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Statement Jump$tart Coalition President and CEO Laura Levine

On behalf of the leadership, staff, partners and affiliates of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, I offer most sincere condolences to the family of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka who passed away earlier today in Hawaii at the age of 93.

Sen. Akaka introduced the first Senate Resolutions declaring April as Financial Literacy for Youth Month in 2003 and Financial Literacy Month in 2004. He and his staff worked with the Council for Economic Education, Junior Achievement, and the Jump$tart Coalition to establish Financial Literacy Day on Capitol Hill in 2003.

The Senator did more than just support the financial literacy effort; he gave it a national platform. Sen. Akaka was the first recipient of Jump$tart’s Federal Leadership Award and one of the few recipients of our very special Chairman’s Award, yet he will be forever remembered by many of us as the “godfather of financial literacy.”

In 2011, the Senator was honorary host of the welcome reception for the Jump$tart National Educator Conference, held in the Russell Senate Office Building.  At the time, he was already 87 and I thought he was looking a little frail; but after addressing nearly 300 teachers at the reception, he cheerfully posed for photo after photo, shaking the hand of everyone who wanted to meet him.  They all wanted to meet him.  He stayed and stayed.  Senator Akaka wasn’t just a champion of financial education; he was a champion of financial educators.

This year, we’ll observe Financial Literacy Month with heavier hearts; but with never-ending admiration and appreciation for a leader who made it all possible.

Mahalo nui loa, Senator.  Aloha.

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About Jump$tart: The Jump$tart Coalition is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the personal financial literacy of students in pre-kindergarten through college. Jump$tart’s nearly 150 national partners and 51 affiliated state coalitions work individually and collectively to educate and prepare our nation’s youth for life-long financial success. Jump$tart is the original promoter of April as Financial Literacy Month and publisher of the National Standards in K-12 Personal Finance Education. For more information about the Jump$tart Coalition, go to jumpstart.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.