Investing in a generation, and generations to follow

Investing in a generation, and generations to follow

 

Banking is a relationship business. And Crystal Faulkner, partner in the Cincinnati accounting company she started with her husband 16 years ago, appreciates the value Huntington National Bank attaches to relationships, even when they’re with classrooms full of fourth-graders.

Banking is a relationship business. And Crystal Faulkner, partner in the Cincinnati accounting company she started with her husband 16 years ago, appreciates the value Huntington National Bank attaches to relationships, even when they’re with classrooms full of fourth-graders.

“You can really empower a young person … just by spending time with them,” Faulkner said. “And when you combine that with financial education … perhaps you’ve even lit a light bulb in their minds that can change not only their life but generationally … lives.”1

In 2000, just a year after Cooney, Faulkner & Stevens LLC opened, Faulkner partnered with Cincinnati Public Schools, the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and the Cincinnati Business Courier to create Accounting for Kids Day.2

The program, now in its 16th year, brings basic financial concepts like saving and investing to kids primarily in grades four through six, at schools in many of the city’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. A legion of volunteer business professionals, many of them working in accounting or finance, run the day’s events.

The day is fun; it’s interactive and it raises issues the students might not consider otherwise.

“Many of these children have no role models that work in professional careers,” Faulkner said. “They have never been exposed to a lot of discussions we have with them, about staying in school, getting a college education.”3

Huntington National Bank was a charter sponsor of Accounting for Kids Day and has stood squarely behind the event since. Even Huntington underestimated the impact the event would have on its own people.

Faulkner’s plan that first year was to have five or six business professionals from a variety of companies in each classroom.

“Huntington Bank wanted us to take all of their team members — and there were more than two dozen who participated — and they wanted us to split them up,” Faulkner said. “Huntington wanted to have maybe two (employees) in every classroom to network with the other businesspeople that were going to be there.

“The second year they came back and said, ‘Oh, no, no, no. We want all of our team to be together because it’s a huge team-building initiative.’ They got so much joy out of working with these children.”4

Building off the program’s success in Cincinnati, the Ohio Society of CPAs has re-created the events in schools throughout the state.5

In 2015 in Cincinnati alone, Accounting for Kids Day activities involved more than 800 volunteer businesspeople and students in more than 130 classrooms.6

“I couldn’t do it without Huntington Bank,” Faulkner said. “They have been my big sponsor from the very beginning. Their credibility and their professionals … it’s not just their money. It’s really all of the people there, in the organization, that have had a huge impact.”7

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Huntington employee Kevin Jones mentors children in the Accounting for Kids Program.

Copy of Kids posing with game (1)

Accounting for Kids provides valuable team-building for Huntington employees and life skills for Cincinnati youths.