As Economic Forecast Darkens, Tens of Thousands Take Action to Improve Finances
Washington, DC – In one of the country’s largest savings initiatives, the second annual America Saves Week reached millions of Americans to promote better savings habits. Hundreds of organizations, including every military service branch, several government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, major non-profits and companies participated in educating and encouraging action amongst members, staff and customers.
“The number one idea behind America Saves Week was to ask individuals to stop and assess their financial situation, find out where they can make improvements, and take action to save more effectively,” said Ken McDonnell, program director for American Savings Education Council.
“We know that with support and encouragement, people can and will improve their savings habits,” said Nancy Register, director of America Saves. “That’s why we’re delighted by the results of America Saves Week.”
Over the course of America Saves Week, conducted Feb. 24 – March 2, 2008:
- More than 600 hundred organizations, agencies, financial institutions, non-profits and companies participated by reaching out to employees, customers, members or the general public;
- Over 75,000 people attended over 1,800 events;
- Over 25,000 enrolled as “Savers” through America Saves or affiliated local Saves campaigns, or took the Military Saves Pledge;
- Over half a million people saw information about America Saves Week on the web;
- Millions were reached through press in major markets including Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, among many others;
- A new website, www.AmericaSavesWeek.org, provided info and advice to individuals and organizations; and,
- Saves Week was recognized with a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, sponsored by Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), proclamations by the Governors of Tennessee and Washington, and other county and mayoral proclamations and statements of support.
Some highlights include the following:
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service had educators in nearly 30 states participate in the Week, reaching an estimated 6 million youth and adults during America Saves Week through the media, web presence, advertising, mail and direct contact. In Florida and Utah, extension agents planned events in every county.
- WorldatWork, an association of human resource professionals, offered one-on-one financial counseling to employees and promoted the week in publications and on its website, which are read by more than 30,000 employees and customers.
- The Federal Reserve Board offered daily savings tips to employees, and made savings publications available in lobbies and cafeterias. Over 50,000 employees were reached.
- Several state agencies participated, including the Washington State Department of Retirement Services, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System, and the Ohio Treasurer. Activities ranged from promoting workplace savings programs to offering events and financial counseling.
- Over 30 local organizations spear-headed Saves Week campaigns, including North Carolina Saves, which enrolled over 2,500 new Savers, and Cleveland Saves, which had over 700 people attend events.
- More than 200 military banks and defense credit unions accepted millions of dollars in savings deposits. In order to spur savings, many of these institutions offered new savings products like match gifts or special savings rates.
America Saves is a national initiative in which 1,000 organizations encourage and assist Americans, especially lower-income households, to save and build wealth. ASEC is the leading voice on promoting the issues of saving and retirement planning in America today. The Council brings together public and private-sector partners to share information on best practices and to collaborate on financial security initiatives.