The Puelicher Center for Banking Education at the Wisconsin School of Business is among organizations being honored for excellence in promoting financial literacy among Wisconsin citizens. The Puelicher Center is a winner of the 2010 Governor’s Financial Literacy Award from Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle’s Council on Financial Literacy.
The Puelicher Center is being recognized for its efforts helping low-income residents file tax returns and taking advantage of other financial opportunities. The effort was supported by a grant from the Investor Protection Trust, based in Washington, DC.
Thanks to an initiative of the center, tax preparation volunteers this year will work with more than 500 clients in the Madison area. The service is available to those who earned less than $49,000 in 2009 and is offered at several employers and at UW Credit Union branches for employees of certain companies and non-profits, in addition to parents of students at Emerson Elementary School in Madison.
Many of the more than 40 volunteers involved are students from UW-Madison and Madison Area Technical College. According to John Hoffmire, who directs the initiative, on average people earning $8 an hour have seen their take home income rise 3 percent because of credits and other advantages they may have missed in the past. The initiative has helped create financial literacy training programs for more than 80 credit unions. And another part of the Puelicher Center’s project has helped launch 25 businesses—many of them in the Milwaukee area.
The tax preparation services also provide a valuable training exercise for students, many of whom will go on to careers in accounting or other work with clients. Students receive training in using tax-preparation software.
Since the program began six years ago, volunteers have helped more than 21,000 low-income people complete their tax forms for free or for reduced fees.
The 2010 Governor’s Financial Literacy Awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Executive Residence in March.
The Puelicher Center offers a comprehensive program focusing resources on banking research and the education of banking professionals. It supports undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered by the school’s Department of Finance, Investment, and Banking tailored to careers in the financial services sector. It also serves as a resource for the banking industry.