SecureFutures’ next board chair represents a new generation of leaders

From student to business owner to community leader, Jeremy Cain has always been driven by a desire to learn.

“I’ve always been the type of person to ask a million questions!” he said.

One of the first places Jeremy found answers was in SecureFutures’ Money Sense program. A sophomore at Reagan High School, he had just gotten his first job at the Milwaukee County Zoo, and was being faced with the challenges of managing his own income for the first time.

“It hit me just at the right moment,” he said.

Growing up in Milwaukee, things like managing a checking account and a budget weren’t discussed a lot in Jeremy’s house. None of his family members had bank accounts, and he remembers regularly going with his dad to a check cashing store and wondering why he had to pay a huge fee to access his own money. 

When he started the Money Sense program, it was one of the first questions he asked. Many other questions followed, and the answers opened his eyes. Soon Jeremy not only had opened his own checking account, but had convinced the rest of his family to do the same. He started implementing saving and budgeting practices, and even set up a retirement savings account before he graduated high school.

“I’ve always felt that the more I understand, the more I know, the better my decision making is,” said Jeremy. “Money Sense got me into that mindset.”

Jeremy used both the knowledge and the savings he built through Money Sense to take his first steps as a small business owner. He opened his driver education school, Crash Course Driver Education Center, in 2014. The business has since expanded exponentially. As Wisconsin Driver Education Group LLC, it now serves more than 1,000 students every year in Wisconsin, Kenosha, and Racine Counties, and also includes divisions focused on adult learning and online learning.

Jeremy’s future business goals include opening a driver’s education fund to provide scholarships to low income students. He believes that creating more access to driver’s education will significantly expand opportunities and options for those in under-resourced communities.

“Driving is such a huge barrier,” said Jeremy. “We all have common baselines, and driving is one of those. Everyone needs to know how to drive in this economy and this country in order to have a fighting chance.”

Jeremy celebrates the tenth anniversary of SecureFutures (then called Make A Difference Wisconsin)

Jeremy’s belief that access to knowledge creates opportunity has also led him to continue his involvement with SecureFutures. Jeremy believes that lack of financial knowledge can be “a huge barrier to entry, especially to a lot of people who come from the same community I come from.”

Jeremy started as a member of SecureFutures’ fund development committee, and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2016. Next year, he’s stepping into the role of Board Chairperson. As a leader, Jeremy lives by the same principle: asking questions and seeking greater knowledge leads to better decisions.

“Leadership means being able to listen to different views and perspectives and finding mutual ground and consensus, and having confidence in that consensus,” he said.

As he envisions the next 15 years of SecureFutures, Jeremy is excited by the growth potential he sees. He wants more teens to have the chance to get their questions answered and their horizons broadened through financial education.

“For me, it’s important to give back to this mission because I know the impact it can have on young adults,” said Jeremy. “I want to do my part and expose people to as much information as possible. Because it had an impact on me, I know it can change someone’s trajectory.”

Jeremy with the 2021-2022 SecureFutures Board of Directors