Mentoro, a financial education company that specializes in collaborative financial wellness, announced today that one of its plans – Harris County School District in Hamilton, Georgia, has been named Plan Sponsor Of The Year.
The annual Plan Sponsor of the Year awards program recognizes retirement plan sponsors that show a commitment to their participants’ financial health and retirement success. Nominations were made in December and January, finalists were revealed in March, and winners were announced in May. To be considered, a plan sponsor first had to be nominated for the award. All nominees were then asked to officially enter and complete an online form, supplying details about the plan’s administration, participant statistics and data. Entries were judged both against other nominations in the category and on a sense of best practices specific to each plan sponsor’s industry.
The Harris County School District, with central offices in Hamilton, Georgia, started developing its financial wellness program in late 2018 after seeing evidence that many of its employees felt financially stressed. “I noticed a recurring issue: our participants taking loans and hardship withdrawals,” Benefits Coordinator Renee Lipp recalls. “It just broke my heart. I thought, ‘This is not a savings account, this is a retirement account.’” But there is only so much an employer can do in its role as plan sponsor to address employees’ broader financial issues, Lipp says. So in January 2020, the district launched a financial wellness program in partnership with financial education provider Mentoro to address employees’ financial stress points.
The district has widespread employee demographics, and most of its workers lack any education in finance. “We have everything from our cafeteria lunch ladies who may have a GED (General Educational Development diploma) and little or no financial background, to people with a doctorate who are in leadership,” says Assistant Superintendent Stacey Carlisle. “On the education staff, our teachers have put their lives and hearts into helping students build their future. At the same time, if you talk to the teachers about their own financial future, that’s not their skill. So we decided to take our educators and turn them into students. We thought, if our people know better, they will do better.”
Danny Kofke, a former elementary school teacher and current Motivational Mentor for Mentoro, said, “I could not be more excited for Harris County. As someone who knows first-hand the struggles teachers face, it is wonderful to see a school district get rewarded for not only investing in their students but staff as well. Hopefully this paves the way for financial wellness in school districts across the country.”
Mentoro is a non-biased independent company that creates customized programs tailored to a company’s needs that ease monetary stress and equip employees with how to plan for their futures. Mentoro’s emphasis on human interaction, engaging technology, and customization through individual coaching makes their offering unique in the financial wellness space.
Mentoro is a financial education company providing a turn-key collaborative financial wellness℠ solution derived from the belief that financial mentors are the last great hope for educating the working population on healthy money habits and positive behavior change. For more information on Mentoro’s Financial Wellness solution, contact sales.