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Single Mother Awarded $10,000 in Summit Credit Union’s Project Money

Annual interactive challenge helps participants take control of finances, reach goals

MADISON, Wis. — By increasing her family’s savings more than $19,000 and reducing debt by nearly $4,000 in just seven months, Katie Pruitt of Madison won the 13th season of Summit Credit Union’s Project Money program. The financial challenge awards a $10,000 cash grand prize to winning participants each year.

“Before Project Money, I struggled with the need to pay urgent bills and worried I would never catch up on investments in my retirement and college funds for my kids,” said Katie Pruitt, the single mother of four children. “My Summit coach, along with the habits I built during the program, helped me establish a budget that allows savings. Even better, my children are learning from my new outlook about how they can lead their financial lives.”

At the outset of the program, Pruitt’s goals included continuing to pay her bills on time while handling unexpected expenses, refinancing her mortgage, and saving for long-term goals, like retirement and college. By working closely with her Summit financial coach, Patrick Kommer, senior lending advisor at Summit’s Sun Prairie branch, Pruitt developed a sustainable financial plan, and she gained more confidence in handling finances.

Pruitt also worked with her children—Jude, 16; Lucy, 12; Jason, 8; and Jaelyn, 5—to build a foundation for a healthy relationship with money.

“Since 2009, Summit’s 52 Project Money teams reduced their debt and increased savings by more than $1 million,” said Kim Sponem, CEO & President of Summit Credit Union. “Their candor about the strength they build and the emotions they overcome inspires all of us as we work to manage our own financial wellness.”

Throughout the program, four Project Money teams or individuals such at Pruitt work with their specific Summit financial coach to set customized financial goals designed to reduce debt, increase savings, and make positive financial lifestyle changes. The teams share their progress through blog posts, video blogs and social media posts, encouraging members of the community to join their journey and to share what they are learning.

The season 13 winner was selected based on total debt reduced, overall savings and participation in program events, including appearances in TV commercials on Madison’s WKOW. In addition to the $10,000 grand prize, each remaining team was awarded a $2,500 prize.

Since the program began in 2009, Project Money contestants have collectively increased savings by $569,064 and reduced debt by $588,712. Applications for this year’s Project Money program are available on Summit’s website until March 13.