Member Spotlight: Wells Fargo

wfOur spotlight light Jump$tart member for July is Wells Fargo, represented by a very active member Erin Gjerde,  Wells Fargo is The Des Moines Metro’s largest private employer with over 14,000 people working on their several Des Moines Area campuses.  Wells Fargo is the third largest Financial institution in the US. Wells Fargo’s headquarters are located in San Francisco.

It is totally appropriate to greet Erin Gjerde with “Aloha!”  She and her husband own a farm in Hawaii.  Erin places high value on education, she was born and raised in Amery, Wisconsin by 2 teachers.  Her mother taught 8th grade English and her father taught high school art.  She has two brothers, one of which is also a teacher.

Erin attended Concordia College in Moorhead, MN and graduated in 1988.  From there she began working in higher education at the University of St. Thomas Financial Aid office.  In 1996, Norwest Bank needed a student loan manager for Iowa and Missouri, so she moved down to Des Moines to begin her career with Norwest, now Wells Fargo.  Next month she will celebrate 20 years with the company.

Erin is married and has a grown stepson and stepdaughter.  Her husband is a retired marine and has owned Bailey Roofing Contractors for 27 years.  Her step son lives here in Des Moines and her stepdaughter lives in Oregon and is married with a daughter Claire and a son Reece. She is looking forward to taking them (they are 8 and 10) to the Iowa State Fair when they visit in August.

Erin and her husband live outside of Norwalk on 25 acres and have a rescue dog named Crystal.  

As mentioned, In 2011, they purchased a 6 acre coffee and avocado farm in Kona, Hawaii.  Her husband was stationed in Hawaii when he was in the marines and lived there after he got out for many years.  Their farm is at about 1000 feet and a 5 minute drive from the shore.  They have also added other fruits and crops to our farm such as papaya, mangos, white pineapples, tangelos, Tahitian limes, apple bananas and macadamia nuts.  As you can imagine they absolutely love going there!  

In her spare time she likes to garden, read, sing, golf, run and arrange flowers.  She has run 5 half marathons, one was with my stepdaughter at the Princess Disney World half marathon – they wore Tutu’s and tiaras! She also had the honor to sing with a choir and orchestra at the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at the Lincoln Center in New York City she loves to travel and has visited 44 states.

August 5, 2016 at 10:25 am

Learn About Free Classroom Tools for Teaching About Money

money smart news


Two upcoming informational sessions can help you learn how Money Smart for Young People is an easy way to teach about money!

On Wednesday, August 3 and Thursday, August 4, 2016, at 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, join the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Jump$tart Coalition for two webinars that introduce free tools for teaching key lessons about money to children from Pre-K to Grade 12. The webinars will discuss the Money Smart for Young People curriculum series and offer ideas on how to use it. Each session also will feature insights from those who have used Money Smart and an opportunity to interact with speakers.

The same information will be presented on both days so you can pick the time that works best for you.

August 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

16th Annual Iowa Jump$tart Educators Conference Provides Wealth of Resources for Iowa Teachers

Iowa Jump$tart President Mary Sandvig welcomes attendees to the Educators Conference.

Iowa Jump$tart President Mary Sandvig welcomes attendees to the Educators Conference.

Approximately 90 Iowa teachers and business professionals attended Iowa Jump$tart’s annual Conference for Financial Literacy June 22 at DMACC’s FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny. The conference, titled “Financial Literacy Starts with You,” provided teachers with a wealth of resources and tools to take back to the classroom for their financial literacy educational programs.

Iowa Jump$tart President Mary Sandvig (Iowa Division of Banking) welcomed conference attendees, noting that this year marked the 16th anniversary of the conference. She reflected on what financial responsibility was like at the age of 16, and how everyone has a responsibility to take care of their financial literacy. “Thank you for coming to day to take information bank to your classrooms to make a difference,” said Sandvig.

Morgan Fannon reads her winning 2016 Money Smart Kid essay.

Morgan Fannon reads her winning 2016 Money Smart Kid essay.

Money Smart Week Essay Contest Winner

Sandvig also provided an updated on Money Smart Week, a financial literacy effort sponsored by Iowa Jump$tart that takes place each April. This year, Sandvig reported, Money Smart Week events across the state reached over 20,000 people. One of those events is the annual Money Smart Week essay contest, sponsored by the Iowa Bankers Association. She also introduced the 2016 Money Smart Kid Essay contest winner, Morgan Fannon of Edgewood-Colesburg Senior High School, and her teacher Jodi Ehlers.

