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 500 – 700 words. 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
Submit Essay: Access Here

Eligibility 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 comfortable responding to questions about common types of predatory loans, reasons for their use, and alternatives to using predatory lenders.
  • Be articulate – able to speak in front of large groups and cameras, and respond well to questions

Additional Requirements:

  1. Student must write an essay (500 – 700 words) on the assigned topic.
  2. Essays must be typed on plain white paper, double-spaced. The Money Smart Kid Application Form must be attached to the essay pages.
  3. The essay must be the work of the student submitting the essay.
  4. The application form must be signed by thecstudent’s teacher and a parent/guardian.
  5. The essay and application should be submitted through the online form at

2020 Money Smart Kid Essay Question: In Illinois, many families fall prey to predatory lending every year, which is a term used to describe a wide range of unfair financial practices that involve borrowing, lending, and check cashing. Please explain the most common types of predatory lenders and share reasons why people might use them. Please explain the financial consequences or negative effects for people who use predatory lenders. Consider examples from your own community or neighborhood. Please also offer financial tips (1 or 2 ways) a person could avoid taking out these types of loans.

Renewable: No
Open to DREAMers: Yes
Questions? Please email

$1,000 - $3,000