Social Responsibility

The MAD Initiative: SecureFutures

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Jade Hendricks

AVP of Investor Operations

Our CEO, Tim Wallen, often says that education is the foundational element to helping the youth get ahead in life; and with 75% of American teens stating that they lack confidence in their knowledge of personal finance1, SecureFutures is tackling education through the lens of financial literacy and mentorship.

The organization was established in 2006 as Make a Difference Wisconsin by Lloyd Levin, a noted Milwaukee philanthropist with over 40 years of experience as an entrepreneur in industrial, commercial, and residential real estate. Despite the name change to SecureFutures, the goal has always remained the same: to equip teens with money management skills, tools and mentoring so they can achieve financial capability, reach their goals, and strengthen their communities. 16 years later, SecureFutures has received several recognitions, including the Governor’s Financial Literacy award (twice!) and Brenda Campbell, President and CEO, is a member of the Governor’s Council on Financial literacy and Capability since 2020. Even more notable is the recently achieved milestone of having served over 100,000 students across Wisconsin.

SecureFutures offers three programs: Money Sense, Money Coach and Money Path. Money Sense teaches students the essentials of money management, like banking and creating a savings plan, and is typically taught in three 90-minute lessons. Money Coach takes a deeper dive as a multi-week, extensive program that matches teens from historically marginalized under-resourced neighborhoods with volunteer coaches who provide guidance, accountability, and support. Money Coach is the only financial mentoring program of its kind. In addition to the education and coaching, students are expected to open a bank account and have the opportunity to earn a college/career scholarship for reaching program benchmarks. The scholarships provide a unique opportunity for teens to learn real-life money management skills and begin to develop strong financial habits that last a lifetime.

Money Path is the newest offering and is a web-based application that allows teens to build a personalized plan for their financial future. Using up-to-date data on career starting salaries and post-secondary education costs, students develop a plan to pay for school, build a budget, set savings goals, and compare different paths, side-by-side, to envision the long-term financial impact of their decisions.

SecureFutures believes that every teen deserves the opportunity to graduate from high school with the basic financial management skills they need to make important decisions, avoid pitfalls, and achieve financial success.

So, how is SecureFutures able to accomplish all of this? The answer: site partners, volunteers and program managers.

Over its 16 years, SecureFutures has worked with 314 site partners to bring the three programs into schools and community organizations, recruit students and facilitate volunteers. The volunteers are local professionals, across all industries, who serve as educators, mentors and coaches. SecureFutures provides volunteers with the training and curriculum resources they need for seamless facilitation. Since inception, 2,472 individuals raised their hand to volunteer and support the mission. Program managers are the glue that pull all the pieces together. These individuals are SecureFutures employees who oversee the recruitment, training and overall execution of the programs. They help manage expectations and serve as liaison between the site partners, coaches, students and the organization. Brenda Campbell, President and CEO, says “Financial education and mentorship delivered at the right time when teens are forming lifelong habits, is one of the most effective tools for setting teens on the path to stability and success. This is transformational knowledge and skills!” 

Employees at MLG have also supported SecureFutures, which led to a partnership for the MAD Initiative. I’m a current volunteer with the organization and have served in each of the programs every semester since 2019. It’s been amazing to see the overlap between my work at MLG and my passion for financial literacy. I’ve had the opportunity to work with students from several schools and nonprofits throughout Milwaukee. 

SecureFutures provides programming at no cost to high schools and community-based organizations throughout Wisconsin. Programs are 100% privately funded by generous individuals, corporations, and foundations. Your MAD Initiative investment will give more teens the opportunity to become financially capable and secure their financial futures.  If you’re interested in impact investing or learning more, you can speak with a member of our team.

The Charity is the beneficiary of the investor/donor’s investment in the applicable MLG Private Fund and subsequent donations under the MAD Initiative. This is not, and will not be, an offering of the Charity receiving the donation. The investor/donor’s ability to use charitable contributions as deductions against other income is dependent upon applicable income tax laws as well as the investor/donor’s personal tax situation. The investor/donor should consult with his, her or its own tax advisor regarding the income tax consequences of investing in the MLG Private Funds and the MAD Initiative.

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