Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL) records1963-2014
The Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL) is a nonprofit organization that promotes financial education and counseling for adults and children and has historically provided financial counseling, programs, and services. Founded in 2002, it sets the National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education, hosts the Annual Conference on Financial Education, presents the Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards, and administers financial certifications. This collection consists of the organization’s administrative files, records pertaining to the management and distribution of the EIFLE Awards, and a portion of the Library of Personal Finance. The records document its administrative activities from its founding through 2014. It presents a valuable resource to anyone researching the development and evolution of financial literacy education in the United States from the 1970s through the 2010s.
- Institute for Financial Literacy (Organization)
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The Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote effective financial education and counseling. It advances professionalism and effectiveness of financial literacy by setting the National Standards for Adult Financial Literacy Education, hosting the Annual Conference on Financial Education, and presenting the Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards. The IFL administers the Center for Financial Certifications (Fincert.org), Council on Financial Education Accreditation, and the Center for Consumer Financial Research. It also created and maintained the Library of Personal Finance from 2005 through 2016.
The Institute for Financial Literacy is based in Portland, Maine. In 2002, it was co-founded by Leslie E. Linfield, Esq. (1966-) and John C. Linfield, Esq. (1972-); both have served as executive directors. Leslie Linfield is an authority on adult financial literacy education and consumer finance issues. As a banker, stockbroker, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing counselor, certified consumer credit counselor, and practicing attorney, she has conducted presentations on budgeting and consumer credit. She has authored books, research reports, and articles. Linfield attended Charter Oak State College in Connecticut and New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. She also holds professional certifications as a consumer credit counselor and a Personal Family and Finance Educator.
John C. Linfield has served as the Institute for Financial Literacy Chairman of the Board of Directors. He has held roles as a non-profit executive, a university fundraising professional, adjunct professor of business law, and a practicing attorney. He attended Norwich University in Vermont and New England School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. He also holds a professional certification as a Personal and Family Finance Educator from the American Association of Family and Consumer Services.
The Institute for Financial Literacy expanded significantly in 2005. During the 2000s and early 2010s, it offered credit counseling and bankruptcy consultations, developed financial literacy education programs, published the National Standards in Adult Financial Literacy Education, and partnered with non-profit educational and governmental agencies on various initiatives. In 2005, the Institute founded the Library of Personal Finance, with a stated mission to “preserve the accumulated knowledge of consumer financial products, services and education by maintaining a physical collection of materials related to these fields.” Opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 12, the Library of Personal Finance was marketed as the first national library of its kind, which would collect and catalog books, texts, journals, computer programs, and other materials pertaining to adult personal financial education to serve researchers, academics and government entities. Its collection was bolstered significantly in 2011 by the estate of the recently deceased Richard McDermott, Sr. (1928-2011), who bequeathed a large portion of his personal library of financial and economical materials, including books, booklets, reference guides, manuals, personal notes, and a variety of documents dealing with stocks, bonds, securities, commodities and the “inner working” of Wall Street.
In 2006 the Institute for Financial Literacy established the Center for Financial Certifications, which was rebranded in 2013 as Fincert.org. Today Fincert.org serves as the premier certifying body for financial educators and counselors by administering courses and professional certifications to professionals and trained volunteers who provide consumer financial products, services, and education. As of 2021, Fincert.org provides five different certifications: Certified Personal Finance Counselor (CPFC), Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF), Certified Consumer Debt Specialist (CCDS), Certified Consumer Receivables Counselor (CCRC), and Certified Residential Housing Counselor (CRHC).
In 2007 the Institute for Financial Literacy initiated the Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards. It began organizing the Annual Conference on Financial Education, where the EIFLE Award recipients are usually announced. The establishment of the EIFLE Awards supported a mission to promote the effective delivery of consumer financial products, services, and education by acknowledging the accomplishments of those that advance financial literacy education. The awards are distributed yearly to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional innovation, dedication, and commitment to the field of financial literacy. The awards are given in multiple categories, which have changed over the years but have frequently included Book of the Year, Curricula or Educational Programs for adults and children, Educator, Instructional Game, and For-Profit and Not For Profit Organizations. Many categories possess sub-categories so that multiple awards may be granted in a single category in a specific year.
