Routing Number (ABA): 307083665

Nusenda selects 2024 Financial Education Innovation Award winners

May 16, 2024 - For Immediate Release


Albuquerque, N.M. – Last week, Nusenda announced its 2024 Financial Education Innovation Award winners. These awards demonstrate Nusenda’s ongoing commitment to strengthening communities and investing in solutions that improve financial outcomes for the next generation.


“Nusenda is excited to provide the Financial Education Innovation Awards to elevate educators and programs that prioritize financial capability,” said Joe Christian, Nusenda President and CEO. “We are proud to fund innovative teachers and organizations who are working to provide a brighter future for students and our communities.”


This year, the Credit Union awarded a total of $20,000: $15,000 to one organization and five $1,000 awards for classroom initiatives.


$15,000 was awarded to the MEN-THOR Program, located in Valencia County, which is dedicated to providing safe spaces for youth outside of school. “I was debating on offering a summer program this year, as we had no funds available to support it, and now I am setting the schedule of the activities we will have during our summer program and the next school year,” said Lizeth Bustillo, Executive Director of the MEN-THOR Program. “This grant will support our operational expenses for projects, our summer program, and any immediate needs our youth may have.” Acting as a resource and venue to complete community service, MEN-THOR collaborates with Valencia County Teen Court, NM Children Youth and Families Division, and the Valencia County Juvenile Justice Advisory Board. The organization’s mentors are tasked with helping students identify their passions, explore potential careers, and discover the pathway to success in these fields. This includes an introduction to financial mindsets and personal financial decisions they might encounter.


$1,000 was awarded to Cibola High School alumna and teacher, David Bork, who has spent the last seven years building the Financial Literacy Program at Cibola High School. As a teacher, he has expanded perspective and personal finance knowledge in his Financial Algebra course. Using open-source curriculum, teacher-created resources, guest speakers, and a variety of technology, his students learn about behavioral economics, banking and loans, credit cards, employment, taxes, automobiles and insurance, investments, and independent living. 


$1,000 was awarded to Kendra Johnson and Jules Hoffman who collaborate through the Queen Bee Music Association to create innovative, music and movement inspired YouTube videos teaching basic financial wellness concepts to young learners. The lessons inspire students to think about how money decisions impact their mindset. 


$1,000 was awarded to Vanessa Mobley Knox from Family Ties NM, who leverages a wealth of expertise and experience to incorporate interactive activities, storytelling, and real-world examples into relatable learning experiences. Lessons are designed to engage students through financial education workshops tailored to teach foundational concepts in saving, budgeting, and spending. 


$1,000 was awarded to high school economics teacher, Michael Nair. A second-time Financial Education Innovation Award winner, Michael is constantly looking for ways to impact his students and the Highland High School community. In addition to a community entrepreneurial unit, he works with high school students to conceptualize ways the students can build their own foundational personal and business finance skills. A group of high school student leaders will plan and deliver a lesson to fifth grade students at their elementary feeder schools to practice real-world application in a grocery store to plan healthy meal for a week using comparison shopping, a spending budget, and evaluation of advertisements.


$1,000 was awarded to Rachel Feliciano, Rio Rancho Public Schools teacher. Serving students at a non-traditional school, Rachel works with juniors and seniors experiencing a variety of challenges: graduation credit deficiencies, required transfer from their comprehensive home high school, or the student is a parent or expecting. Most students are already navigating real-world challenges, school, and part-time jobs, and she shares important lessons on banking, paychecks, rental agreements, car financing, credit, and more. 


Congratulations to this year’s recipients! For more information and to find out when next year’s applications are open, visit our Nusenda Foundation webpage.





About Nusenda Credit Union

Nusenda Credit Union is New Mexico’s largest locally owned and operated credit union with over 260,000 members and more than 800 employees. It has more than 25 branches throughout New Mexico in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Taos, Valencia County, Socorro, Deming, and Las Cruces; as well as locations in El Paso, Texas. There are hundreds of ways to join the credit union. Connect with Nusenda Credit Union at; Facebook @NusendaCU; Twitter @NusendaCU; and LinkedIn:

Insured by NCUA | Equal Opportunity Lender

Media Contact: Eric Harrison, (505) 610-0419 or [email protected]

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