The Jump$tart Coalition was founded in 1995, based on an idea credited to William E. Odom, who was, at the time, Chairman and CEO of the Ford Motor Credit Corporation. The first meeting, organized by H. Randy Lively, then President and CEO of the American Financial Services Association, was intended to “develop a strategic plan for improving the quality and extent of curriculum modules for personal finance education in the nation’s schools, grades K-12.”
Due to a family emergency, Bill Odom missed the first meeting of what was then called the “Partnership in Personal Finance and Consumer Credit Consortium,” held Dec. 1-2, 1995, in Reston, Va.; but, today, Jump$tart’s highest honor— the William E. Odom Visionary Leadership Award —bears his name. Mr. Odom remains a director emeritus of the Jump$tart National Board.
By the end of 1996, the organization had evolved into the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy. The logo and tagline “Financial Smarts for Students” was created with input from a focus group of students at Bladensburg High School in Maryland.
In 1997, the Jump$tart Coalition was incorporated as an independent nonprofit organization with Randy Lively as its first president (later re-designated “chairman.”) Mr. Lively also remains a director emeritus of the Jump$tart National Board. Dara Duguay was hired that year as Jump$tart’s first executive director, outlining her vision that the coalition be inclusive, not exclusive and launching a full-scale public awareness effort. She led the organization until 2004.