Financial Education and Mangos are a Perfect Match at FinMango
To Scott Glasgow, founder of FinMango, financial education and mangos go together really well. As he explained during a recent conversation, there’s a lot of distress around money. People tend to tune out when the topic of money comes up. Combining this colorful fruit with financial education is a way to lighten up a serious topic and bring a little fun to money management.
Glasgow believes that teaching people to be financially savvy is a gift that will keep on giving throughout their lives.
After graduating with a Masters in Financial Management, Glasgow decided that he didn’t want to follow a predictable path that would lead to getting into a lot of debt by buying a house, furniture, cars and a bunch of other stuff. “That would be like falling off a cliff.” Instead, he wanted to do something to help his community such as start a foundation that would help to eradicate poverty.
A minimalist ever since he can remember, he has always tried to save as much as possible. Instead of make it to spend it, Glasgow follows the motto: make it and save it. Right now he’s using his own money to start up FinMango and carry out the mission: empower and educate lives with innovative financial solutions.
For the past few months, the FinMango team has been working with the K-12 children in the Akron, Ohio school district, helping them to learn the money cycle mantra: save, invest, spend, plan and donate.
The organization strives to teach both children and adults the importance of earning in order to save and give it away for good causes rather than simply spending it on more stuff. Spending can be a good thing, but FinMango emphasizes planning your purchases and spending wisely.
Mr. Mango – I mean Mr. Glasgow – has trained a team of financial education evangelists to deliver the money mantra message in some creative ways. Children receive tokens in the place of money to spend at a store (filled with toys) however they choose. At first, most spend it all and a few save. After the second lesson, however, most start saving their money and integrating a savings plan as part of the money cycle.
Make it, Save it and Give it Back Completes the Money Cycle
As chief trainer and executive director of financial education and mangos explains, if you make money just to make more money, you end up with a lot of money. However, this visionary social entrepreneur believes that donating your hard-earned money to help communities in need is the most important part of the financial cycle. “The natural course of action is and should be to do good with that money. If everyone donated just a little, this would make a huge difference towards eradicating poverty.”
“I’m an Eagle Scout. Since 11 years old I’ve been saving and investing in the stock market. You have to make money to live but to me the most important part of the money cycle is giving. Many people make money but they never give it back. Donating completes the cycle. This makes the cycle go around. I’d rather donate then spend money,” said Glasgow.
This wisdom also came to him by listening to financial gurus like Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. These billionaires are working hard to give their money away now that they’ve made so much of it.
Buffett and his friend Gates instigated The Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals to give the majority of their wealth back to society. There are currently more than 170 pledgers in 21 countries.
“Donating part of their wealth is more than a trend. It’s a way of life. Some people just don’t understand that donate is part of the cycle. It’s possible to use this money to move the world forward,” said Glasgow.
At one of the schools he recently went back to visit, a student said she used her tokens to buy bracelets and then sold them to make more money. She recalls one of her classmates didn’t have lunch money one day so she bought her lunch. This was because she learned that the most important part of the money cycle was to donate to those in need.
Giving Back to the Global Community
Recently, as the good news has spread about the benefits of financial education and mangos, FinMango expanded its mission to other parts of the world. Last year, the group began working with farmers in Togo, Africa with the help of a local nonprofit called Fly for Life.
Social entrepreneur Jeremies Pimizi started Fly for Life to help his community flourish with sustainable tourism and organic agriculture. Pimizi has been working with FinMango to deliver financial education programs to farming communities throughout Togo. Sometimes riding as much as eight hours on a bus at the request of a community, Pimizi helps farmers, families and their children learn budgeting and money management (in addition to his other sustainability activities).
FinMango’s financial literacy programs have now expanded to several schools and communities in Togo, led by Pimizi and his teammates, all through word of mouth.
“We’re trying to start a movement,” said Glasgow. “When the kids are shopping with their mothers, they have a voice and understand better the value of money.”
FinMango and Fly for Life are starting a new initiative in Togo called the Women’s Empowerment Program. The organization’s founders and staff believe this project can completely transform the farming communities. This is because the women manage the money, buy the food, take the children to school, and initiate most of the family activities. Learning to manage money is an important way women can help their communities.
FinMango recruited finance graduate student, Maci Woyat, who’s passion is women’s empowerment, finance, and climate change, to help develop this pilot program. Woyat partners with Fly for Life’s Estelle Manou to work directly with women in each town providing training in budgeting and money management.
Financial Education and Mangos Goes with Sports
At FinMango, everyone is a mango from director to staff, volunteers and board members. The children are mango seeds learning and growing through hands-on activities. Sports and games are hands-on activities that can help children embody the money cycle naturally.
The financial mango gurus were recently asked to teach financial literacy using sports activities such as basketball, soccer, and Judo in Brazil with Fly for Life’s partner organization. FinMango has developed some innovative ways to integrate the money cycle with sports. Instead of “around the world” high school students play “around the money cycle.” The teenagers easily memorize and learn to associate the money cycle mantra to a fun sport they love such as basketball.
The nonprofit is also working on a program to integrate financial education with soccer. Recently FinMango partnered with another charity called Kingdom Builders Ministry (KBM). The organization builds houses, churches, orphanages, and helps the elderly in needy communities in California and Mexico.
KBM requested that FinMango teach financial literacy at a children’s orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico using soccer as a way to teach the money cycle. Still in the process of development, FinMango’s program in Tijuana will focus on empowering local money management trainers to deliver the message in their own communities.
As with all of FinMango’s programs, the plan is to empower local and global communities to thrive by planting and nurturing seeds of financial education and mangos along the way.
Author: Kathryn Thomsen
Founder of Hundredgivers, a nonprofit supporting and accelerating sustainability initiatives benefiting local and global communities. Kathryn is a social entrepreneur, consultant, researcher, writer and urban farmer. She collaborates with individuals, organizations, and businesses to develop climate change solutions, clean energy, and sustainability strategies and programs.