Consumer Financial Education Fund

About the Fund

The Consumer Financial Education Fund supports projects that relate to consumer financial education, with an emphasis on issues related to just and equitable banking, basic banking, financial literacy, access to financial services, retail banking accounts, and underbanked and/or vulnerable populations. This grant cycle will be conducted in accordance with the HSBC Bank USA, N.A. Checking Account Overdraft Litigation settlement agreement.


The current grant cycle is a two-step process. Any group that meets the eligibility criteria is welcome to submit a letter of inquiry. The deadline to submit a letter of inquiry is August 24, 2018 at 5:00pm PDT. Because of limited funding, only a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full grant proposal after submitting a letter of inquiry. Invitations to apply and decline notifications will be sent out by October 31, 2018. If a full proposal is invited, it will be due December 14, 2018 at 5:00pm PST. Final funding decisions will be announced in February, 2019.

**All decisions on LOI submissions were sent out at the end of October, 2018. If the decision notification did not reach the right person at your organization, please contact Anya Diamond, Program Officer at adiamond [at] **

Click here to download a copy of the 2018 Request for Proposals.

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants must meet all of the following criteria in order to qualify for this fund:

  • The applicant must demonstrate expertise in consumer financial education.
  • The applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, or be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Nonprofit colleges, universities, university clinics, and graduate programs are eligible to apply, but university overhead is limited to 5% of grant award.
  • An applicant’s principal place of business must be located in the United States. Eligible projects may be national in scope, developing materials for distribution nationally; or they may be regional or statewide projects conducted only by organizations located in the following states:
    • California
    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Washington, D.C
    • Florida
    • Illinois
    • Maryland
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Oregon
    • Pennsylvania
    • Virginia
    • Washington

Scope of Allowable Projects and Prohibited Activities

  • Proposals must relate primarily to financial education issues or fair and equitable banking practices.
  • Projects must be targeted towards users, regulators, and enterprises residing in the United States, and must follow the geographic restrictions described in the Eligibility Criteria section above.

It is anticipated that eligible projects may encompass, but not be limited to, the following issues or focus areas:

  • Financial education and training including:
    • Education and outreach activities that teach adults and children about financial issues and increasing their financial literacy, including community workshops, classroom presentations, trainings, conferences, and webinars, especially including information about overdraft fees and how to avoid them. Educational programs covering the following topics are encouraged:
      • Fees and choices related to debit cards and pre-paid debit cards that lead to high interest rates;
      • Education for consumers to not opt-in to overdraft protection when fees will be charged;
      • The dangers of high-cost, short-term credit such as payday loans and how to avoid this type of borrowing.
    • Educational projects should seek to adapt and utilize existing curricula.  Applicants proposing to create entirely new curricula should be prepared to fully justify why existing financial literacy curricula is insufficient.
  • Financial education and advocacy designed to promote fair and equitable banking practices and to protect vulnerable populations from predatory banking. Financial advocacy projects should have clear objectives and include immediate outcomes which are achievable within the grant period. Projects relating to current issues such as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program are encouraged. Proposals could include:
    • Policy and/or regulatory development and implementation, including related research;
    • Cost of relevant experts;
    • Events for legislators and other policy-makers to help them understand pertinent issues;
    • Legal advocacy including case development and litigation.
  • Preference will be given to:
    • Applicants who can clearly define their desired outcomes and express quantitative and qualitative metrics that will measure progress made towards those outcomes during the grant period;
    • Projects that specifically serve vulnerable and/or underbanked populations including low-income communities of color, students, veterans, and non-English speakers conducted by organizations that have a demonstrated track record of working with these communities;
    • Projects designed to affect long-term consumer behavior by changing habits and teaching clients how to independently maintain good financial standing for future years;
    • Projects that disseminate information in multiple languages;
    • Projects with a clear strategy to reduce predatory lending and to promote fair banking practices.

Projects may not use this grant funding to engage in the following prohibited activities:

  • Electioneering or other political or religious activities prohibited by IRS 501(c)(3) regulations;
  • Activities primarily targeted or conducted outside of the United States.

How to Apply

To apply, applicants must complete a 2-step process using our online grant system. The first step is to submit a letter of inquiry. Any group that meets the eligibility criteria is welcome to submit a letter of inquiry; we expect to receive a large number of these submissions. The second step is to submit a full proposal. Because of limited funding, only a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Click here for more information on how to apply, including instructions for letters of inquiry, applications, and how to use our online system. 

It is anticipated that the application process will be highly competitive. It is expected that most proposals will be for 12-month grant periods; however, multi-year proposals are encouraged where appropriate. The maximum allowable total request is $75,000 even for multi-year proposals. Applicants are encouraged to seek funding for projects starting January 1, 2019.

Click here to download a copy of the 2018 Request for Proposals.


Our “How to Apply” webinar already passed, and you can download the slides from the presentation by clicking here.


If your group is awarded a grant, you must provide a final grant report within one year of receiving the money, or before your group can receive additional funding. Click the heading above for full grant reporting instructions.

Funding Board Members

The Fund is advised by a volunteer funding board of individuals who have tremendous expertise in the field of consumer financial education. Click the heading above to read short bios for each of the funding board members.

Current and Past Grantees

To visit our searchable database of past grantees, please click the heading above. To download an impact report on the first three rounds of grantmaking from the Fund, click here.

For More Information

Tim Little, Executive Director or 510-658-0702 x301

Anya Diamond, Program Officer


Please click here to receive notifications about the Consumer Financial Education Fund and other funding opportunities.

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