Nusenda selects 2024 Financial Education Innovation Award winners

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (May 16, 2024) — Last week, Nusenda announced its 2024 Financial Education Innovation  Award winners. These awards demonstrate Nusenda’s ongoing commitment to strengthening  communities and investing in solutions that improve financial outcomes for the next  generation.

“Nusenda is excited to provide the Financial Education Innovation Awards to elevate educators  and programs that prioritize financial capability,” said Joe Christian, Nusenda President and  CEO. “We are proud to fund innovative teachers and organizations who are working to provide  a brighter future for students and our communities.”  

This year, the Credit Union awarded a total of $20,000: $15,000 to one organization and five  $1,000 awards for classroom initiatives.  

$15,000 was awarded to the MEN-THOR Program, located in Valencia County, which is  dedicated to providing safe spaces for youth outside of school. “I was debating on offering a  summer program this year, as we had no funds available to support it, and now I am setting the  schedule of the activities we will have during our summer program and the next school year,”  said Lizeth Bustillo, Executive Director of the MEN-THOR Program. “This grant will support our  operational expenses for projects, our summer program, and any immediate needs our youth  may have.” Acting as a resource and venue to complete community service, MEN-THOR  collaborates with Valencia County Teen Court, NM Children Youth and Families Division, and  the Valencia County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. The organization’s mentors are tasked  with helping students identify their passions, explore potential careers, and discover the  pathway to success in these fields. This includes an introduction to financial mindsets and  personal financial decisions they might encounter. 

$1,000 was awarded to Cibola High School alumna and teacher, David Bork, who has spent the  last seven years building the Financial Literacy Program at Cibola High School. As a teacher, he  has expanded perspective and personal finance knowledge in his Financial Algebra  course. Using open-source curriculum, teacher-created resources, guest speakers, and a  variety of technology, his students learn about behavioral economics, banking and loans,  credit cards, employment, taxes, automobiles and insurance, investments, and independent  living. 

$1,000 was awarded to Kendra Johnson and Jules Hoffman who collaborate through the  Queen Bee Music Association to create innovative, music and movement inspired YouTube

videos teaching basic financial wellness concepts to young learners. The lessons inspire  students to think about how money decisions impact their mindset. 

$1,000 was awarded to Vanessa Mobley Knox from Family Ties NM, who leverages a wealth of  expertise and experience to incorporate interactive activities, storytelling, and real-world  examples into relatable learning experiences. Lessons are designed to engage students  through financial education workshops tailored to teach foundational concepts in saving,  budgeting, and spending.  

$1,000 was awarded to high school economics teacher, Michael Nair. A second-time Financial  Education Innovation Award winner, Michael is constantly looking for ways to impact his  students and the Highland High School community. In addition to a community  entrepreneurial unit, he works with high school students to conceptualize ways the students  can build their own foundational personal and business finance skills. A group of high school  student leaders will plan and deliver a lesson to fifth grade students at their elementary feeder  schools to practice real-world application in a grocery store to plan healthy meal for a week  using comparison shopping, a spending budget, and evaluation of advertisements. 

$1,000 was awarded to Rachel Feliciano, Rio Rancho Public Schools teacher. Serving students  at a non-traditional school, Rachel works with juniors and seniors experiencing a variety of  challenges: graduation credit deficiencies, required transfer from their comprehensive home  high school, or the student is a parent or expecting. Most students are already navigating real world challenges, school, and part-time jobs, and she shares important lessons on banking,  paychecks, rental agreements, car financing, credit, and more. 

Congratulations to this year’s recipients! For more information and to find out when next  year’s applications are open, visit our Nusenda Foundation webpage. 

About Nusenda Credit Union

Nusenda Credit Union is New Mexico’s largest locally owned and operated credit union with over 260,000 members and more than 800 employees. It has more than 25 branches throughout New Mexico in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos, Valencia County, Socorro, Deming, and Las Cruces; as well as locations in El Paso, Texas. There are hundreds of ways to join the credit union. Connect with Nusenda Credit Union at; Facebook, Twitter (X), and LinkedIn.


Eric Harrison

More News