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New Treasury awards honor financial empowerment champions in classrooms and communities

New Treasury awards honor financial empowerment champions in classrooms and communities

 Content Editor

June 29, 2022

Across the state, unsung heroes help Oregonians to be better equipped to make financial choices and lead more secure lives. With the new Oregon State Treasury Financial Empowerment Awards, the state is singing the praises of some standouts among those unsung heroes.

State Treasurer Tobias Read announced the winners of the inaugural awards in April, as part of Treasury’s recognition of Financial Literacy Month.

“Oregon is stronger when more Oregonians are financially secure,” he said. “I’m thrilled to recognize these standouts for their efforts in classrooms and communities to help more people safely navigate today’s financial landscape.”

The awardees are:

Financial Empowerment Educator of the Year: Ryan Ashlock, a Parkrose Middle School math teacher who created and teaches a popular personal finance course in the state’s most diverse school district. This is his first recognition by any entity for his outstanding financial education efforts.

Ashlock will receive $1,500 and Parkrose Middle School will receive $500. In addition, students chosen at random at the school will share a total of $500 in scholarships from the Oregon College Savings Plan.

Parkrose Middle School Principal Annette Sweeney said the course is offering a huge benefit for the students and also their families in the largely low-income Northeast Portland neighborhood. At the school, 85 percent of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch.

Financial Empowerment Community Champion: Oregon State Credit Union, based in Corvallis and serving 24 Oregon counties, which helped create a new workbook connecting mindful mental health and financial wellness as part of its comprehensive financial literacy outreach efforts through schools and numerous nonprofits.

“On behalf of our over 132,000 member-owners and community education partners, we are humbled to receive the inaugural Oregon State Treasury Financial Empowerment Community Champion Award,” said Richard S. Hein, President/CEO of Oregon State Credit Union. “We recognize that financial literacy is essential to financial equity and inclusion, and we will continue to provide financial education as a sustaining resource to our communities.”

The Financial Empowerment Community Champion organization receives $2,000, plus can “pay it forward” and select another financial empowerment-focused organization or effort to receive $500. The credit union will donate the entire $2,500 to community partners, Hein said.

Nominations came from across the state and the winners were selected by a subcommittee of the Financial Empowerment Advisory Team, which meets quarterly to amplify financial literacy and financial inclusion efforts statewide.

Treasurer Read thanked said the slate of nominees was impressive, and that he is looking forward to recognizing more champions in the future. Entries will be accepted beginning in November for the 2023 awards.

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