Evansville, Ind. - Each year the National Financial Educators Council honors an outstanding financial educator by presenting him or her with the coveted Financial Education Instructor of the Year Award. The 2017 FEIY recipient is Ben Joergens, whose commitment and contributions to bringing financial education to the at-risk and underserved, all conducted in the spirit of partnership and collaboration, make him a strong match for the NFEC’s award criteria.
The NFEC Financial Education Instructor of the Year award is set aside to recognize a single individual who has made markedly significant contributions to promoting financial wellness over the previous year. The NFEC contends that educators are the single most important influence on participant success; that’s why the council created this award to recognize distinguished financial education instructors for their contributions.
Ben was selected for this award because of his experience, serving as Financial Empowerment Director and VP, at Old National Bank in Evansville, IN since 2013, in providing financial education to at-risk community members – including struggling teens, parents, and the incarcerated. For example, he was instrumental in leveraging ONB’s partnership with Ivy Tech College in Evansville to build mentoring relationships with students struggling financially or who needed guidance. Ben and the ONB leadership team also partnered with Junior Achievement of Southwest Indiana to sponsor the Dollars Make Sense campaign, which taught parents how to leverage everyday teachable moments to help their kids understand money management. Ben is also an outstanding partner with the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana.
Perhaps Ben’s most impressive financial education achievement to date has been spearheading the innovative “12 Steps to Financial Success,” a program that teaches participants 12 steps they can take to change their lives for the better and achieve financial success. Ben has taught the program to hundreds of female inmates at the Henderson, KY Detention Center who have been incarcerated for substance-abuse crimes, and it has been expanded to reach both males and females at a rehabilitation center in Evansville, IN. This program not only empowers participants with financial knowledge, but also encourages them to empower others in their lives after they have left the detention center. Ben and ONB have worked with various partners to expand the program to other communities, and plans are in place to bring it to Daviess County, KY and to the State of Michigan. For his efforts on this project Ben received the 2015 ABA George Bailey Distinguished Service Award, sponsored by the ABA Foundation and given to one non-CEO bank employee each year who demonstrates outstanding initiative, customer commitment, community involvement, and inspiration to others.
“Ben Joergens exemplifies the stellar characteristics represented by the Financial Education Instructor of the Year award. He has been helping people improve their financial capabilities and has made unique contributions to expanding access to financial literacy programming to reach underserved populations,” states Vince Shorb, CEO of the NFEC. “Ben’s innovations, advocacy, and commitment to helping others are an inspiration to all of us in the financial education space.”
“We’re incredibly proud of Ben and the amazing work he is doing, along with our entire Community Development team, to empower at-risk members of our communities,” said Kathy Schoettlin, Old National Community Relations and Social Responsibility Officer. “This is such a well-deserved honor and a validation of the many lives Old National is touching through our commitment to financial education.”
Research has demonstrated the significant impact educators make on ensuring successful student learning. Distinguished financial education instructors are not merely dispensers of knowledge; they are learning facilitators who can mold and modify participants’ behavior and guide them toward financial wellness.
The National Financial Educators Council mission is to create a world where people are financially capable to make sound, effective financial decisions that improve their lives and the lives of people they influence around the globe. The NFEC recognizes those industry representatives who have made significant contributions to the financial literacy movement. These awards are designed to encourage others in the financial education space to continue to push boundaries toward promoting financial wellness on an ever-larger scale.