Calexico Youth Entrepreneurship Competition


Calexico, Calif. – February 22, 2013 – The California Foundation fund at Alliant International University hosted a two-day entrepreneurial training and student competition, the Calexico Youth Entrepreneurship Program – Synthesized (YEPS) [], February 22nd and 23rd of 2013 at the San Diego State Imperial Valley campus.

YEPS is a unique program that targets high school seniors who are identified through an application process as promising young entrepreneurs. The program and its curriculum, created by The California Foundation Fund, is taught by senior faculty of the School of Management, [] focusing on two critical components – leadership and entrepreneurship training.

Students participated in the program’s academic components, developed a viable business idea and turned it into a business plan, which they presented to a panel of judges. Three winners will be awarded a scholarship. They will also be invited to continue on to the YEPS implementation phase where they will be mentored to help them launch and manage their business venture.

The program is sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank along with multiple non-profits and local volunteers. “Wells Fargo understands the central role of education in preparing individuals for success in the workplace,” said Joe Mishriki, Wells Fargo’s Desert Border Area President. “Providing high quality educational opportunities to previously underserved communities, like Calexico is part of our commitment to the region we serve, and supporting the California Foundation Fund fits nicely into this effort.”

YEPS is the result of a collaborative effort between Alliant International University [], Calexico High School, Wells Fargo Bank, the California Foundation Fund [], and California Centers for International Trade Development.

About Alliant International University
Alliant International University is a WASC accredited private, non-profit university that emphasizes the practical application of theory and research to prepare students for professional careers in psychology and mental health, education, business and management, international affairs, forensic studies and law. Created in 2001 by the merger of two legacy institutions, its combined institutional history in higher education dates back over 100 years. Headquartered in San Diego and San Francisco, Alliant has additional campuses in Los Angeles, Irvine, Fresno, Sacramento and Mexico City with accredited programs in Hong Kong and Tokyo. For more details, visit

About the California Foundation Fund
The California Foundation Fund (CAFF), is an independent non-profit corporation who’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty for the State’s low-income population. CAFF’s team of executives in educational management, behavioral science, research and financial industries develop and execute a narrow set of high impact and replicable financial education programs within culturally similar communities. CAFF provides financial educators the tools and training required to deliver personal finance and business management instruction. CAFF fosters collaboration between community based organizations and education institutions to improve and track financial literacy efforts. CAFF’s current programs in financial capacity research, youth entrepreneurship and financial literacy instructor certification were created with the support and supervision of the California Financial Curriculum Council (CFCC). CFCC is a standards board created by CAFF to help expand and enhance financial literacy.

Media Contact:
Madeleine Wiener
Chief Marketing Officer

Bankers helping support financial literacy and create wealth

(watch the video)

A special message for my banker friends

By Miguel Vasquez, CEO of the California Foundation Fund

I’ve asked many immigrants and working people if they prefer to be rich or wealthy.

Many don’t understand the question. Some tell me they prefer to be rich, they believe new wealth is unattainable or not possible. They understand financial wealth as a generational endowment that few people will ever experience. In addition, they remind me that life is unpredictable, “who wants to plan for a long-term strategy”. I don’t believe this to be completely true, however I have learned something from their answers. There is a distinct difference from those who are rich or wealthy. Comedian Chris Rock has it wrong when he says, “Shaq is rich, that signs his check is wealthy”.
In my work, I encourage wealth creation, even if it means never becoming rich. Most people ask, how can this be possible? What is the difference between richness and wealth? Is it long-term planning, community planning, trust? In my experience, there is no one simple answer.

Those who are wealthy have the freedom to do as they please with their time.

Every prosperous decade, more workers find themselves making strives to enrich themselves and increase their income. Many people gaining excess income for the first time choose individualistic expressions of materialism (shop till you drop). This behavior is common in working and immigrant communities. With immigrants, the closer their non-American relatives live to them the more pressure they feel to express their financial accomplishments.
In my work, I’ve asked community members if they would prefer to be rich or wealthy. Many seem to be confused with the question. I’m usually asked to explain the difference. At times, I have given this simple definition. If you are rich, you make more income than you need to survive and have the opportunity to place your discretionary income into any place you want. If you are wealthy, you can make any level of income, but you don’t have to work to survive. Those who are wealthy have the freedom to do as they please with their time.
After clarifying my question, I find many responses surprising. Some feel their family and community gives them a greater type of wealth. Several cultures and traditions treat this type of wealth as a greater value. Their investment is their family and children, who will support them at an older age. When pressed to comment on the integration of their children into our modern American culture, they pause and complain. They feel their heirs might not have the same values. Many blame themselves for not being good mentors. Finally, many immigrants confess that if their plan for retirement fails in this country, they will move back to their homeland and retire were it is less expensive.
I remind them of their work, sacrifices and how their accomplishments would be better served if they created a foundation for the next generation. At this point, I really lose their interest. The prospect of enriching someone’s life to improve theirs is confusing. Yet, this is the way the rich became wealthy. Rich people are those with disposable income but not necessarily disposable time. Those that choose to invest in their future have wealth that is transferable. Richness cannot be transferred and it will go away once someone with a single source of work income stops working. Some rich people are a paycheck away from being poor.

