Webster Bank Opens First CT-Based Finance Lab with Wakeman Boys & Girls Club

STAMFORD, Conn. - Webster Bank, together with Wakeman Boys & Girls Club, recently celebrated the opening of the Webster/Wakeman Boys & Girls Club Finance Lab, a program created to provide students the skills needed for financial empowerment and future financial well-being. The program is funded by a $100,000 grant from Webster and the Wakeman site is Webster’s first Finance Lab in Connecticut.

The Webster/Wakeman Finance Lab is part of a signature initiative designed to help Webster’s partners in low- to moderate-income (LMI) communities expand financial empowerment and improve financial literacy for youth. The grant funds will pay for programming with a dedicated instructor at Wakeman BGC’s newest Club. Located on Bridgeport’s Madison Avenue, the clubhouse is close to nine area schools, including Central High School, and will have the capacity to serve 2,000 youth ages 3 to 18.

Webster announced three additional Finance Lab locations earlier this year – two in Connecticut and one in southeastern Massachusetts – and expects to expand the initiative further in 2024.

“Webster is committed to investing in programs that broaden financial empowerment opportunities and help build our future workforce,” said Marissa Weidner, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Webster Bank. “We are thrilled to partner with Wakeman to provide Bridgeport youth the tools and resources to learn more about finance and prepare for a healthy financial future.”

“Wakeman Boys & Girls Club and the members we serve are grateful for the commitment from Webster Bank to invest in Bridgeport youth. With the guidance from Webster financial professionals, WBGC staff can continue to offer our members tools for a successful future,” said Sabrina Smeltz, CEO of Wakeman Boys & Girls Club.

Local and state dignitaries joined Webster leaders to officially open the program space housed on the first floor of the Club, which celebrated its Grand Opening in September. There is dedicated space for the Finance Lab that hundreds of students will have the opportunity to participate in financial literacy during after school and summer hours. The members will engage in hands-on learning opportunities including job shadowing, internships, and sessions with mentors from Webster Bank.

“The Madison Avenue Community Clubhouse opened on October 2, 2023 and having Webster’s financial empowerment programs for children, teens and families allows Wakeman to support the Bridgeport community in the most meaningful way,” said Carlos Collazo, Madison Avenue Community Clubhouse Unit Executive Director. Connecticut is one of 23 states that have mandated the completion of personal finance curriculum to graduate from high school. Of these states, six introduced these requirements in 2023.

According to Webster’s recently Financial Empowerment Study, an in-depth, independent report that examined financial challenges and literacy of consumers, just 27% of U.S. consumers report receiving any type of financial education in middle or high school. Those who received financial education in their middle and high school years are more likely to feel fully in control of their finances (49%) compared to those who did not receive any financial literacy courses (25%). The impact of these courses is clear and validates Webster’s commitment to support financial education by engaging in community partnerships.

Submitted by Fairfield, CT

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