Published On: Wed, Jul 27th, 2016

$pending Frenzy comes to Cherokee




Members of the Cherokee Youth Center Teen Club will soon appear in an educational training video, an experience from which they learned some valuable money skills.  On Wednesday, July 20, First Nations Development Institute in partnership with Shawn Spruce Consulting, Twin Path Productions, the EBCI Cooperative Extension, and the Boys and Girls Club of Cherokee presented the $pending Frenzy, a nationally regarded financial skills simulation for Native youth.

The interactive program provides participants with $50,000 in play money with which to manage purchases for food, housing, transportation, insurance, and other living expenses. Funded by a grant from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians of Highland, California, the video project will teach community trainers how to facilitate the $pending Frenzy using a kit available from First Nations.

$pending Frenzy 1

Julie Wilnoty (seated), EBCI financial skills educator, sells groceries to teens at the $pending Frenzy. (Photo by Shawn Spruce)

“The $pending Frenzy was developed in Cherokee about six years ago” stated Ben Marks, a senior research officer with First Nations who was on hand for the production. “Since that time the program has been facilitated in over fifty Native communities as far away as Alaska, all sharing a need to better prepare young people for a healthy financial future.”

According to Marks, the $pending Frenzy is especially popular among per cap tribes because it provides youth with a trial run at managing a lump sum payment in a safe learning environment.  Marks also stated that after completing the $pending Frenzy nine out of ten participants agree that the information learned will assist them in managing their money.

“It’s great to be able to provide this type of educational experience for our youth” commented Melissa Bodfield, manager of the Cherokee Youth Center Teen Club. “Financial skills are so important for our young people, especially those approaching graduation.  The kids learned a lot from the Spending Frenzy and had fun too”.

Access to quality financial education remains a growing concern across Indian Country as tribal communities secure wealth from gaming, natural resources, settlements, and other sources.  In addition to the $pending Frenzy First Nations Development Institute and Shawn Spruce Consulting have a long history of assisting the Eastern Band with successful financial education programs such as the Manage Your EBCI Money online course for minor’s trust beneficiaries, the Money Mosh, and the drafting of a 10-year community financial empowerment plan.

Info:  Shawn Spruce 505-917-0709,

Spruce is a financial educator with First Nations Development Institute.