Partners

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Center for Financial Security

The Center for Financial Security is an applied, multidisciplinary research center that seeks to inform practitioners, policymakers, and the general public on strategies for building financial capability and security over the life course. CFS research examines the role of specific products, policies, and advice in helping individuals navigate the increasingly complex financial marketplace. The Center’s research is notable for its focus on vulnerable populations—including low-income families, youth, and people with disabilities. Currently, 43 researchers in a diverse array of departments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and campuses across the nation are affiliated with the Center.

Council on Contemporary Families

The Council on Contemporary Families is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing the press and public with the latest research and best-practice findings about American families. Founded in 1996 and based at the University of Texas at Austin, the Council’s mission is to enhance the national understanding of how and why contemporary families are changing, what needs and challenges they face, and how these needs can best be met. Members include demographers, economists, family therapists, historians, political scientists, psychologists, social workers, sociologists, communication scholars, as well as other family social scientists and practitioners.

Work and Family Researchers Network

The Work and Family Researchers Network (formerly the Sloan Work and Family Research Network), is an international membership organization of interdisciplinary work and family researchers. The WFRN also welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders.

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Lorna Jorgenson Wendt

Lorna Wendt, late founder of the Equality in Marriage Institute, and vocal advocate for women’s financial equality, was a founding sponsor, advisor, and partner in the MORE initiative. For 32 years, Lorna Jorgenson Wendt was a full-time wife, mother, manager of her home and corporate wife. Overnight, she became one of the most visible women in America and a pioneer in the quest for equality before, during and after marriage. Lorna had been married to Gary Wendt, former CEO of General Electric Capital, for over three decades when he took steps to end their marriage. When she was offered approximately ten percent of their assets, Lorna mustered the courage and strength to fight back, defending her role as an equal partner in their long-term relationship.

Feneba Addo, Ph.D.

Fenaba Addo, Ph.D.

Fenaba Addo is an Assistant Professor of Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the Center for Financial Security, Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Center for Demography and Ecology.  Her research focuses on the transition to adulthood, cohabitation and marriage, debt and wealth, and social determinants of racial health and wealth disparities.

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Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Ph.D.

Sarah Halpern-Meekin is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty, Center for Demography and Ecology, Center for Financial Security, and La Follette School of Public Affairs. Her research focuses on two primary factors shaping the lives of lower-income families: finances and family formation and dissolution. This includes examining social and welfare policies in place to support families.

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Kristin Litzelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Litzelman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also an affiliate of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, the Center for Aging Research & Education, and the Center for Child and Family Well-being. Her research focuses on family caregiving and the impact of illness on families. Specifically, she studies how caregivers are impacted by their role, the internal and external resources that support them, and the interrelationships among caregiver and care recipient well-being.

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Peggy Olive, MSW

Peggy is a Faculty Associate in the Department of Consumer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also serves as Financial Capability Specialist for the Center for Financial Security and the University of Wisconsin-Extension with a focus on translating financial research into practice. Peggy has 20+ years of experience providing financial education, counseling, and coaching for individuals and couples. She holds a Professional Life Coaching Certificate and provides financial coaching training for organizations across the United States.

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Rourke O’Brien, Ph.D.

Dr. O’Brien is an Assistant Professor in the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin Madison and an affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology, Institute for Research on Poverty, and the Center for Financial Security. His research focuses on issues of inequality and public policy with a focus on household finance, public finance, and economic mobility.

Christine Schwartz, Ph.D.

Christine Schwartz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an affiliate of the Center for Demography and Ecology and the Institute for Research on Poverty. Her research focuses on the link between demographic change and social inequality. Specifically, she examines the relationship between changes in union formation and dissolution, educational assortative mating, and income inequality in the United States.