For the second year in a row, Boys & Girls Club teens have shown that hip hop beats lend themselves surprisingly well to themes about personal finance. Blake McGuire, a 15-year-old member of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, has won top honors in the second annual Money Matters Music Mogul (M4) Contest, sponsored by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Charles Schwab Foundation, for his memorable and upbeat rap “Money All That Matters.”
The contest was designed to tap the talent and creativity of teens across the U.S. to raise awareness of the importance of being smart about money, and to spread the word about the financial education program Money Matters: Make It Count available through the 2,900 Boys & Girls Clubs across the country that serve teens. In the call for entries, BGCA teens, ages 13-18, were invited to submit song lyrics that would reflect themes from the Money Matters curriculum and deliver a strong, positive message about financial fitness. The songs were performed using one of several background beats provided by Grammy Award-Nominated music producer and founder of the Bridge DA Gap Movement Kevin “KHAO” Cates.
For his winning song, McGuire received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Atlanta to professionally record his song with KHAO and create a music video with other Boys & Girls Club teens. He will also receive a $1,000 scholarship and a matching grant for his Club from Charles Schwab Foundation, and the other top four finalists will each receive a $500 scholarship.
First-ever financial literacy-themed hip-hop albumA hip hop album featuring both last year’s and this year’s winning songs as well as several other M4 finalists’ songs from teens around the country has also been produced by KHAO. The album, called “M4: Money Matters Music Mogul$,” is available for digital download at http://bgca.org/m4. All sales proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club teens featured on the album, going to a special college scholarship fund. A limited number of CDs are also available.
“Let’s face it, personal finance in itself may not seem all that interesting to teens, so we’re always looking for fresh ways to light a spark," said Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, president of Charles Schwab Foundation. “We thought hip hop was a genre they would find relevant, and the success of the contest proved us right. I've been really impressed with the results, and have to say that I can’t get this year’s winning song out of my head!” “For 10 years now, the Money Matters program has been teaching young people the importance of making smart financial choices early on, and it continues to be one of our most popular programs,” said BGCA President and CEO Jim Clark. “It’s inspiring to see teens take an issue like financial literacy to a creative place by producing songs to educate and entertain their peers. We are extremely pleased to see the Money Matters Music Mogul morph into the first-ever financial literacy hip hop album, providing a message with a beat that appeals to teens everywhere.”
For his part, KHAO is committed to encouraging teens and developing their talent. He says he’s continually impressed by their ability to deliver fresh, compelling messages about gaining knowledge and coming up in the world.
“I had so much fun with the contest last year that the folks at BGCA and Charles Schwab Foundation didn’t even have to invite me to do it again this year,” said KHAO. “Their goals are so well aligned with what I do to help today’s youth, and last year’s contest turned out to be such a hit that I just assumed we’d do it again.”
McGuire himself has always had a passion for music. “I began turning poems into raps when I was nine years old,” he said. “My feelings toward winning this contest are indescribable. The Money Matters program is very important in helping teens understand money. You can come into the program not knowing who is on the front of a $20 bill and leave signing checks.”
The contest’s call for entries was made on November 8, 2012, and the submission period concluded on December 28, 2012. Fifty-four teens submitted songs, and more than 186,000 votes were cast on myclubmylife.com to choose a “fan favorite” from among the top ten finalists. The final choice among the top five finalists was made by KHAO, and it coincided with the fan favorite selected by BGCA teens.
The other four finalists in this year’s M4 contest were:
Additional details about the contest, including photos, are available here: http://www.bgca.org/media/Pages/default.aspx
About Money Matters: Make It Count Funded and co-created by Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Money Matters program is designed to promote money management skills among teens, ages 13-18. The program consists of fun, interactive activities and exercises on topics such as using a checking account, managing debt, saving for college and learning the basics of investing. The program is targeted primarily at teens from underserved communities.
Some 500,000 youth in over 1,700 teen Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. have participated in Money Matters since it launched in mid-2004. In addition, Charles Schwab Foundation has presented a cumulative total of $460,000 in scholarships to 222 Club teens who completed Money Matters and demonstrated exceptional financial skills from their newly acquired knowledge of personal finance.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.
About Charles Schwab Foundation Charles Schwab Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization funded by The Charles Schwab Corporation. Its mission is to create positive change through financial education, philanthropy, and volunteerism. More information is available at www.aboutschwab.com/community. The Charles Schwab Foundation is classified by the IRS as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation is neither a part of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (member SIPC) nor its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation.
About Bridge DA Gap
Bridge DA Gap, founded by multi-platinum music producer Kevin “KHAO” Cates, is an educational initiative that uses music to communicate with youth in a language they understand. Its components include a textbook, an accompanying musical CD, video and a curriculum designed to help youth navigate through many of today’s problems and challenges in order to build foundations, advance dreams and transform their lives through character-building principles. More information is available at http://www.bridgedagap.com/
Charles Schwab Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and Bridge DA Gap are unaffiliated entities. (0412-2664)
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