KickStart to Career

KickStart to Career (K2C) is a children’s savings program brought to you by the Community Foundation for Mason County, Mason County schools (public, private, and charter), and local financial institutions. The K2C program provides every kindergarten student with a special account that will continue to grow over a child’s K-12 school years. These accounts will help children start saving money for their future career training or college expenses.

Currently, more than 1,500 students in kindergarten through 4th grade in Mason County have a child’s savings account, building hope and opportunity for a bright future! To learn more, click here or watch the video below.

Check out how local children are making plans for the future through Financial Planning Education!


Spring 2024 Deposit Days were April 18, 24, and 25. Special thank you to all of our sponsors who provide match and incentive dollars and financial education, Safe Harbor Credit Union and West Shore Bank (downtown and Scottville Location) for hosting 3rd grade field trips, all our Mason County school districts for hosting us and our deposit days, and the volunteers who supported deposit days!

  • Click HERE for a flyer with 2024 sponsors.
  • Click HERE for a list of 2024 volunteers.

Calling All 3rd Graders: The KickStart to Career Scavenger Hunt is Back!

Here’s the scoop:

  • Keep your eyes peeled for license plates from different states!
  • Color in each state on your map as you spot the corresponding license plate.
  • Record where you saw the plates!
  • Return your completed map to your 4th-grade teacher by September 13, 2024.
  • Complete the challenge and earn a $10 deposit into your very own KickStart to Career savings account!

While you’re busy spotting license plates, we hope you’ll also:

  • Chat with family and friends about why tourists visit our community
  • Reduce screen time and enjoy the outdoors
  • Gain a deeper appreciation for tourism in northern Michigan

Need another map? Download yours HERE.

We’re incredibly grateful to the Patrick & Maria O’Hare and Robert R. & Joan Hasenbank Funds for their generous support, which allow us to offer this exciting incentive.

  • Do you have questions about the program? Would you like to become a supporter? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

    Becky Bruett, KickStart to Career Coordinator
    Phone: 810.252.0607

  • What is KickStart to Career?
    KickStart to Career (K2C) is designed to build aspirations, encourage savings, assist with career training or college expenses, and increase financial education. The program is managed by the Community Foundation for Mason County (CFFMC). Each kindergarten student in Mason County has the opportunity to be the beneficiary of an account opened with a $50 deposit from CFFMC.

    What type of account is it?
    This is a deposit only savings account, which means the funds remain on deposit until CFFMC approves a withdrawal for future education and training expenses. CFFMC holds the accounts for the benefit of the student. Your child will be named as beneficiary on the account.

    I already have a Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP) 529 account for my child or was planning to start one. Can we still participate?
    Yes, you can still be a part of the KickStart to Career program in addition to other education savings plans. Please see a financial advisor to ask questions about the MESP, 529 or other college savings plans.

    How do I start my child’s account?
    Accounts are started automatically for all kindergarten students, unless parents complete the “Opt-Out” form by October 1.

    Do I have to provide my child’s Social Security Number or other identifying information?
    No. Because the CFFMC is the owner of the account and it is held for the benefit of the child, a student’s school ID number is all that is needed. This information is provided to CFFMC and the financial partner by the school district.

    What information about my child will be collected and shared?
    Student name, address, birthdate, and student ID number will be shared with CFFMC and the program’s financial partner. Student completion of criteria for rewards will also be shared. Shared data will never include things like individual grades or test scores. No information will be shared outside of program partners.

    Does the account earn interest, and if so, how is it paid?
    Yes, accounts earn interest. Interest will be compounded periodically and will be credited to accounts at that time as a savings reward.

    What fees will be charged to the account?
    The account is not subject to fees.

    Is there a minimum deposit amount?
    No, deposits of any size are welcomed and encouraged.

    How do I make deposits to my child’s account?
    West Shore Bank will offer “Deposit Days” in your child’s school. You can also go to any West Shore Bank branch – East, West, or Scottville – to make a deposit. If you would like to set up recurring deposits, please see any West Shore Bank representative. You will need to provide your child’s name, name of school and date of birth for each deposit.

    How can my child earn reward deposits?
    Each school year, you will receive information about specific reward deposits your child can earn that year.

    How can funds in the account be used?
    Funds can be used for any qualifying educational expenses after high school. Such expenses may include, but are not limited to: tuition, mandatory fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for enrollment or attendance, or for any other necessary cost of attending school, including travel to and from school, or for school application fees.

    How do I make withdrawals from my child’s account?
    CFFMC will approve your withdrawals for qualifying educational expenses.

    What if my family encounters a hardship?
    Please contact CFFMC to discuss the possibility of an early withdrawal of private funds.

