Fall Newsletter – Elder Financial Literacy: Prevention Through Education

Seniors learning Financial Literacy at seminar “It was worth a million dollars!!!” wrote one of 190 seniors who participated in an EFPN community education program presented in Fresno last month. This year alone, several thousand California seniors learned how elder financial abuse is perpetrated, how it can be prevented, and how it should be reported thanks to educational programs made possible by our sponsoring partners and foundation grants. Helen Karr, an elder abuse specialist in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, believes that elder financial literacy is critical in the fight against this crime. She became involved in EFPN seven years ago, after attending presentations by EFPN CEO and Executive Director, Jenefer Duane. Since then, she has given many talks of her own. “I came to the conclusion that there is more elder abuse than we have police officers or courts for. It’s a social and health problem. When their money is gone, it’s gone. It’s devastating and life threatening.” Helen was the recipient of EFPN’s 2007 Sentinel Award for her commitment to fighting elder abuse.

EFPN’s community education programs provide seniors with empowering education and financial institutions with the opportunity to reach out to elders in their communities. “We’re all about community education and prevention,” said Duane. “And now that financial institutions are mandated reporters, they want to invest in prevention.”

Bank of the West produced the Fresno event as well as programs in Fairfield and San Jose. The Northern California programs together drew an audience of 400, in large part because the bank went out of its way to identify its elder customers and inform them of the events. “The response rate was phenomenal. We were striking a chord; people want to know more,” said Roberta Wong Murray, Bank of the West’s Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications.

More partnership successes in elder education this year:

  • EFPN worked with Travis Credit Union in Solano County to present two programs for more than 200 seniors in partnership with local advocates.
  • In Contra Costa County, we worked in collaboration with Assembly Member Loni Hancock’s office produce financial literacy seminars for several hundred seniors with sponsorship support from Contra Costa Federal Credit Union.
  • Wells Fargo Bank provided $10,000 to support outreach efforts in Marin County.
    A $20,000 grant from the Bank of America Consumer Education Foundation provided much-needed operational support and made possible several additional Community Education programs, including a presentationto a group of deaf seniors in Walnut Creek and 100 members of the Sons In Retirement (SIRS) chapter in San Pablo.
  • In November, Far East National Bank and First Bank will co-sponsor a presentation — in Cantonese — for more than 100 elders at the Chinatown Service Center in downtown Los Angeles.
  • California National Bank is sponsoring a senior financial literacy event in Seal Beach that is expected to draw close to 100 participants.
  • Patelco Credit Union presented four community education events in San Francisco that were primarily geared to the Chinese-American community and presented in collaboration with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Be part of the solution by sponsoring an elder financial literacy program!

We make it easy by providing the keynote presentation, coordinating the venue, arranging appearances by local law enforcement and Adult Protective Services agencies, and providing comprehensive informational packets for the participants. For more information, call 415.956.5556.

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