Ehlers encouraged attendees to work with local bankers to identify free financial literacy resources. “If you don’t have a relationship with your local banker, make one. You won’t believe how much easier your life becomes when you have them on your team,” said Ehlers. Then Fannon read her winning essay with the group.

Carla Madson provides a report on the 2015 National Educators Conference.

Carla Madson provides a report on the 2015 National Educators Conference.

2015 National Conference Report
Teachers receiving last year’s Iowa Jump$tart scholarships to the National Educators Conference provided a report on the conference. Those teachers reporting included Carla Madson (Urbandale), Jen Snyder (Colfax Mingo), and April Moffitt (Emmetsburg)

Mitch Matthews

Mitch Matthews

Opening Keynote: Is Your Hair on Fire?
Mitch Matthews provided an engaging opening keynote about tacking stress and worry. “Money dominates the top 10 list of what people worry about. To help people manage their money better, we have to address worry,” said Matthews. He then provided tips for training your brain and redirecting your thinking to those things you can control and influence – and letting go of those things you cannot.

Breakout Sessions
Nine different breakouts sessions were offered throughout the day on a variety of topics, including: NEFE’s High School Financial Program Planning (Billy Hensley), Life Skills: Finances – Making it Fresh and Fun (Sarah O’Rourke), Three Things Your Kids Must Know to Be a Financial Success (Jim Garnett), Iowa Council for Economic Education (Kyle Osborne), How to Become a Wise and Efficient Investor (Mike Finley), Gamification of Personal Finance (Jenna Nation), Financial Literacy for Underrepresented, First Generation Students (Allison Severson, Kay Thomas, and Kristen Corey), Family Budget Simulation (Todd Hospodarsky) and Keeping It Real: Borrowing Responsibly for College (Marc Hendel).

Todd Hospodarsky

Todd Hospodarsky

Sarah O’Rourke

Sarah O’Rourke



Mike Finley

Mike Finley

Marc Hendel

Marc Hendel

Kyle Osborne

Kyle Osborne

Jim Garnett

Jim Garnett

Jenna Nation

Jenna Nation

Billy Hensely

Billy Hensely

Lunch Keynote: Applicable Research on Financial Education
Billy Hensley of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) provided an update on using research to help understand and address personal finance issues. He shared research had conducted on Millennials, including trends in their financial habits and issues of concern.

Educators also had the opportunity to visit with more than a dozen exhibitors to learn about additional financial literacy resources available.






LunchKeynote-BillyHensley5Closing Keynote: Finding Free, High Quality Personal Finance Resources
Tim Ranzetta from Next Gen Personal Financial provided an informative closing address on the numerous financial literacy resources available through his organization. Attendees were given a virtual tour of those resources, including lesson plans, activities, projects, case studies, assessments and more, available on their website at

NationalConferenceScholarshipWinners2016 National Conference Scholarship Winners
Sandvig announced the winners of Iowa Jump$tart scholarships to the 2016 National Educators Conference Nov. 5-7 in Dallas, Texas. Winners were: Debbie Claussen (Pleasant Valley High School, Bettendorf), Jennifer Anderson (Treynor High School, Treynor), Kristy Nickolisen (Abraham Lincoln High School, Council Bluffs), Tia Shaffer (Independence Community School District, Arlington), and JoEtt Cogdill (Woodbine High School, Woodbine).

Craig Goettsch receives Jump$tart membership award

Craig Goettsch receives Jump$tart membership award

Iowa Jump$tart Member Award
Craig Goettsch of the Iowa Insurance Division was presented with Iowa Jump$tart’s second annual member award for his service with the coalition. or. Craig has served as Iowa JumpStart secretary for more than 10 years, and continues to lead JumpStart’s membership committee.
Craig has been actively involved in nearly every JumpStart initiative, including funding programs, speaking, serving on committees, being an officer, drafting policies and by-laws, and providing counsel. He has been a leader and advocate for all of JumpStart’s annual conferences for teachers and for the annual Money Smart Week Iowa.

