Money Smart Kid Essay Contest

Organization & Scholarship Overview:
In support of Chicago’s Money Smart Week® for the Chicagoland Area (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will), the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and its partner organizations are once again sponsoring the Money Smart Kid Essay Contest. Students in grades 5-8 are encouraged to answer this year’s Money Smart Question (essay question and applications can be found at with an essay of 300 words or less. Six finalists will be selected to attend the Money Smart Kick-Off breakfast and one student will be named this year’s Money Smart Kid, and spend a year as Chicago’s financial literacy ambassador. Prizes include a $3,000 scholarship for the winner and two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to the runner-ups sponsored by COUNTRY Financial. Laptops will also be awarded to the other three (3) finalists sponsored by Woodforest National Bank.

Website: Money Smart Week- Kids Competition
Application & Guidelines: Download Here

Scholarship Requirements:

  • Be a student in grades 5-8 in their school
  • Live in the Greater Chicagoland area
  • Have knowledge of money management skills (decision-making related to spending and saving, investing, use of credit, etc.) appropriate for their age and grade level
  • Demonstrate how they practice good money management skills in their daily lives
  • Be able to “think on their feet” – responding to questions from business leaders and media
  • Be articulate – able to speak in front of large groups and cameras, and respond well to questions

Additional Requirements:

  • Student must be recommended by a teacher.
  • Student must have parent or guardian permission to apply and participate.
  • Student must write an essay (300 words or less) on the assigned topic.
  • Essays must be typed on plain white paper, double-spaced. The Money Smart Kid Application Form must be attached to the essay pages.
  • The essay must be the work of the student submitting the essay.
  • The application form must be signed by the teacher and a parent/guardian.
  • No teacher may sign more than three recommendations. If doing as a class, submit your three best essays.

2019 Money Smart Kid Essay Question: Many American families experience income volatility over the course of a year. Please explain what the phrase ‘income volatility’ means, why a family may experience it, who in our communities are prone to experience ‘income volatility’, and approximately how many Americans experience it every year. Please offer ways that a family could prepare for a sudden change in income. Please also discuss what you think could be done to help alleviate this situation.

The essay and application should be mailed, faxed or emailed as a PDF or scanned attachment to:

  • Money Smart Kid
    Public Affairs
    Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
    230 South LaSalle
    Chicago, IL 60604
  • Fax: 312-322-5515 (Attention: Heather Greenwell)
  • Email:

Renewable: No
Open to DREAMers: Yes
Questions? Please email
Award Amount: $1,000 – $3,000; laptops will also be awarded to the other three (3) finalists sponsored by Woodforest National Bank

$1,000 - $3,000