Money Smart Week began as a coordinated effort of the Money Smart Advisory Council, a diverse group of more than 40 Chicago-area organizations working together to promote personal financial literacy.

The Chicago Fed convened the Council's first meeting in July 2001, during which members agreed to share resources and ideas to achieve greater public awareness of the programs and services available in the city of Chicago.

The result was Money Smart Week 2002 — six days of focused presentations by community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and financial experts, all designed to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.

The effort would showcase different programs, help consumers get information, bring together different organizations — many for the first time — and help these organizations share expertise and leverage limited resources.

Today, Money Smart Week is much broader in scope and continues to expand, creating new partnerships, heightened exposure, and substantive events. The Money Smart Week model has grown beyond Chicago with successful campaigns taking place in more than a dozen states and clusters of individual events and activities in nearly forty states. National partnerships with the American Library Association and the Financial Planners Association has increased the effort's reach and accelerated its growth.