The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and MasterCard International announced the launch of “El Arte de Construir un Futuro Financiero,” (the Art of Building a Financial Future), a community-based, financial education program created specifically for Latinos in the United States.
“By developing and distributing culturally relevant information about sound money management practices, we hope to realize a mission shared by both LULAC and MasterCard: empowering people to manage their money wisely,” said LULAC President Rick Dovalina. “As Latinos are fast becoming the largest minority in this country, LULAC is working to provide our population with the tools to build a stronger and more prosperous future. Achieving this goal is one of our highest priorities.”
LULAC district directors will be invited to become “El Arte de Construir un Futuro Financiero” community trainers. They will attend a training session, hosted by MasterCard and LULAC in June, to learn the program's financial management principles and how to organize and hold workshops in their own communities later this year. The trainers will receive support throughout the year to help implement the program, including an online help desk, a training guidebook, a slide
presentation, a brochure and resource lists.
As the nation's oldest and largest Hispanic organization, LULAC has an intimate understanding of the needs of Latinos in the United States. With its more than 700 councils, it has the reach to get these messages out into the community. With over a decade of experience in providing financial management educational programs, MasterCard has reached millions of consumers with information about smart money management.
“This program is a natural outgrowth of our long-standing commitment to consumer education,” said Catherine Cummings, Vice President of Public Affairs for MasterCard. “With LULAC taking the lead, MasterCard can deliver these messages to the Latino community in a meaningful way.”
To gather input from the community and to ensure that the program was relevant and useful to U.S. Hispanics, MasterCard and LULAC last year tested the program and its materials in three cities with a strong LULAC presence and a large Latino population: Chicago, Houston, and Anaheim, CA.
“The pilots were extremely successful,” Cummings said. “The level of interest in the program proved that our approach with the materials and community workshops was correct.”
“As a financial advisor and one of the trainers who tested the program, I found that Latinos trust leaders in their communities, and they recognize the LULAC name, so they are inclined to take our advice and benefit from this information,” said Thomas Sanchez, LULAC's Financial Advisor and an Account Vice President for UBS PaineWebber in
Houston, TX. “This program will also help to dispel myths about financial institutions, which is important to our community, since only about 63 percent in 1998 were taking advantage of financial services, compared to about 88 percent of the general population.”
The program focuses on the basics of money management: how to create a budget; how to establish a good credit history; and how to effectively use various financial tools, such as credit and debit. Also addressed are financial and cultural challenges that are specific to the Latino community. Designed strictly as a consumer education vehicle, the bilingual program and its materials carry no sales messages.
“In addition to the community workshops, we will also send the 'El Arte de Construir un Futuro Financiero' program brochures to all 700 LULAC Councils and to our 26,000 registered members across the US and Puerto Rico,” Dovalina said. LULAC will also include the brochure on its Web site and provide copies to two of its affiliated organizations:
LULAC National Educational Service Centers (LNESC), a national network of educational counseling centers, and SER Jobs for Progress, a national network of employment and training organizations.
Information featured in the program brochure can also be found at http://MasterCardenEspanol.com.