In 2008, the Colorado legislature passed a bill requiring Colorado schools to teach personal finance to K-12 students and included financial literacy among the state-mandated educational standards. This opened the door to an unprecedented relationship between the Adolph Coors Foundation and Junior Achievement (JA) – Rocky Mountain, a nonprofit organization that brings business leaders into K-12 classrooms to prepare young people to thrive in the 21st century workplace and global economy by teaching young people to become financially literate, work-ready, entrepreneurial and to believe in the power of their own potential.
With a lead gift from the Adolph Coors Foundation, JA launched a first-of-its-kind three-year demonstration project in 2014, Igniting the American Spirit, to expand free enterprise and personal finance education among low-income students. This project helped show how JA could reach more kids with proven outcomes. In fact, two recent studies conducted by third-party evaluators and a 2016 alumni survey prove JA programs are changing student’s perceptions of themselves and their abilities, increased knowledge of personal finances, and causing predictive behavior change. JA has adopted this model and continues to saturate school districts with financial education.