Family and Consumer Sciences Educator receives USDA Honors Award

July 18, 2002

New Brunswick, NJ-Dr. Barbara O'Neill, CFP, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Sussex County family and consumer sciences educator, and interim specialist in financial resource management, received a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Honors Award from Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman at a ceremony held July 8 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.

O'Neill served as project leader of a team from six universities and two federal government agencies that developed two nationally replicated personal finance programs, MONEY 2000™ and Investing For Your Future.

The MONEY 2000TM program enrolled almost 2,000 New Jersey residents and over 13,000 persons nationwide between 1996 and 2000. Participants set a personal savings and/or debt reduction goal and reported their progress to Cooperative Extension periodically. Almost $20 million in savings and debt reduction was achieved at the end of the five-year period.

Investing For Your Future is a basic investing program consisting of an 11-unit home study course and study guide, monthly investing e-mail investment information, and a six-week class series. The home study course is available online at (

The USDA Honors Award recognized both programs "for improving the net worth and financial literacy of thousands of families in the United States." It was one of 85 awards presented to employees of over twenty departments within USDA and one of seven presented in the category "Enhancing the Capacity of Rural Residents, Communities, and Businesses to Prosper." The categories of the awards matched the focus areas of the USDA.

Other members of the project team were: Dr. Jane Schuchardt, USDA family economics program leader; Gerri Walsh, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Patricia Brennan, Rutgers Cooperative Extension; Dr. Irene Leech, Virginia Tech; Dr. Connie Kratzer, New Mexico State University; Dr. Nancy Porter, Clemson University; Dr. Linda Fox, Washington State University and Barbara Bristow, Cornell University.

For information about Rutgers Cooperative Extension programs in Sussex County, call 973,579-0985 weekdays during business hours or visit the Web site ( Print copies of the Investing For Your Future home study course are available for $15 at the Sussex County Rutgers Cooperative Extension office. Mail a check payable to "HE Programs and Bulletins" to Rutgers Cooperative Extension, 3 High Street First Floor, Newton, NJ 07860.

Contact: Michele Hujber
Office of Communications

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences