Updated: March 2019

43rd anniversary fundraiser (2014)

Consumer Action supporters gathered on Oct. 21, 2014 at Google’s new DC digs to celebrate the organization’s 43rd anniversary. This was the fourth year that the annual fundraising event and Consumer Excellence Awards ceremony has been held in Washington, DC.

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.

Ted Beck, president and CEO of NEFE, was on hand to accept the Endowment’s Consumer Excellence Award. Dirck Hargraves, Esq., senior vice president of VOX Global and a member of Consumer Action’s corporate advisory board, presented the NEFE award.

Gail Hillebrand, associate director for consumer education and engagement, accepted the CFPB award, presented by Anna Flores, executive director of VALOR and a member of Consumer Action’s board of directors. (VALOR, or “Veterans Assistance for Learning, Opportunity and Readiness,” is a financial empowerment program.)

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.

Jason Alderman, a vice president at Visa Inc. who runs the company’s global financial literacy program, presented the award to Washington Post columnist Singletary. Alderman said that even when Singletary was criticizing his industry he enjoyed her direct, sensible style. The author of three personal finance books, Singletary stepped up to the podium and entranced the audience with a folksy speech about balancing the demands of her writing, home and family, and her church, where she founded the Prosperity Partners Ministry, a financial literacy program. Her speech included references to a much-loved financial role model, her late grandmother “Big Mama.”

Michelle Singletary, a recipient of the 2014 Consumer Excellence Award at Consumer Action’s 43rd anniversary event in late October, wowed the crowd with her plain-spoken advice on managing one’s finances. (Stephen Baranovics photo)


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.

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.

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

Amazon | AT&T | Consumer Relations Consortium | Microsoft | Time Warner Cable

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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