Updated: March 2015

43rd Anniversary Fundraising Event (2014)

Consumer Action supporters gathered on Oct. 21, 2014 at the headquarters of Google in Washington, DC, to celebrate the organization’s 43rd anniversary.

Our 2014 honorees were the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), which provides financial education and practical information to people at all financial stages; Michelle Singletary, Washington Post “Color of Money” columnist, whose writings empower consumers to make wise money management choices; and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Education and Engagement Division, which creates opportunities for consumers to make better choices about money so that they can reach their life goals.

Each year, Consumer Action’s executive director and staff receive invaluable assistance from the event committee. The 2014 committee was co-chaired by Jenny Backus of Google and Scott Sapperstein of AT&T. Backus gave a warm welcome to the crowd and Sapperstein closed out the program with an announcement that the event had raised $240,000, a new record. In addition to Backus and Sapperstein, members of the 2014 event committee included Visa Inc.’s Alderman, Dusty Brighton of Stateside Associates, Angie Garcia Lathrop of Bank of America, Carlye Greene of Capital One, Brian Huseman of Amazon.com, Chris Merida of American Express, Jennifer Openshaw of Family Financial Network, Robert Shrum of MyWireless.org, James Sturdevant of The Sturdevant Law Firm and Frank Torres of Microsoft.

Media Award

Michelle Singletary

Presented by Jason Alderman, Visa Inc.

Michelle Singletary is a nationally syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. Her award-winning “Color of Money” column is carried in about 100 newspapers across the country.

She is the author of three books: “The 21-Day Financial Fast: Your Path to Financial Peace and Freedom,” released in Jan. 2014 and published by Zondervan, a HarperCollins company; “Spend Well, Live Rich: How to Get What You Want with the Money You Have” (Random House) and “Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well and Live Rich” (Random House).

For several years, Singletary was a regular personal finance contributor for National Public Radio’s afternoon program “Day To Day.” She is often a contributor to various NPR programs, including “Talk of the Nation” and American Public Media’s “Marketplace Money.” She is frequently asked to appear on local and national radio programs, including the “Diane Rehm Show” and “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show.” She has appeared on all three major networks: NBC, ABC and CBS. She has prepared personal finance segments for local and national news programs, and for a number of network, cable and nationally syndicated programs, including “Oprah,” NBC’s “Today Show,” “The Early Show on CBS,” CNN, MSNBC, “The View,” and “Tavis Smiley” on PBS. She has also appeared on “Meet The Press.”

As part of her commitment to community service, Singletary volunteers as the director of “Prosperity Partners Ministry,” a financial program she founded at her church, First Baptist Church of Glenarden, in which women and men who handle their money well volunteer to mentor others who are having financial challenges. In 2010, Singletary was named Ministry Leader of the Year at First Baptist Church of Glenarden for her direction of Prosperity Partners and for her prison volunteer work through the ministry, in which she visits prisons to teach financial literacy to inmates.

She is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park, and The Johns Hopkins University, where she earned a master’s degree in business and management. Singletary and her husband reside in Maryland with their three children.

Community Award

The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®)

Presented by Dirck Hargraves, Esq., VOX Global

The National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) launched its first financial education program in 1984 and has been creating programs to help consumers better understand their finances ever since. Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE, accepted the Endowment’s Consumer Excellence Award

The Denver-based, nonprofit College for Financial Planning was established in 1972 as the nation’s first financial planning educational institution providing financial planning course work to professionals. At that time, the College also created the standard-setting CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification, which helped define the concept of financial planning and establish it as a profession.

The College grew, diversified, and advanced its interaction with the public over the next two decades. NEFE evolved from and served as the parent entity of College from 1992 to 1997. In 1997 the board and trustees recognized the importance of focusing the foundation’s efforts primarily on educating consumers—particularly those segments of the population whose needs were not being met by others. NEFE transferred ownership, sold its assets—including all of its professional education programs— to the Apollo Group, Inc and established NEFE as an independent, nonprofit foundation solely dedicated to educating consumers about personal finance.

Independently funded by its own endowment, which was established with proceeds from the 1997 sale of the College for Financial Planning’s assets (including a building and the rights to its professional education programs) NEFE is a noncommercial organization free from financial ties to other organizations. Additional growth and program funding is realized only through the interest, dividends and gains from the endowment’s own invested assets.

