Introducing StepFest: Bringing Financial Literacy to Schools Nationwide – Business Wire

PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Step, the all-in-one financial solution for the next generation, today announced a national campaign to help close the financial literacy gap by bringing key financial products and education to high school campuses across the country. In celebration of this important initiative, Step is also offering the chance for one school and district to each win a $50,000 donation, and to grant one student a $25,000 scholarship for continuing education. The winning school will kick off summer with a live, on-campus concert for its students featuring The Chainsmokers with special appearances by Charli D’Amelio and others.

“We are still very much in a state of crisis when it comes to financial literacy,” said CJ MacDonald, Founder and CEO at Step. “Your teenage years are arguably the most important time to learn about personal finance and yet 29 states still don’t require these critical skills to be taught in the classroom. We’re hoping Step can help bridge these gaps, providing schools with the resources and support that they so desperately need.”

In fact, the results of a new Step survey revealed that an astonishing 66% of teens aren’t receiving any type of personal finance education in school, leaving one-third of teens feeling extremely stressed out and overwhelmed as their financial futures hang in the balance. Additionally, as many teens are currently trying to navigate money management on their own, not having enough money saved remains their biggest financial fear.

To help combat these issues, Step recently launched “Step On-Campus”, a community outreach program to help schools facilitate important personal finance conversations with teens. The program includes fun exercises to help teens envision the financial future they want for themselves and how making smart money decisions today can help them get there. Handouts are also available for teens who want to continue the conversation at home with their parents.

“Financial literacy is incredibly important and it’s an issue that our students are eager to learn about but never know where to start,” said Stacey Seiders, Administrator at San Diego Unified School District. “We’re very grateful to Step for the work that they’re doing to provide educational resources that teens want and need, while making it fun, too!”

When it comes to what financial topics teens are most interested in learning about, Step research reveals that developing healthy budgeting and savings habits is top-of-mind for Gen Z followed by: investing, credit building and buy-now, pay-later products. Additionally, beyond familial advice, teens say they are most likely to turn to banking platforms like Step for financial tips and tricks.

“At Step, our mission is to improve the financial future of the next generation by removing common barriers––like fees––and giving Gen Z the tools they need to start making smart money decisions today,” said MacDonald. “I’m proud to share that we’ve not only helped 85% of Step teens open their first bank accounts, but 95% of teens also say that we’ve improved their financial literacy and overall confidence when discussing money.”

Through the Step App, teens and their parents gain access to a free, FDIC insured bank account, Step Visa Card (with no monthly or minimum fees) and a P2P payments platform, enabling teens to start building a positive credit history now while teaching them how to budget, save and spend smarter so they can live life on their own terms.

The StepFest contest––which serves as an important motivator to reward financial literacy efforts––will run through April 30th, with the winning school announced on social media the following week. To enter, students must simply download Step, list the school they attend and invite an adult to sponsor their account. The school and district with the most Step customers will each receive a $50,000 donation along with a private concert featuring some of the biggest names in music. The top student referrer in the winning school will also receive a $25,000 scholarship for college or other entrepreneurial aspirations.

“We’re stoked to be performing at StepFest and rewarding teens for all of their hard work in making their financial futures a priority,” said The Chainsmokers, Musicians and Partners at Mantis VC. “Knowing how to manage your money is not only essential for your day-to-day life, but it allows you to chase your dreams, too. We invested in Step because we are deeply passionate about the work they’re doing to help eradicate the financial literacy crisis by making financial resources and education available to everyone.”

To learn more about StepFest visit:

About Step

Step was founded by financial industry veterans CJ MacDonald and Alexey Kalinichenko to provide teens and their families with financial tools for today’s modern-day banking needs and to promote financial literacy for the future. The founding team has 50+ years in combined financial technology experience from companies like Affirm, Block, Google, Gyft, Stripe and Wealthfront. The Series C company has raised more than $175 million in venture funding, backed by Coatue, Collaborative Fund, Crosslink Capital, General Catalyst and several other prominent investors. Step has more than 3 million customers and its financial products are powered by its bank partner, Evolve Bank & Trust, Member FDIC and insured up to $250,000. To learn more, please visit:

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted via Typeform from March 22, 2022 to March 28, 2022, among a demographically representative sample of 1,359 Step customers, aged 13 to 18.

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