Press Releases

For Immediate Release
April 09, 2009 Contact: Charles Evenson

Harvard Names DFI’s Office of Financial Literacy One of Top 50 Innovations in Government

OFL Advances in Competition for 2009 Top Award

(Madison) The Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has named Governor Doyle’s DFI Office of Financial Literacy (OFL) to its 2009 list of Top 50 Innovations in Government. The Top 50 serves as the pool from which the Harvard Kennedy School will ultimately select winners of 2009 Innovations in American Government Awards. The next step will be an announcement of finalists on May 18. The process culminates with the announcement of six winners in September.

The Top 50 programs underwent rigorous rounds of evaluation by policy experts and practitioners from across the country. They include 21 cities and towns, seven counties, one school district, 11 states, eight federal agencies, one tribal government and one regional authority. The OFL emerged from an original field of more than 600 applicants.

“Wisconsin takes great pride in having the Office of Financial Literacy included in the Top 50,” said Governor Jim Doyle. “Its cutting-edge efforts have pushed Wisconsin into the forefront of financial literacy in this country.”

The OFL consists of Director David Mancl, Marketing Director Charles Evenson and Office Manager Teresa Walker and works closely with numerous organizations across the state to promote financial literacy.

“These three individuals have built a new foundation and power grid to promote financial literacy in Wisconsin,” said Secretary Heinemann. “I welcome their continued efforts, look forward to working with them in the future and wish them the best in the competition.”

The OFL has taken the leadership role and/or has been deeply involved in a number of groundbreaking initiatives. A few include:

  • The National Institute of Financial and Economic Literacy, the nation’s only three-session, graduate-level teacher-training program for financial literacy now in its ninth year, recognized as “a best practice for teacher training” by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  • Money Smart Week Wisconsin—the first financial literacy, social awareness campaign in the nation aimed at an entire state, now in its fourth year (
  • The Money Conference—a one-day program aimed at low- and moderate-income families that seven Wisconsin communities will host this year including two tribal sites (spun off and now run by nonprofit Asset Builders of America, Inc.)
  • Appointment of the OFL’s Mancl to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy in 2008—the only member representing state government due to Wisconsin’s pioneering leadership in the field.
  • Formation of and lead roles in the Wisconsin Jump$tart Coalition, an all-volunteer organization promoting financial literacy that won the first-ever “State Coalition of the Year” award in 2005 from the National Jump$tart Coalition and won a Governor’s Financial Literacy Award in 2006.

In addition to encouraging the adaptation of innovative practices worldwide, award winners provide models of good governance taught in government school curricula worldwide. Such programs inform research and academic study around issues of democratic governance at Harvard Kennedy School and serve as the basis for case studies for present and future public practitioners. To date, more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide have incorporated Innovations in American Government case studies.

The Ford Foundation created the Innovations in American Government Awards in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. Since its inception, over 400 government programs across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized. They have received more than $20 million in grants to support dissemination efforts collectively