JA Finance Park and Kids for Colorado Gives teach the value of philanthropy

Students at JA Finance Park plan their household budgets with the help of a JA volunteer

For more than five years, the Community First Foundation and JA-Rocky Mountain have partnered to educate Colorado’s young citizens about the importance of charitable giving.  In fact, the Community First Foundation was the first to step up as a philanthropy sponsor when we launched JA Finance Park in 2011, a hands-on money management simulation for middle and high school students.

During their visit at JA Finance Park, young people have to learn to live within their means and make financial decisions based on a fictitious life scenario. Students learn important lessons about what it costs to run a household, budgeting skills and how to effectively save and spend money.  They also learn about the importance of philanthropy (time and treasure) while visiting the Community First Foundation’s philanthropy kiosk.

Interestingly, more young people than ever are choosing to include philanthropy in their household budget planning at JA Finance Park.  During the 2015/16 school year, 53% of students made a financial contribution to a charitable organization! This is up from 34% who made a financial contribution just two years ago. Students can also choose to volunteer their time for various nonprofits.

“Junior Achievement is all about teaching youth how to effectively manage money and learn how to budget and save in order to invest in the things that are most important to them,” said JA President & CEO Robin Wise.  “Today’s generation is increasingly committed to giving back to the community, and we see that reflected in how they choose to spend their money at JA Finance Park.”

Both JA and the Community First Foundation are committed to helping young people learn how philanthropy fits into their financial futures. The Community First Foundation’s new program, Kids for Colorado Gives, is a new online giving program designed for kids and families. The goal is to provide a kid-friendly website where young donors can experience the joy of giving in a fun, safe environment. The ultimate goal is to foster concern for others and to help children begin a lifetime commitment to charitable giving.

This Colorado Gives Day, why not help the kids in your life begin a journey of financial service and experience the satisfaction of helping others? Donations made on this day are boosted by the FirstBank Incentive Fund. To learn more, go to