The Annual Conference on Financial Education took place each fall (2007-2010) and then each spring (2011-2014) for two or three days and has continued annually as of 2021. Its purpose is to promote the effective delivery of consumer financial products, services, and education by hosting a national event for professionals providing these services. It has served as a showcase for financial education success stories, offering attendees strategies, tips, and techniques to achieve intended outcomes, funding goals, and program sustainability. Its attendees include professionals representing credit unions, banks, K-12 education, higher education, social services, debt management, government, military, and other related industries. A majority of attendees are from the United States.
The Institute for Financial Literacy continues to operate as of 2021.
The Institute for Financial Literacy records are arranged in three series, each further arranged in subseries. The files of each subseries are arranged alphabetically, with the exception of Series I: Subseries B, C and E, which are arranged chronologically. The arrangement of the collection into three series follows original order determined from the grouping of records as they were packed and transmitted from the Institute for Financial Literacy. Beyond the series level, the arrangement scheme for the collection was imposed during processing.
Scope and Contents
The Institute for Financial Literacy records documents its administrative activities from its founding in 2002 through 2014. It presents a valuable resource to anyone researching the development and evolution of financial literacy education in the United States from the 1970s through the 2010s. The collection includes materials such as curricula, booklets, and various educational activities aimed at teaching personal financial management skills for specific groups, including women, children, young adults, families, those experiencing poverty or financial hardships, and adults with limited knowledge of financial concepts such as credit, loans, bankruptcy, and investments. It also includes research - both compiled from other sources and studies conducted by the IFL- regarding the implementation and efficacy of financial literacy education initiatives as well as related government policies and public school curricula. The collection is arranged in three series: Administrative records, Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards records, and Library of Personal Finance.
The Administrative records series consists of materials generated to support the IFL's functions and document its activities from 2002 through 2014. It is arranged in six subseries: IFL publications; IFL press and marketing materials; Annual Conference on Financial Education (ACFE) records; IFL state licenses; Credit counseling and debt settlement research; and Non-IFL organizations materials.
IFL publications subseries comprises materials published or generated by the IFL or co-founder Leslie Linfield and related drafts, research, and correspondence. It includes a group of "Guide To…" pamphlets published between 2004 and 2010, several bankruptcy demographic reports, proposals, and outlines for courses administered by the IFL, different versions and drafts of national standards and best practices, and training manuals created for the Center for Financial Certifications (Fincert.org). This subseries is arranged alphabetically by the title of the materials and dates from 2003 to 2013.
IFL press and marketing materials subseries contains numerous press releases, materials promoting the IFL's programs and conferences, the EIFLE Awards, news articles, web page printouts, blog posts, and interviews that feature or mention the IFL. It includes promotional materials for many of the certifications offered by the Center for Financial Certifications (Fincert.org), credit counseling courses, the IFL's Annual Conference on Financial Education, Financial Literacy Day in Maine, and a variety of other community programs and online initiatives. The materials date from 2003 to 2013 and are arranged chronologically.
The Annual Conference on Financial Education (ACFE) records subseries contains documents generated by IFL staff to plan and conduct its conferences. The records include speaker introductions, schedules, agendas, presentations, remarks, registration lists, correspondence, orders and receipts, travel itineraries, to-do lists, and participant surveys. It is arranged chronologically by conference year from 2007 to 2014.
IFL state licenses subseries consists of correspondence, legislation, background research, and applications relating to the IFL's licensing requirements to operate as debt adjusters and credit counselors in individual states. There are files for thirty-seven states with documentation dating from 1998 to 2010. The files are labeled by state name and arranged alphabetically.
