Nearly every day, consumers face complex financial decisions that can have long-term implications. Unfortunately, many young consumers do not have the financial insight to make the best decisions in matters such as budgeting, loans, credit cards and more.
That’s why financial literacy education is vital to young students. As future consumers, students should have the opportunity to be educated before facing major financial decisions. Financial literacy is a small part of Nevada’s standard curriculum, but that is about to change.
A partnership between Bank of Nevada, First Independent Bank, Green Our Planet and the Nevada Department of Education will make Nevada the first state to offer a K-12 financial literacy program. The program will be accessible to every public, private, charter and homeschooled student in the state. Bank of Nevada and First Independent Bank are divisions of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC.
A $300,000 donation from the Western Alliance Community Foundation, the charitable arm of Bank of Nevada, will fund most of the online financial literacy academy. The web-based program will offer grade-specific financial literacy lessons that address crucial personal finance topics.
“It is essential that every student has access to financial literacy education so that they are informed before making major financial decisions as an adult,” said John Guedry, division CEO, Bank of Nevada. “With many challenges facing our education system, this is one way Nevada can better prepare students for their financial future.”
The Bank of Nevada funding will enable Green Our Planet, operator of the country’s largest and most comprehensive STEM school garden and hydroponics program, to create 65 videos for educators and students to utilize. The online curriculum will allow each student to progress at their own pace. The financial literacy video academy will prepare students for a wide range of financial decisions, including:
- Household budgeting
- Financial responsibility
- Personal financial planning
- Saving, investing and retirement funds
- Understanding credit, the incurrence of debt and credit reports
- Identity theft and fraud
- Different types of insurance
- Taxes and how local, state and federal entities compute them
- Higher education planning and career choices
Additionally, volunteer bankers and entrepreneurs will participate in the financial literacy lessons with student/teacher interaction opportunities. The Nevada Department of Education will also be developing grade-specific testing procedures to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum.
Bank of Nevada and Green Our Planet have previously worked on financial literacy projects. Students whose school has a Green Our Planet garden can participate in the annual World’s Largest Student Farmer’s Market. Beginning several years ago, Bank of Nevada bankers began working with students, often called “Farmpreneurs,” to help them create a business plan, measure profit and loss and assist with selling techniques. The Farmer’s Market has shown a steady increase in profits each year, with the latest event in Downtown Summerlin bringing in $12,500. The funds raised by each school go back into supporting their school garden.
“At Green Our Planet, we engage students in hands-on entrepreneurship and financial literacy learning by teaching them how to turn their school gardens into farmer’s markets,” says Ciara Byrne, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Green Our Planet. “Essentially, we empower students to manage budgets and run a business to learn how to manage their finances.”
The financial literacy academy will expand many of the financial lessons introduced to students by Green Our Planet and add many more to the full slate of K-12 curricula, addressing specific state-approved literacy topics. This action allows Nevada to be at the forefront of helping create a new class of informed, future consumers.