Lending Club Teaches 1st Apprenticeship in Oakland, Works with Citizen Schools to make Financial Literacy Engaging for 8th Graders

“Money Matters” is the title of a new financial literacy apprenticeship, created and piloted by a team of over two dozen employees from Lending Club. This year, Citizen Schools welcomed Lending Club as its 2015-2017 Financial Education-Banking Apprenticeship Sponsor in California. Citizen Schools is the company’s first official education non-profit partner, helping to launch its “Doing Good” program, which supports Lending Club employees’ efforts to make a difference in their community.

In September 2015, the fall semester commenced at Citizen Schools partner middle schools in Oakland and San Jose. Greenleaf K-8 School in East Oakland welcomed 11 volunteer Citizen Teachers from Lending Club to “team teach” this new apprenticeship to a classroom of 8th graders every Thursday. During the summer months, the San Francisco-based company formed a curriculum work group. The objective: create ten 90-minute lesson plans that introduce basic financial concepts like “credit,” “debt,” and “savings,” while incorporating activities focused on problem solving, one of Citizen Schools’ 21st Century Skills. So far, students are learning what it takes to be financially successful in the real world through fun activities and a semester-long game.

Returning Teaching Fellow Rachelle Fawcett, Lending Club’s staff partner, has played an integral role in the classroom, helping Lending Club employees adapt curriculum to be more engaging. Every week, Fawcett provides feedback on lesson plans, models best practices in working with students, and supports Citizen Teachers with student behavior management in the classroom. More than half way through the semester, the Greenleaf K-8 students have learned many essential financial concepts. Simultaneously, the Citizen Schools and Lending Club team is learning best practices in how to effectively implement team teaching. Currently, two or three individuals teach for three weeks at a time before “passing the baton” to a team of fellow Lending Club-ers.

“Our employees are motivated to make a difference in the community, which is part of the company culture we’ve built,” said Angela Loeffler, Lending Club’s Chief People Officer. “Partnering with Citizen Schools is exciting because our team will be able to put their knowledge to work helping Bay Area students develop their financial literacy, and we’re excited to offer that.”

Citizen Schools and Lending Club will launch spring apprenticeship recruitment in November, and look forward to forming smaller teams of 4 to 5 employees who can support a semester-long commitment in Oakland starting in January 2016.  

About Lending Club

Lending Club is the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors. They’re transforming the banking system to make credit more affordable and investing more rewarding. They operate at a lower cost than traditional bank lending programs and pass the savings on to borrowers in the form of lower rates and to investors in the form of solid returns.