Financial Literacy for Young Americans (Colorado)

  • Local Projects
  • 1987

In 1984, Bill Daniels read an article in the Denver newspaper about a fifth-grade class that couldn’t get funding to start a business. A successful cable-TV entrepreneur, Daniels decided there ought to be opportunities for young people to learn about money and business. Daniels decided to open a bank for children—a real bank, state-chartered, FDIC-insured, offering a full range of services.

It took a good deal of struggle to win over government regulators lacking Daniels’ vision. In 1987, though, he finally opened Denver’s Young Americans Bank. The world’s only institution of its sort, it only accepts new customers who are 21 and under, offering them savings and checking accounts, loans, credit cards, and ATM cards—as well as instruction in their optimal use, money management classes, classes on entrepreneurship, and financial summer camps. Since its creation, the bank has served 70,000 customers.

In 1990, Daniels added Young AmeriTowne to provide students with hands-on experience in business and civics. Today his nonprofit has four branches spread across Colorado that have given half a million young people practical instruction on the American economic system.