Many who are wealthy have someone who will support them.

Financial hardships are a part of life for anyone who needs to work. Making financial choices may lead to losses. I talk to people about the need to build out a plan to be wealthy. The concept of retirement takes on a very crucial meaning for those who have lost their richness. There are many theories about how to build a wealth portfolio that will bring in passive income and allow the freedom of time. Many of today’s retires have a fixed and passive income that provides the freedom to pursue happiness. There are many examples of wealthy people who have their home paid, live without a car expense and have a monthly income of less than $1,000 per month. These are the people who rely on a fixed income which provide them with the freedom to spend the day as they wish. The hard part is that this theory takes time to materialize. However, planning and encouraging your children to honor and care for their parents also takes time. Both goals take planning and managing skills.In today’s financial reality, there is less discretionary income to invest. Pensions are being replaced with voluntary, non-matching, 401K’s. Where does that leave the current financial system if the new large majority of immigrants and new Era minorities will not invest and might leave during retirement. Today, many states with high costs of living are suffering from the exodus of the baby boomers. Imagine if this occurs throughout the country.The good thing about our current recession, is that we are thinking about money matters. It is during these opportune times when we should restrain from spending and execute on the long-term plan. Creating these behavioral changes can happen if we share our financial knowledge.
Any part of this article may be used freely with the condition that the author Miguel Vasquez, CEO of the California Foundation Fund be credited.

Young adults paying more for banking, learn money skills. | Financial Literacy

By Miguel Vasquez, CEO of the California Foundation Fund
In my tenure as a bank manager, I witnessed young clients underutilizing banking services and paying unnecessary fees. In many cases, individuals mismanaged their bank accounts and had fee after fee charged to their accounts until it dried up. Once their accounts became overdrawn, some went into collections and lost the ability to have an account with most financial institutions.

These are what the financial institutions call the unbankable. Banks have their own policy on how many years, after a customer has been reported to agencies such as Chexsystems, they will be allowed to re-open an account.

For others, managing credit is a larger challenge. Young banking clients that mismanaged their credit lines are likely to lose everything. It is unfortunate that young adults are failing in the beginning of starting their credit history. For many, having a derogatory bank report is avoidable if they knew how to manage and prepare for financial situations. This type of education taught outside of one’s circle of influencers is called financial literacy.

Topics that are covered in financial literacy include planning, budgeting, credit utilization, credit scoring, savings, investments, taxes and business management. Many banks, government agencies and non-profit institutions play a vital role in conducting financial literacy courses. However, the amount of participants in these workshops are less than 1% of the total low and moderate income population.

California Foundation Fund, instructor certification

Young adults beginning to own financial services are finding new alliances in colleges and vocational schools. Adding courses in personal finance and small business management is a new and practical way to earn school credits. This approach is preparing graduates to manage their financial future. Financial literacy in adult education settings are innovative ways to expand participation. Vocational schools and colleges instruct more adults than all banks, social workers, housing services and financial literacy instructors combined.

Certified Financial Educators are creating meaningful educational content required in financial literacy curriculum for young adults. Educators are delivering lessons with a motivational intent and helping students achieve useful learning outcomes. Unfortunately, not every student gets this type of education. Introducing financial literacy in adult education is challenging for many reasons. For starters, financial literacy instruction is not a common profession. Curriculum content is typically generic and contains information created from a financial institutions point of view.

The challenge of teaching a new generation in money management skills is daunting. For many young adults, the value of money has taken a new meaning. Cultural realities are different even within the same age groups. Financial literacy instructors have a lot to learn themselves in order to teach meaningful lessons.

As a bank manager, I saw the importance of teaching financial skills to young adults. The most successful in building credit, holding investments and responsible money management had guidance.

There is much at stake in this type of education. We have seen what occurs when communities fail to understand the implications of mismanaged finances. Thankfully, instructors and students are learning to communicate common money management values and preventing future disastrous consequences.