Bringing a message of the importance of financial education to youth and community leaders

(BPT) - How do you identify future leaders? Is it GPA? Test scores? Another metric? There are all kinds of formulas to predict who among the nation’s youth will become our country's leaders. But trying to decipher them can leave you lost in a sea of analytics.

Fortunately, there’s an easier way to discover those who will set the bar in the years ahead. It’s students and leaders who are applying a creative approach to help uplift their communities. These students are developing a unique set of skills that combine the power of sport, financial literacy and leadership development to help create a winning formula for the success of our future leaders.

In support of this innovative approach, MUFG, a global financial institution, has made a multi-year commitment to support Laureus, a global nonprofit organization that uses sport as a force for good. As part of its support, MUFG Union Bank foundation participated as a Bronze sponsor at this year’s Laureus Youth Leadership Summit, which took place in Los Angeles this past July 8-9.

At the event, more than 200 youth and leaders from across the U.S. gathered to share insights about the best ways to design youth-serving programs. The findings discovered during this conference were then made available for attending youth to take back to their communities to help create positive change.

The convergence of sport, financial literacy and youth leadership were highlights of the two-day Summit. MUFG, which is the parent company of Union Bank, had an opportunity to shine the spotlight on an initiative that sets them apart from many of their industry peers, student-run bank branches inside high schools.

Financial education and youth empowerment are part of the foundation’s Stewardship and Sustainability strategic initiatives, and therefore the Laureus Youth Summit was a perfect partnership for the MUFG Union Bank Foundation.

Real-world skills put into practice

In 2011 the Fresno Unified School District, in partnership with MUFG Union Bank, opened the doors to its very first student-run bank. The branch was inside McLane High School in Fresno, California — a region where poverty and dropout rates among high school students continue to be high. The branch was the first student-run bank of its kind west of the Mississippi River and since that initial creation, four more student-run branches have opened in high schools around Southern California, in predominantly low-to-moderate income communities. Each of these branches offers students the opportunity to learn lifelong money management skills by working in the bank and by sharing what they learn with fellow students and their communities.

In fact, recent graduates from Lincoln High School, along with incoming student bankers from Crenshaw and El Monte, attended the Summit and presented a Financial Literacy workshop to youth attending the conference.

Financial education, a catalyst for positive change

Teaching the next generation of leaders about responsible money management isn’t just a lofty aspiration, it’s essential for helping develop future leaders. But for the skills learned to be fully practiced and ingrained in young people, education alone is not enough. Future leaders must be allowed a place to put these principles into practice every single day. Instead of focusing on formulas and trying to predict who might grow up to be a leader, you could simply look at who is leading now. The world leaders of tomorrow are often those leading in their high schools today. They are the captains of their sports teams, the valedictorians of their graduating classes and they are active in extracurricular programs from athletics to a math league to those that teach financial education.

“MUFG Union Bank supports The Laureus Foundation in its belief that sport has the power to develop and nurture young leaders,” said Julius Robinson, MUFG Union Bank Managing Director and Group Head Corporate Social Responsibility for the Americas. “MUFG Union Bank is pleased to support the Laureus Youth Summit here in Los Angeles, and we are even more excited to be able to share this opportunity with some of our incoming and graduate student bankers from our student-run branches in Southern California.”

To learn more about MUFG Union Bank’s corporate social responsibility efforts and financial education, visit https://www.unionbank.com/Images/CSR-Annual-Report.pdf. You can also follow Laureus Sport for Good USA on Instagram to see highlights of this Summit and follow future events.

2019 MUFG Union Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC.

Union Bank is a registered trademark and brand name of MUFG Union Bank, N.A. unionbank.com

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