    How long does my child have to use the funds in the account?
    The account will close in December of the year your child turns 26.

    What if my child joins the military before college, or takes longer than normal to complete their education?
    Please contact the CFFMC to arrange an extension to the closing date of your child’s savings account.

    What if my child doesn’t use all the funds in the account?
    If there are any funds remaining, they will be disbursed to the CFFMC. They will then pay your child the total private fund balance (deposits that you have made), including any earned interest.

    Are my deposits tax-deductible?
    No, they are not.

    What if we move?
    If you move within the Mason County School District your child is still considered a participant in the program and can continue to make deposits and request withdrawals for qualifying education needs. If moving outside the district you will still have access to your account but will not be eligible for rewards deposits. Update your address by contacting CFFMC or the KickStart to Career Coordinator.

    How can I stay updated on K2C program news?
    In addition to receiving information through your child’s school, plus emails from program coordinator Becky Bruett, we encourage you to follow the Community Foundation for Mason County on Facebook where we regularly share news about the program including reminders about Deposit Days.

  • There are lots of ways to grow your account!

    After the Community Foundation makes the first deposit of $50, kids will have a chance to make deposits of any amount at school KickStart Days and parents can make deposits at the school’s financial partner, West Shore Bank.

    West Shore Bank will offer “Deposit Days” in your child’s school. You can also go to any West Shore Bank branch – East, West, or Scottville – to make a deposit. If you would like to set up recurring deposits, please see any West Shore Bank representative. You will need to provide your child’s name, name of school and date of birth for each deposit.

    We’d like to thank the following community financial partners for being KickStart to Career Champions.

  • Community Foundation for Mason County Launches Child Savings Account Initiative

    Mason County, Michigan – The Community Foundation for Mason County (CFFMC) is pleased to announce the KickStart to Career Child Savings Account Program (K2C).

    Beginning this fall, every kindergartner in the county will have an education savings account at West Shore Bank. The accounts are deposit only, and withdrawals are restricted to post-secondary education expenses. This includes traditional college/university degrees, as well as other types of career training or education including skilled trades’ professions. Each account will be seeded with $50 thanks to the generosity of John and Anita Wilson through their John and Anita Wilson Family Fund held at the CFFMC. Students will be able to earn additional philanthropic contributions throughout their K-12 school years.

    Past K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke handing off a K2C Piggy Bank to Ludington Area Schools Kindergarten Student Koye Hlady.

    “We are extremely excited about the impact that this program will have on students in Mason County,” said K2C Coordinator Julie Van Dyke. It’s a major achievement for the Foundation.” The program will serve approximately 300 kindergartners in this first year.

    The CFFMC has partnered with the Mason County Promise, West Shore Educational Service District, West Shore Bank, and Safe Harbor Credit Union to create the county-wide program. The CFFMC will administer the program, and West Shore Bank will conduct deposit days. Both West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union will provide financial education.

    “Encouraging students and parents to save for their students’ future career is an important habit to instill at a young age,” said Jeremy Holmes, Vice President of West Shore Bank. “We are honored by this important role in making a difference for so many students and families throughout our local communities.”

    “Safe Harbor Credit Union sees the potential to impact families in a positive way and is excited to partner with the CFFMC to offer financial literacy programming to every kindergartner in Mason County as part of the KickStart to Career program,” said Safe Harbor Credit Union President/CEO Adam Johnson.

    The program centers around fostering hope and opportunity for all children in the county. The research behind child savings accounts, which have been created across the country, shows us the significant impact this kind of financial investment has on students’ lives. Children with just $500 or less saved for college are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate than those without savings, according to the Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion.

    Throughout the program, students and their families will be partnered with on a number of different levels. West Shore Bank and Safe Harbor Credit Union will provide financial education in every classroom and will conduct deposit days throughout the school year. Students will be encouraged to make deposits and will receive a financial reward when they make their first deposit. The initial reward this year will be $10 per student offered by West Shore Bank, and we are hoping to increase the rewards by partnering with other businesses and organizations throughout Mason County in the coming year.

    Parents and the community are encouraged to support the program. Parents can support their children by making contributions to the account. They can do this through multiple means, including making a contribution at any West Shore Bank branch or signing up for direct deposit to their child’s account. The wider community is invited to support K2C as the CFFMC works to build a permanent endowment. In addition, the Foundation is seeking the support of local organizations and groups to provide additional philanthropic incentives to students. Pennies from Heaven Executive Director and Vice President of the Mason County Promise Authority Board Monica Schuyler praised the program for bringing the wider community into the conversation about post-secondary education.

    For more information, review the CFFMC website or contact the K2C Coordinator, Becky Bruett, at

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