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Early, Comprehensive and Trusted: What We’ve Learned about Financial Education


By Danielle Robinson

In 2017, Jackson Charitable Foundation was established with a mission to advance financial education across the United States. From the beginning we knew this critical education must start at an early age. We began partnerships with Junior Achievement USA and Discovery Education to reach elementary students across the country with our signature program Cha-ChingTM Money Smart Kids.

This April, Financial Literacy Month, we celebrate a significant milestone, teaching more than 10 million students basic financial skills — Earn, Spend, Save and Donate!

Five years and 10 million students later, we’ve learned a lot. Through listening to our partners, learning from the teachers we support and strategically planning, our advancement strategy has evolved. Here’s some of what we have learned about financial education at Jackson Charitable Foundation:

  • Teachers agree, starting the conversation around financial skills in a fun but educational manner, at a young age, is important.1
  • As schools navigate what the future of education will look like, quality and meaningful digital curriculum has an important role to play in that conversation.
  • While education is critical, education from parents has the most influence on a student’s financial knowledge.2
  • Personal finance should be taught like other subjects: curriculum that is research-based, consistent, instructed over longer periods of time and focused on long-term behavior change.3
  • Financial education and coaching are most effective when the instructor considers the background and circumstances of the individual.4
  • Teachers newer to teaching personal finance need the most support.5
  • Education that closely precedes a financial decision has more impact.6
  • Communities that have been historically excluded lack trust in financial services and require special attention to ensure meaningful change.7
Cha-Ching -

We have taken these learnings into consideration as we have evolved our support of financial education.

We start the conversation with students at a young age with fun, engaging and easy-to-use digital assets through Cha-Ching. Through short music videos, classroom lessons and family activities, the Cha-Ching band members engage students ages 7-12 to explore financial skills — Earn, Spend, Save and Donate! Now through June 17, 2022, parents and teachers can join the 6th annual Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Pledge Challenge to win $10,000 for their school.

Win $10,000 for Your Elementary School during the Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids Pledge Challenge

Wanted - Teachers new to teaching financial education

We support teachers, especially those new to teaching personal finance, with comprehensive, research-based, semester-long curriculum. Through our partnership with the University of Chicago’s Financial Education Initiative, we are sponsoring 100 high schools with free access to finEDge (developed by University of Chicago Financial Education Initiative in partnership with Magnetar Capital Foundation) and extensive professional development for program educators in the 2022-23 school year.

Apply for access to free high school curriculum and extensive professional development!

Through financial literacy seminars and a Student Ambassador program, the Foundation and the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development (SFEPD) are supporting students at four colleges and universities whose stage of life includes facing significant personal financial decisions and finalizing their career trajectory. SFEPD is an award-winning financial literacy and professional development nonprofit that has been teaching financial skills to people of all ages and backgrounds, with a focus on underserved communities and historically black colleges and university (HBCU) students, for 24 years.

We consider it a great privilege for Jackson Charitable Foundation to continue our mission, listening, learning and supporting the important work of our partners, advancing financial education across the United States.

1Cha-Ching was evaluated by an independent evaluator in 2021, where 97% of teachers indicated teaching financial literacy was either extremely or moderately important to teach students. 68% indicated they use Cha-Ching as a fun, but educational, activity.







Photo of Danielle Robinson
Danielle Robinson
Executive Director, Jackson Charitable Foundation

With more than 10 years experience in corporate philanthropy, Danielle Robinson inspires generosity and community involvement at Jackson. Danielle holds a bachelor's degree in communications and specialization in public relations from Michigan State University. Danielle and her husband, Ryan, reside in downtown Lansing and are both Michigan natives. Danielle can be reached at

The Jackson Charitable Foundation is the charitable-giving arm of Jackson National Life Insurance Company®. The Foundation focuses on work that is national in scope and programs supported may include an indirect cost of up to 3% of the organization's work in the project budget. Local community requests to strengthen families and increase economic opportunities in Lansing, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; and Nashville, Tennessee can be directed to Jackson's Corporate Philanthropy team.