The Credit counseling and debt settlement research subseries contains large quantities of research compiled by IFL staff in response to changing federal policies and regulations regarding tax exemptions for organizations (such as the Institute for Financial Literacy) that grant credit counseling services. It includes printouts of various federal policies, correspondence between the IFL and the Internal Revenue Service, documentation regarding the revocation of 501(c)(3) status to numerous companies in the United States, and research regarding debt relief services. Research date from 1963 to 2013 and arranged chronologically by the earliest creation date of items in each file.
The final subseries, Non-IFL organizations materials, consists of files compiled by the IFL that document relevant activities and undertakings of other organizations, programs, events, and government directives that are not administered by or directly related to the Institute for Financial Literacy. Files are arranged alphabetically and date from 1988 to 2013.
The Excellence in Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards records series pertains to the IFL's management and distribution of the EIFLE Awards from 2007 to 2014. It includes applications, submission forms, questionnaires, supporting documentation (submitted by applicants), judging forms, and notes by IFL staff members. The series is arranged into subseries based on award year, maintaining the original arrangement of the IFL. Likewise, the files, which divide winners and non-winners and sometimes distinguish individuals or groups of award categories, also follow the original order. Some files contain complete submission packages, while others are incomplete. Some materials submitted for award consideration are also included in the Library of Personal Finance, particularly educational materials and books that won the EIFLE Awards.
The final series, Library of Personal Finance, represents a portion of the materials amassed and maintained by the IFL as a research collection pertaining to personal finance education for researchers, academics, and government entities. Created in 2005, the Library contains financial literacy materials dating from 1970 to 2013. The Library documents the evolution and development of financial literacy programs and initiatives in the United States for over four decades. Many materials target specific groups such as women, children, young adults, families, those experiencing poverty or financial hardships, and adults with limited knowledge of financial concepts such as credit, loans, bankruptcy, and investments. The series is arranged in four subseries: Curricula, instructional and pedagogical materials; Conferences, symposia, and meeting records; Research papers, reports, and findings; and Audiovisual materials.
Curricula, instructional, and pedagogical materials subseries make up the bulk of the entire collection and consist of records that instruct, guide, educate or train non-specialists, and professional educators in various aspects of financial literacy and money management. This subseries includes curricula for formal or self-guided courses, lesson plans, teacher guides, training manuals, workshop plans, consumer guides, handouts/handbooks, workbooks, and resource guides. The authors of the materials are a range of non-profit organizations, government organizations, for-profit entities such as banks and mortgage companies, public and private school systems, and individuals with a wide range of professional backgrounds and expertise. The curricula date from 1970 to 2013 and are arranged alphabetically by title.
The subseries Conferences, symposia, and meeting records subseries include agendas, proceedings, abstracts, presentations, programs, and promotional materials for various professional association meetings. The records date from 1982 to 2010 and are arranged alphabetically.
The subseries Research papers, reports, and findings are arranged alphabetically by title. The research dates from 1979 to 2012.
The final subseries, Audiovisual materials, consists of personal financial management instruction recorded on videocassettes, sound cassettes, videodiscs (DVD), and CD-ROMs. It contains lectures, instructional programs, and interactive computer tutorials, lessons, and games aimed at adults, young adults, or children. The materials date from 1987 to 2011 and are arranged in alphabetical order.
These records are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at firstname.lastname@example.org
Series I: 25-year time seal from the date of creation due to privacy/security reasons.
Reference staff may remove items from files in Series I or II during research appointments due to personally identifiable information.
Copyright restrictions may apply.
About 1300 published books and instructional activity kits such as board games are located in the Published Collections Department. These can be found in Hagley's online library catalog by searching “Library of Personal Finance from the Institute for Financial Literacy.”
- Institute for Financial Literacy (Organization)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Institute for Financial Literacy (IFL) records
- Anna Juliar
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