December 2013 Newsletter

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Register Now For Birdies for BestPrep!

U.S. Bank Selected as Humanitarian Award Winner

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For the past fifteen years, guests have come out in large numbers to support BestPrep at this fun and interactive event. Whether you are a golfer, silent auction aficionado, or simply love great food, Birdies for BestPrep is the event for you!

This year, we are proud to recognize U.S. Bank with BestPrep’s Humanitarian Award for its commitment to improving the education of Minnesota youth.

For the past 37 years, U.S. Bank has partnered with BestPrep to improve financial literacy and help students become college ready and career bound. It is evident that U.S. Bank cares deeply about the communities in which they do business and the people within those communities. That’s why their 66,000 employees volunteer their time and talents by teaching financial education courses, providing leadership to nonprofits, and providing support and service to individuals, businesses and civic partners.

U.S. Bank employees have volunteered with BestPrep since the mid-1970s, speaking in classrooms across the state. In fall 2005, employees began serving as email mentors to local high school students.  Since then, nearly 400 students have been impacted by the encouraging words of their mentors in the eMentors program alone.  In 2013 U.S. Bank launched BestPrep Career Day where 176 students had an opportunity to work directly with U.S. Bank representatives learning about emerging careers in the banking industry.

According to Jeannie Fichtel, U.S. Bank’s BestPrep Board Members, “Our partnership with BestPrep allows us to achieve our mission of supporting innovative programs that help low-income and at-risk students succeed in school and prepare for post-secondary education, by providing financial literacy training and effective mentoring programs.”


BestPrep salutes U.S. Bank as this year’s BestPrep Humanitarian Award recipient and we thank them for making a difference in the lives of youth. The award will be presented to U.S. Bank’s Chairman of the Board, Richard K. Davis at the Birdies for BestPrep event on January 25, 2014 at the International Market Square.

To learn more about Birdies for BestPrep, visit our website or contact event coordinator Ellie GalganoClick here to register now!



Jack Stahlmann to Address Financial Matters Volunteers


BestPrep’s first Financial Matters Ambassador’s speaker event of the year is Tuesday, January 14. The event features actor Jack Stahlmann, networking, lunch, laughter and learning. All are invited to join and learn more about volunteering with BestPrep’s Financial Matters program at this free event.

Jack, a Screen Actors Guild member and established film producer, spins funny and charming stories of failed auditions, hoodwinking Arnold Schwarzenegger and describes the “intangible it” that can take you from being a bit player to a superstar within your organization. To learn more about Jack visit

We hope you can join us to learn about ways to strengthen your personal brand and to have a bigger impact in every classroom you visit by volunteering with BestPrep. Donations are welcome to help cover the cost of lunch. Please RSVP to Caitlin Haugan at

BestPrep’s Financial Matters program is working to impact over 14,000 students this year. We need your help in spreading the word to potential new volunteers! If you know someone who might be interested in learning more about BestPrep we encourage you to bring them along to this event.


Wings Financial and School Space Media Support BestPrep

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This school year, BestPrep will reach a staggering 1.8 million local high school teachers, students, and sports fans through direct messaging at sporting events. This invaluable opportunity is provided by School Space Media, an interactive marketing company that displays electronic billboards at sporting events of 29 high schools throughout the Twin Cities metro area in 43 venues. BestPrep is able to change its messaging at various times during the school year to highlight relevant updates. Be sure to watch for BestPrep messaging on these electronic billboards at high school sporting events in your area! A special thank you to Wings Financial for sponsoring the messages.


Commissioner of Commerce Discusses the State of Education with BestPrep Board of Directors


Commissioner of Commerce Mike Rothman met with BestPrep’s Board of Directors in November to discuss the state of Financial Literacy Education in Minnesota. Under the leadership of Commissioner Rothman, the Commerce Department is responsible for consumer protection, regulation of financial service industries including insurance, state-chartered banks, credit unions, securities, and real estate.

Commissioner Rothman shared a story of visiting an elementary school to help students understand the importance of sound money management. He frequently visits schools to emphasize the importance of financial literacy.


The Stock Market GameTM Fall Winners Announced

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The results are in! More than 3,700 students gained hands-on investing experience by participating in The Stock Market GameTM(SMG) this fall. The first-place winners of the Fall session are:

  • Elementary (Grades 4-6): Sartell Middle School, Teacher: Lori Dornburg, Portfolio Value: $107,344.72
  • Junior High/Middle School (Grades 7-9): St. Helena Catholic School, Teacher: Jien Lindholm, Portfolio Value: $111,268.13
  • High School (Grades 10-12): South High School, Teacher: Richard Nohel, Portfolio Value: $140,592.94
Teams who placed in the top 3 places in each division will be honored at an awards ceremony later this winter. Congratulations to the winning teams!


Educators: Registration is now open for Spring (January 21-April 25) and Late Spring (March 17-May 23) sessions of The SMG. Minnesota schools can use The SMG for free this school year thanks to generous support from Wells Fargo Advisors,  Allianz Life, and RBC Wealth Management.


Register your classroom at Contact Program Manager Ann Benson with any questions.



eMentors Highlight: Owatonna High School

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January is National Mentoring month and BestPrep’s eMentors program is reaching further than ever.  A particularly noteworthy connection is with students who are a part of Owatonna Options, a program within Owatonna High School that lets students learn in workshops, seminars and mentorships, rather than traditional classrooms. Owatonna Options has been involved with eMentors since its creation in 2010. Now nearly 300 students have been mentored by professionals from Federated Insurance and Viracon in Owatonna, as well as United Health Group. The program has grown steadily with more than 50 students participating this fall.

“I must tell you what a wonderful learning experience this has been for both the students and me, ” said Val Rose, Owatonna Options Director. “The mentors shared such wonderful knowledge and have established such good relationships.”

Federated Insurance has long been interested in mentoring local students and were thrilled to have the opportunity through BestPrep.  The company has also worked with nearby Medford and Blooming Prairie High Schools. Students look forward to coming to Federated Insurance offices for the student/mentor Meet & Greet, which has adapted to accommodate the needs of the students through the years. These sessions traditionally include career panels, mock interviews, office tours and more.

To learn more about the eMentors program please visit our website or contact Program Manager Bonnie Vagasky.