NEFE does not accept financial support from individuals, government or corporations, nor does it raise revenue through the sale of products or services; any financial growth is realized through investment of the endowment’s assets.

Regulatory Award

CFPB Consumer Education and Engagement Division

Award presented by Anna Flores, executive director of VALOR and a member of Consumer Action’s board of directors.

Gail Hillebrand, associate director for consumer education and engagement, accepted the CFPB award. Hillebrand brought with her six members of the division, who joined her on the podium in honor of the team award: James Minor, Patricia Avery, Ashley Gordon, William Sealy, Dan Rutherford and Nichole Chamberlain. The Consumer Education and Engagement Division contains six sections: the Office of Financial Education, the Consumer Engagement Office, Financial Empowerment (for special populations), the Office for Students, Servicemember Affairs and Older Americans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and effectively enforcing  those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. As part of the CFPB’s mission to empower consumers, the Consumer Education and Engagement Division creates opportunities for consumers to make better choices about money to reach their own life goals. The CEE Division does this by providing objective answers to commonly asked consumer questions through Ask CFPB; by helping consumers to identify the questions that they may wish to ask when making financial decisions in order to support big life goals, such as paying for college; and by spreading financial education services and financial capability programs to places where consumers go for other services, such as public libraries, social service agencies, and job training centers.  A centerpiece of the work with other community services is the Your Money, Your Goals program.

The CFPB’s Consumer Education and Engagement Division also is developing and implementing the Bureau’s program to enhance the opportunities for children in America to develop skills and habits in making choices about money, which includes offering resources for parents who want to talk to their kids about money; offering program resources for teachers who want to integrate money topics into K-12 education; and identifying ways for financial services providers to help young people build savings and take other steps in hands-on learning about money.  The six Offices in the Division of Consumer Education and Engagement are the Offices of Financial Education, the Consumer Engagement Office, and the offices addressing the needs of special populations, the Offices for: Students, Servicemember Affairs, Older Americans, and Financial Empowerment.

2014 Theme

The anniversary theme was “Training the Trainer,” to commemorate the outreach and training work Consumer Action does among community-based organizations (CBOs) and to honor the organizations who in turn carry the consumer literacy message far and wide in their own communities. In this way, Consumer Action “teaches one to reach thousands”—the slogan for this year’s event and our guide to selecting the 2014 honorees.

Throughout the year, Consumer Action’s train-the-trainer meetings bring together community group representatives to be trained by Consumer Action staff on how to use the organization’s extensive educational modules to teach community residents.

Consumer Action provides the materials and support to enable a grassroots network of close to 7,500 CBOs to deliver in-language consumer and personal finance education to low-income and underserved individuals and families across the country.

Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action’s executive director, pointed out, “By training these key stakeholders, Consumer Action reaches hundreds of thousands of consumers with the latest findings, news and solutions to issues that affect their finances, their work and their lives.”

Our staff has deep roots in low- and moderate-income communities from the East to West coasts, appearing regularly at local presentations and in the media outlets that serve these communities. The staff provides training and technical advice to our large network of community-based organizations and ensures that we provide them with up-to-date information on consumer rights and resources.

Click here to view a PDF of our 2014 annual program booklet.


Here is a full list of 43rd Anniversary Event supporters:

Facebook | Philip and Janice Levin Foundation | Visa

Ally Financial | American Express | Bank of America | Chase | Citi | Comcast | DirecTV | Fan Freedom | Global Cash Card | MyWireless.org | VantageScore | Verizon

Community Merchants USA | IDentity Theft 911 | Neil Gendel | Walmart

CAPA | DCI Group, LLC | Future of Privacy Forum | VOX Global

Amplify | Consumer Attorneys Public Interest Foundation | CUNA Mutual Group | Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP | James Beck | Mortgage Bankers Association | Norman Bock | Pastor Herrera Jr. | Western Union

Arnie Berghoff & Associates | Consumers First, Inc. | Consumers for Paper Options | Debbie Berlyn | Irene Leech | Martin Mattes (Nossaman LLP) | Patricia Sturdevant | Paul Bland | Pew Trusts


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