State Farm Awards the FCEE $25,000 to promote Financial Literacy

Posted on February 2, 2015 at 3:44 pm

SF Grant 2015 Press Release




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Suzanne Costanza



Florida Council on Economic Education Receives $25,000 Grant from State Farm

(TAMPA) – January 30, 2015 – The Florida Council on Economic Education (FCEE) received a $25,000 grant from State Farm in support of its mission to prepare Florida’s students for personal and financial success. The grant will be used specifically to sponsor professional development workshops for teachers around the state and the popular student competition, the Florida Stock Market Challenge (SMC).

Established more than 20 years ago, the Florida Stock Market Challenge gives K-12 students the opportunity to participate in an online investment simulation and manage a hypothetical $100,000 investment portfolio.  Students throughout the state compete for the best portfolio performance and are awarded prizes at the end of both the fall and spring semesters. This program is easily integrated into a variety of subject areas, including social studies, mathematics, and language art classes and is offered free of charge to all Florida teachers. Each May, the FCEE recognizes an outstanding Stock Market Challenge Advisor in its annual Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching Economics (GAP). Without this generous grant from State Farm, the FCEE would no longer be able to do so.

“We are thrilled State Farm has renewed its commitment to financial literacy education and the Florida Council,” said Suzanne Costanza, Director of Programs for the FCEE. “State Farm’s sponsorship means that literally thousands of students will have an opportunity to learn about our country’s financial markets and economic system through participation in this exciting simulation.”

“Evolving as global citizens, students become aware how the international news, business trends and personal wealth impact decision making – not only on a fiscal level, but also in every aspect of their lives,” said Jill Bloom, 2014 Stock Market Challenge Advisor of the Year and Upper School Mathematics Lab Teacher at Scheck Hillel Community School in Miami. “The kids see that gathering, sharing and acting on this information will lead to taking control of the paths that their lives with take.”

Read more about Jill and her incredible experience with the SMC below!

About State Farm®:

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About the Florida Council on Economic Education

The mission of the Florida Council on Economic Education is to prepare Florida’s young people for personal and financial success through educational programs in economics, the free enterprise system and personal financial literacy so that they become productive members of the workforce, responsible consumers and wise investors. The Florida Council on Economic Education is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is funded by leading corporations and individuals throughout the state.

The FCEE supports five Centers for Economic Education that train k-12 teachers in economics, entrepreneurship, personal finance and the free enterprise system. Professional development for teachers achieves an extraordinary multiplier effect, with every elementary teacher reaching 25-30 students each year and middle and high school teachers reaching 100-200 students each semester. Once trained, a teacher is able to integrate economics and personal finance lessons into his or her classroom for years, thus helping to make thousands of students economically and financially literate.

The Florida Council is an affiliate of the Council for Economic Education, the leading organization in the United States that focuses on the economic and financial education of students from kindergarten through high school.


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Jill’s Story

When Jill and her 9th grade students began playing the Stock Market Challenge in 1984, they used punch cards and weekly submissions to record their transactions on Commodore 64 Computers.  Students wrote their own BASIC programs to track their stocks and generate portfolios.  They couldn’t have imagined that 30 years later students would still be playing the game – but this time on mobile phones! As the world moved from snail mail to the internet, so has the competition, and students have embraced the technology and applied it well.  Jill said that when students are granted the privilege of taking their phones out in class, they truly stay on task – checking investments and calling on experts in the field.

Now, many of her former students are parents to current her students participating in the challenge, and they still recall fondly their time in the competition. Over the years, a number of students took this experience to their career choice.  Financial Advisors and Analysts that remember playing the game in class have come back and told Jill that the SMC is what got them started on their career path.

The SMC is marketed as usable in many subject areas – not just Finance or Economics – and Jill knows this truth better than anyone. She has facilitated the game via Social Studies, Computer Programming and Math courses.  Evolving as global citizens, her students have become aware of how the international news, business trends and personal wealth impact decision making…. not only on a fiscal level, but also in every aspect of their lives. The students see that gathering, sharing and acting on this information will lead to taking control of the paths that their lives with take.

Jill has utilized the SMC at all age levels. She has played the game with her students at the elementary, middle school and high school level and said that her high school students are proud to include their years of participation on the college applications.  Having seen how the Challenge motivates and excites these students, Jill expanded the program last year to include not just her classes, but also the newly formed Investment Club.

Our 2014 SMC Advisor of the Year isn’t done yet though. She says her teams are looking forward to taking on the Challenge again this spring. We look forward to watching her teams succeed for years to come.