Principal announces Youth Can Innovation Program

Four teams to receive $350,000 in grants to develop transformative work in promoting financial health for at-risk youth

Principal Financial Group® and The Principal Foundation today announced the Youth Can Innovation Program, an initiative dedicated to furthering the work of organizations that help youth achieve economic opportunity and financial health.

In partnership with the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), the leading authority on consumer financial health, Principal will grant $350,000 to innovators focused on leveraging technology to address the financial insecurity many young adults experience today.

“Faced with challenges like rising education and housing costs, greater debt, and increased job insecurity, young adults are more likely to be financially insecure than previous generations,” Mandi McReynolds, director of community relations and the Principal Foundation. “That’s why Principal® is dedicated to investing in innovation that directly benefits the future of this community.”

On Tuesday, October 30, 4 organizations will showcase their ideas to a panel of industry experts comprising financial and business executives, not-for-profit leaders, and journalists. The Youth Can Innovation Showcase will be held at Principal’s global headquarters, 711 High Street in Des Moines, Iowa at 11:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday, October 30, 2018.

“The Principal Foundation is positioned to help 50,000 youth, aged 15-24, earn and save more within the next 5 years,” McReynolds said. “The organizations participating in our first-ever Youth Can Innovation Showcase represent some of the most promising solutions that can help us achieve that goal.”

More about the showcase

More than 300 local community members will attend the showcase, including 130 students from 16 Iowa high schools in the non-profit Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) program to ask questions and select an “Audience Favorite.”

The top 2 teams will be awarded $150,000 each, while the remaining 2 will receive $25,000 to advance their ideas. The “Audience Favorite” will receive an additional $10,000. John Thompson, chief program officer at CFSI adds, “CFSI will also provide these organizations with advisory assistance, share best practices and offer consultation specific to the youth audience that is the focus of the Youth Can Innovation Program.”

Teams include:

  • A.M Money, a Chicago-based organization, developing a student loan repayment solution that allows borrowers’ payments to rise or fall along with their income.
  • Edquity, a financial services company in Brooklyn that plans to develop and test a first-of-its-kind financial success platform that provides college students with resources to help them weather financial stresses.
  • MyPath, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that seeks to provide young people enrolled in employment programs in Seattle and San Jose with a path to financial success through a combination of in-person and online financial tools.
  • MoneyThink would build a web-based tool that would help under-resourced high school seniors understand their post-secondary options; when paired with the nonprofit’s existing financial coaching program, it would help high school seniors in Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco Bay area to navigate the financial aid process.

An esteemed panel of industry experts will be on hand for the Innovation Showcase. They will facilitate a Q&A and provide real time feedback for each team.

The expert panel includes:

  • Gary Scholten, executive vice president, chief information officer and chief digital officer, Principal (@G_Scholten)
  • Jennifer Tescher, president and CEO of the Center for Financial Services Innovation (@jentescher)
  • Mark Ernst, managing partner, Bellevue Capital and CFSI board vice chair (@Mark_A_Ernst)
  • Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach; CEO of The Money Coach and founder of (@TheMoneyCoach)
  • Premal Shah, president and co-founder, Kiva (@Premal)
  • Mary Sellers, U.S. president of United Way Worldwide (@mbsellers)
  • Richard Russey, vice president and publisher of Inc. Media (@richrussey)

Media should RSVP to For more information about the Youth Can Program visit

Journalists should contact Aaron Jaco or Erica Jensen for more information.

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