteer to work with schools in their local communities to implement the course. As a retired college professor and now K-12 educational consultant, I look forward to the introduction of this course in September 2017.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have known and worked with Ken and Lorraine Decker for over ten years. They and their organizations provided valuable financial advice to our families at Habitat for Humanity when I served on the Board there. They subsequently expanded to offer financial and career advice to over 1200 underserved teens in Houston. Their most recent endeavor involves the creation of an approved financial math curriculum that will be offered to Texas high schools starting in 2017

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with FMA since its inception and prior to that with Ken and Lorraine for years. They are incredibly inspiring and FMA is a program that will revolutionize financial education for the entire socioeconomic spectrum of today's youth.
I am honored to be a part of it and look forward to its growth.

Jandro R.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with FMA 6 months ago and it has been awesome! Lorraine is great to work with and so passionate about the mission. I feels really good to be able to give a little of my time to help such a great cause!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with FMA in 2013 and recently joined the board. I see an enormous need to help any student, but particularly those in very challenging life circumstances, learn critical thinking and planning skills to increase their chances for a successful life. FMA has a proven curriculum to help students look into the future, determine what they want to do and the life they want to live, then come up with a plan for getting there. Students are provided a step-by-step methodology, using passionate volunteers and proven programs such as Game of Real Life and Connect the Dots, that helps them take charge of their future. I wholeheartedly support this organization and its mission.

Board Member

Rating: 5

While literacy - the ability to read and write - is a fundamental part of the education system, financial literacy is often left out of the mix. Most states don’t have any financial literacy requirements for their K-12 education systems. Realizing I had a daughter in college about to venture out into the world - not as prepared as she should be about financial matters - I jumped at the chance to teach a teen financial literacy class during summer 2012. After my “paid” assignment was completed, I continued to volunteer with the organization because I felt so strongly about their mission.

Plain and simple, FMA’s strategy is to talk about money with youth. Most adults avoid talking to kids about money, because they lack confidence in how they've handled their own finances. This is unfortunate, because adults have two things that children do not when it comes to finances: experience and perspective. Our volunteers approach the provocative topic of money with finesse, aided by our award-winning curriculums “Game of Real Life” and “Connect-the-Dots.” When a child believes that wealth is a result of luck, what motivation will he or she have to handle money responsibly? It's important to clarify at a young age that most wealth is not a result of luck - that most people work hard and make smart decisions to "get rich." Our volunteers help to impart that wisdom to youth and provide accurate information, introduce ideas, spark interest and awareness, and help empower children to take control of their financial lives. FMA teaches children about money by helping them discover the relationships between earning, spending and saving. In doing this, children also begin to understand the value of money.

FMA has a lofty goal of collaborating with non-profit organizations, school districts and the business community to educate 100,000 students by 2023. I believe this is achievable. Every minute that I spend in any capacity helping FMA is a step towards helping a child take control of their life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with FMA for over a year now. I joined to help them out with their web site but I am so captivated by the organization that I help out in any way I can. I think if I can contribute to helping one kid change their life for the better and achieve their dream, as a volunteer that would be such a satisfying accomplishment. With FMA I see the opportunity to positively impact many many kids!

The people are wonderful. Everyone is so motivated by the mission and are very respectful and supportive.

Looking forward to the next coming years, there is so much activity coming down the pipeline, I am so excited to be a part of this initiative at such a crucial time.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have worked with FMA full time since January 1, 2013 as a volunteer. I love experiencing close up the changes that occur in economically challenged students when they discover the future they could have. FMA helps them step into the future - college, careers, standard of living, giving back to the community - and create a plan for making their dreams come true. In doing this we not only change their future, we impact their families, the business community and the economy.

And all of our programs are academically researched. We collaborate with the University of Houston, College of Education to measure results.

Additionally, more than 95% of donations go directly into funding programs.

FMA is making a difference. With support, our programs can spread throughout Texas and the nation. We can and are breaking the cycle of poverty and changing the future for underserved teens, one life and mind at a time.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

FMA is making a meaningful difference in our community. Helping under-served youth set goals and strategies to become successful and financially independent adults changes the trajectory of their lives for the better. Mentors and hands on learning today leads to a stronger community tomorrow. Keep up the good work FMA!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with the Game of Real Life since 2008. I currently serve on the Board of Directors and Research & Development team.

The program provides comprehensive financial, college, and career education to economically disadvantaged youth. It teaches real world skills such as college & career planning, college funding, preparing tax returns, purchasing insurance, etc. The program is very engaging and also includes an experiential "Game Day" where students interview for jobs, work, go to school, pay bills, and manage their finances. I have seen the transformational impact of this program and fully support the expansion of the program into school districts throughout Texas.

The founder, Lorraine Decker, has the utmost commitment to the mission and program. She is a terrific leader with great vision.

Review from Guidestar