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The mission of Climb to Safety is to promote financial literacy at an early age by building an understanding of economic concepts and tools needed to become financially secure.


America has a major financial literacy problem.  There has not been consistent implementation of the curriculum in school systems. While experts concur there is a need, the essential program has received minimal focus in schools. This deficit has led to students’ lack of understanding of the importance of financial planning strategies.

The Need
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A strong economic education enables the possibility for a secure financial future for the adults of tomorrow. Climb to Safety, a Chicago-based financial literacy program, begins in first grade and culminates at eighth grade graduation. By building critical life skills, this program incorporates the steps needed to not only realize, but reach personal goals. Climb to Safety incorporates national Common Core standards and Illinois state standards in the curriculum.

First/Second Grade Work

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Third/Fourth Grade Work

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The Solution



Climb to Safety enables students to understand that a college education is an achievable goal in their future.

The cornerstone of Climb to Safety is that each class establishes their own 529 College Savings Account through donated funds. In real time, the students monitor the funds, analyze its growth and make decisions for their class account. Upon eighth grade graduation, the account is divided. Each student receives a portion of the funds specifically for the creation of their own 529 College Savings Account. 


Investments generously funded by Forum Financial Management, LP and other private donors.



Climb to Safety ultimately aspires to effect the economic outcome of future adults in Chicago.  Climb to Safety empowers students with economic knowledge and a financial skill set through real world application.  Participating in personal goal setting, being introduced to investment opportunities and understanding the steps to financial security emphasizes the vital role Climb to Safety plays in educational programming.  


Currently, a Climb to Safety professional educator is offering classroom instruction at 

Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School and Phoebe Hearst Fine Arts Magnet School.

The Impact



Climb to Safety was born with the recognition of a unique need and opportunity to blend education with financial planning.  


Michelle Weindruch, the founder and Executive Director of Climb to Safety, started her career as an educator and transitioned into working as a financial advisor. As an advisor Michelle quickly realized the importance of educating her adult clients on financial planning strategies. Many clients expressed they wished they had learned these valuable skills earlier in life. This led to the alignment of her two areas of expertise and experience to establish Climb to Safety, a 501(c) (3) organization. 



Michelle has over ten years of classroom experience in Chicago Public Schools as well as internationally in Osaka, Japan and Siguatepeque, Honduras. She has a Masters of Education with a concentration in School Leadership. Michelle also holds the designation CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.

The Story



Be on the ground floor of this growing education initiative by making a commitment to financial literacy and security for the next generation.


Climb to Safety depends on the commitment and support of interested individuals and corporations. The security that financial planning provides and the importance of investing in the next generation, makes this program worthy of your consideration.

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