June 23, 2016 at 11:30 am

Callanan Middle School Wins Money Smart Geo Cache Contest

JumpStart WinnerThe winners of this year’s Geo Cache Money Smart Week event were Gloria Brott and her student Kole Rover from Callanan Middle School in Des Moines. The event focused on helping students gain knowledge about being safe while shopping online. Gloria will receive $100 and Kole $25 from Jump$tart. Gloria is an family and consumer sciences teacher at Callanan. Forty-seven teachers enrolled and 180 students participated in the contest, which was held during Money Smart Week on April 23-30. Iowa AAFCS sponsored this project last Fall and again this Spring.

May 27, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Teacher and counselor resource to help “first generation” students planning for college

First Generation is a powerful resource for teachers and counselors helping “first generation” students planning for college. This film features the real-life stories of “first generation” students, and would make a great “end of year” film to screen for students.

Here’s what one school counselor had to say about the film:

“The film prompted numerous conversations with students. It was beneficial for them to see peers that were going through the process and seeing the struggles. The thing that I wasn’t expecting was the impact on teachers and counselors. I think that it was eye opening for them to see what first generation students really encounter. I had one counselor share that she was surprised by the number of students under-selecting. It is something that happens at our Title One high school often. Counselors and teachers don’t always realize the role that they play in that. The film is extremely powerful!”

First Generation is now streaming free at!

May 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm

GeoCache for College Cash Winner

Caleb_MoneySmartGeoCacheWinner2016Caleb Anderson from Luther College was the winner of a $1000 prize to go directly toward tuition (sponsored by Iowa Jump$tart Coalition)!  Congratulations!

“GeoCache for College Cash” is a Money Smart Week Iowa program that takes place at several college campuses across the state of Iowa in April.  About 1,000 students played on Iowa college campuses during the 2016 Money Smart Week.  The contest consists of seven posters, each focused on one personal finance topic and each displaying a unique QR code. Students read the posters, use a smart phone/tablet to scan the QR codes, and access quiz questions (multiple-choice). Answers are recorded for each player, logged via a player provided email.

May 13, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Member Spotlight: Iowa Student Loan

IowaStudentLoanWe would like to recognize the Iowa Student Loan as our current Member Spotlight.  Iowa Student Loan was established in 1979 as a private, nonprofit corporation, to help Iowa students and families obtain the resources necessary to succeed in post-secondary education. To date, Iowa Student Loan has helped nearly 400,000 students pay for college.

Iowa Student Loan’s nonprofit community reinvestment efforts provide more than $100,000 in scholarships and 529 savings plan deposits annually.  Iowa Student Loan also offers private student loans for students who have exhausted other sources of aid, and reinvests funds in programs to benefit students and borrowers.

Based in West Des Moines, Iowa Student Loan and its subsidiary employ more than 200 people and manages $2.6 billion in student loans. The organization is self-funded and self-capitalized. It is governed by a board of directors, appointed by the governor of Iowa.

This member of the Iowa Jump$tart coalition is represented by Megan Garrett.  Megan has been with Iowa Student Loan as a Corporate Communications and Media Relations Administrator for almost two years.  Part of her efforts have resulted in a much greater social media presence for Iowa Student Loan including launching their first blog that now includes submissions from other Iowa nonprofits, some of which are fellow Jump$tart members.  Iowa Student Loan also now utilizes video and recently finished production of a second set of Student Loan Pro Tip videos promoting responsible student borrowing and financial literacy.  Previously, Megan was a PR Specialist for Lake Regional Health System at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.  In addition to Jump$tart, Megan helps represent Iowa Student Loan through its partnership with the I Have a Dream Foundation

Megan, who is a native Iowan, from Stuart, found happiness, a degree, and a husband at Northwest Missouri State University.  Her husband Derek played on the Bearcat football team that started the incredible run of championship appearances NWMSU has enjoyed.   They have a very cute darling 8 month old daughter named Emmie.

In her (seriously?!?) spare time, she teaches preschool- 2nd grade dance classes, works on restoring their 1890 home in Adel, and attends Bearcat and Chiefs football;  and Royals baseball games.  She’s big fan of music and attending concerts like Garth Brooks and Dave Matthews and you can follow her on Pinterest!

You may find more about this member at:

May 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

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