Best Partnership Finalist: Capital One
Capital One with Junior Achievement USA: Delivering an education in personal financial well-being to students
Capital One and Junior Achievement USA are working together to reinforce one of the building blocks of a great economy—sound personal financial management. Their award-winning program provides practical learning experiences that inspire students toward personal responsibility.
Capital One (COF) and Junior Achievement USA® (JA) understand that money management skills are an important building block for economic success. Studies show that high school students average failing grades in basic financial concepts, and that financial illiteracy is tied to being unbanked and accruing debt (Lusardi, Mitchelll, 2009). With college debt at an all-time high and a tight job market for entry level workers, it’s more important now than ever that young people make a connection between what they learn in school and its relevance to their lives and understand the significance of how financial decisions impact their futures.
COF has long invested in programs that empower individuals to make informed decisions about money. In 2005, COF sought to expand its financial education efforts to help teachers meet new state curriculum requirements, to engage students in an impactful way, and to effectively involve its associates.
At the same time, JA was looking for a way to broaden the reach of JA Finance Park®, its award-winning, state-standard aligned financial literacy education program that introduces personal financial planning and career exploration to young people. The program includes four weeks of classroom curriculum, followed by a day of experiential learning where students put their knowledge to use as “adults for a day” in a simulated city.
In 2006, COF and JA decided to join forces, and have been bringing the JA Finance Park program to children across the country in a variety of platforms (mobile, site-based and virtual) ever since.
What The Partnership Has Accomplished
The first partnership activity was making the JA Finance Park experiential learning facility more affordable and accessible, so that the program could be delivered in more JA markets. COF and JA tackled this problem by making the experiential portion of the program easier to deliver: first with a retrofitted traveling trailer, next with mobile exhibition displays that could pop up in community centers or vacant store fronts, and finally by JA Finance Park Virtual, an online simulation currently serving students and teachers in more than 20 markets.
Additionally, COF and JA of the National Capital Area built two permanent JA Finance Park facilities that support entire districts.
Why This Project Makes Sense
Since 2006, more than 200,000 students across the country have become financially literate through COF and JA’s partnership in the JA Finance Park program, and some 11,000 COF associates have volunteered with mobile and site-based facilities.
This public-private partnership positions students on a path to developing critical life skills. Recent survey results indicate that COF associates are enjoying the volunteer experience, and that they believe they are making an impact: 98 percent of volunteers say they would recommend the experience to a colleague or friend; while 95 percent of the volunteers believe they had a positive impact on their students.
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and the Superintendent of Fairfax County Schools Jack Dale have applauded the program, and the support of internal senior management at COF has allowed for the continued investment of more than $20 million in the partnership.