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Iowa State University Extension

Extension helps Iowans get ‘money smart’

'Money Smart' kids and Ben Franklin

For many folks, getting their financial life in order is at the bottom of their “to do” lists. To help them focus on this neglected goal, ISU Extension was part of Money Smart Week April 16–21 in Des Moines. Extension and dozens of local organizations joined together to improve the level of financial literacy in the Des Moines metro area. Extension’s contribution was a series of sessions for youth, women and men called Money Craze. Attendance was huge -- even Ben Franklin was there.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hatched the “Money Smart Week” theme to get people to focus for a short time on their financial activities. A large coalition of Iowans came together on this theme and created one of the most successful versions of Money Smart Week to date.

According to Margaret Van Ginkel, ISU Extension family resource management specialist, “The goal was to promote financial literacy education. I have not heard the total figures to date. However, I do know that the classes that Extension taught were well attended. More than 300 women attended my Women and Money sessions. We had capacity for 300, and three weeks before the session there had been 300 registered and more than 200 on a waiting list.” 

The programs were specially tuned to their audiences. Financial issues cut across both rural and urban Extension clients and are another example of the comprehensive effect ISU Extension can project. For more information about Money Smart Week or ISU Extension’s Money Craze program, contact Van Ginkel at (515) 727-0656 or

This article appeared in May 2007 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter