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Summit Credit Union Awards Couple $10,000 in Project Money Program

Eighth annual financial competition helps teams achieve financial goals

MADISON, Wis.—Over the course of seven months in 2016, Drew and Liz Ehlert saved nearly $30,000 while reducing debt by over $6,600. Thanks to these impressive numbers, they were crowned winners of Summit Credit Union’s Project Money program and were awarded the member-owned financial cooperative’s $10,000 cash prize.

“We quickly learned that communication is the single most important factor in achieving our financial goals,” said the couple. “Project Money has given us a much brighter outlook about our money and has enabled us to actively prepare for our family’s future, not just dream about it.”

The Ehlerts began their journey with the primary goals of building an emergency fund, increasing retirement contributions, saving for their son Beckett’s college tuition and tackling Liz’s student loan debt. After working closely with their financial coach, Ryan Husom, the couple exceeded most of those goals and is on pace to accumulate $100,000 in their son’s college savings account by the time he reaches college.

“Our Project Money teams impress us every year,” said Summit CEO and President Kim Sponem. “It takes a lot of courage to open up about your finances. If the teams and members of the community who follow along at home feel even a little more financially empowered each year, the program is a success.”

The Ehlerts were one of four area couples that participated in the annual real-life financial competition. At the program’s outset, each team is assigned a Summit financial coach who they collaborate with from May through December in identifying financial strategies and tactics to improve their lives. The program places an emphasis on financial education, empowering its contestants—and community members who follow along—with financial resources and best practices.

Winners are selected based on overall debt reduction, savings increase and participation in program events, which include live appearances on Madison’s NBC15. In addition to the $10,000 awarded to the winners, each participating team receives $2,500.

Since the program’s inception in 2009, Project Money contestants have collectively increased savings by $278,539 and reduced debt by $335,157. In 2016, participants accrued $60,039 in savings and lowered debt by $29,609.

Project Money 2016 Winners

Pictured left to right: Coach Ryan Husom, Drew Ehlert, Liz Ehlert and Chris Schell.