Financial Literacy for Kids: One Bank Foundation’s Approach in Arizona

The Opus Bank established a community foundation in 2010, and one of its big giving areas is financial literacy. Over the last few years, nonprofits in Arizona, California, Washington and Oregon have been seeing Opus’ support.

What’s interesting here is that Opus’ financial literacy grantmaking program is lumped in with its education one, a pairing you don’t see too often. Another thing that caught our attention with this funder is that the pre-K to grade 12 demographic is being targeted for financial literacy funding, not adults.

Although more private family foundations and individual donors have been moving into the financial inclusion grantmaking space, it’s traditionally been dominated by corporate funders linked to banks and insurance companies. Lots of these funders are focusing on low-income adults and immigrants who have families in the communities where they do business. But not Opus. Here, financial training starts at a much younger age.  

Let’s look at a couple of the grants awarded in the most recent cycle:

  • Arizona Council on Economic Education received a grant to support its educational programs, which provide economic and personal financial literacy programs for low-income students and their families.
  • Taller San Jose received a grant to support the Anaheim expansion of its programs, which provide the resources young adults need to transform their lives through workforce training skills and life skills instruction, including financial literacy, healthy relationships, and other personal development topics.

Grants to 19 nonprofit organizations were awarded in this cycle. Another Arizona organization, Save the Family, received Opus’ support for financial literacy education and several other purposes in the Phoenix metro area. The foundation gives grantmaking priority to pre-K through grade 12 schools that serve low- to middle-income students and communities. This financial literacy support is just one part of larger goals and is often combined with support for other needs, like workforce readiness and affordable housing.

However, Opus isn’t the only foundation championing the cause of learning about money early on. Other funders on board the early financial literacy bandwagon include the PwC Charitable Foundation and the Mott Foundation.

Related:

Opus Community Foundation’s other areas of giving are affordable housing and community revitalization, education, community health, human services, and the arts. Grant applications for requests up to $10,000 are accepted on a rolling basis and there are no deadlines. To learn more about applying for an Opus grant, check out the What to Submit and the Apply for a Grant sections of the funder’s website.