Four local families selected to compete in seventh annual Project Money

MADISON, WI (June 16, 2015) — “Surviving recession job losses have significantly affected our relationship with money.” “Rent, in addition to my other expenses, left me drowning for months and months, living paycheck to paycheck.” “We tend to make a lot of decisions that, financially, are not very healthy.”

These are a few comments from the four teams who have just begun competing in the seventh annual Summit Credit Union Project Money reality-based financial challenge.

Project Money provides an opportunity for participants—as well as the community at large—to learn how to do more with their money and achieve financial success. From more than 150 applicants, four teams were selected, each with different backgrounds and financial situations.

Between June and December, each of the teams works one-on-one with a Summit financial coach who provides them with the plans, tools and advice they need to accomplish their financial goals.

“Project money is so much more than a competition. It’s a financial education program,” said Kim Sponem, CEO and President of Summit Credit Union. “It continues to be successful because when people take control of their finances, they help so many aspects of their lives. It’s empowering.”

The 2015 Project Money teams include:

· Carrie and Chris Bennett with sons Logan and Ryan, from Madison, Wisconsin — a family who has struggled with recession job losses and failed business start-up attempts, working to repair their relationship with money—and finally finish the remodel on their home.

· Alane Conn with son Bishop, from Madison, Wisconsin — a single mom who works as a non-profit case manager, with her sights set on paying off student loans and credit card debt, and looking forward to sharing some of the strategies she learns with the homeless families with whom she works.

· Sheba McCants and Karim Njie, from Madison, Wisconsin — a young couple with big dreams, including buying their first home and starting a family, working to reduce their stress and begin making smart financial choices together.

· Becca Reisdorf and Joel Wallschlaeger with Becca’s daughter Taytum, from Verona, Wisconsin — a recently engaged couple who has just purchased a new home and is motivated to make changes to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck and start building their lives together.

“Project Money teams are selected from a variety of stages of life, so there’s a situation or scenario that many people in the community can relate to and learn from,” said Sponem. “We appreciate the courage of these four teams who are committed to making positive changes and sharing their financial stories on television and online so others can learn from their experiences.”

Their ongoing progress and unique stories will be chronicled through weekly blogs, Facebook and Twitter posts, as well as videos at Participants will share advice and tips they receive from their coaches so that anyone following along can relate and apply the advice to their own financial goals.

Additionally, starting in July, WMTV will report on the participants’ challenges and progress in an ongoing series airing on Channel 15 during the 5 p.m. newscast.

In February 2016, a $10,000 prize will be awarded to the team that earns the most points during the competition. Points are awarded for percent increase in savings, decrease in debt and participation in program events. Runners-up will each receive $2,500.

In its first six years, Summit Credit Union’s Project Money challenge has helped 24 teams make a huge difference in their financial lives. In the seven-month challenge seasons alone, they collectively boosted their savings by $192,110 and decreased their debt by more than a quarter million dollars—$256,485. By sharing their lessons and tips along the way, they also helped teach members of the community how to do more with their money and achieve financial success.

About Summit Credit Union

Established in 1935, Summit Credit Union is a member-owned financial cooperative open to anyone in Wisconsin. Summit holds $2.2 billion in assets and has more than 144,000 members with 30 locations throughout the Madison and Milwaukee areas. For more information, visit or call 608-243-5000 or 1-800-236-5560.

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