Last month the Texas Financial Education Endowment (TFEE) – the first state-administered funding source for broad financial education and asset building services- announced its inaugural round of grants for eligible Texas entities. The Endowment, administered by the Finance Commission of Texas, was created by the 82nd Legislature as part of legislation (HB 2594) that made some basic reforms to payday and auto title lending. Each state-licensed payday and auto title lender is required to pay an annual assessment to the Endowment to support improved consumer credit, financial education and asset-building opportunities across the state.
Last month the Finance Commission made $250,000 in funds available for the Endowment’s inaugural biennial grant cycle, with grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $40,000. TFEE’s available grant funds are projected to double by its 2021 grant cycle as the endowment grows from annual assessments and investment returns and because of its statutory structure as an endowment.
Schools, governmental agencies, and for-profit and not-for-profit organizations that promote, provide, or support financial education or financial literacy initiatives will be eligible for grant awards through a competitive application and review process. However individuals or businesses licensed by, registered with, or regulated by the Finance Commission of Texas are not eligible to receive TFEE grant funds. For the first grant cycle, the endowment will prioritize funding programs that promote youth financial capability as well as adult financial capability and coaching. TFEE’s grantmaking guidelines and application are available on its website. The deadline to apply is October 15.
To help administer the grant program, the Finance Commission created the seven-member Grant Advisory Committee (GAC), which is advising and assisting in the development of new program policies and procedures and will also evaluate grant proposals. As CPPP’s OpportunityTexas Coordinator, I will be serving on this committee.
Since its creation, CPPP has been working with the Finance Commission to shape the Endowment in ways that maximize the fund’s potential. To expand the Endowment’s impact in the future, more state-regulated financial services entities could participate through an annual fee assessed by their state regulator. A fixed and ongoing assessment could go a long way towards improving credit scores, increasing college savings account holding, and enhancing K-12 financial education across the state. Overall, these activities are critical in expanding economic opportunity and increasing financial stability.