Bank of Nevada, First Independent Bank, Green Our Planet and Nevada Department of Education Make Financial Literacy Curriculum Available to Every Nevada Student

May 18, 2022

Every student in the State of Nevada will soon have access to financial literacy curriculum thanks to the combined efforts of Bank of Nevada and First Independent Bank, Green Our Planet and the Nevada Department of Education. 

The educational partnership enables Nevada to become the first state in the nation to make a comprehensive financial literacy curriculum available to every student in grades K-12. 

A $300,000 donation from the Western Alliance Community Foundation - the charitable arm of Bank of Nevada and First Independent Bank, will fund the majority of an online financial literacy academy that can be accessed by public, private, charter and home-schooled students anywhere in the state. Bank of Nevada and First Independent Bank are divisions of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC.

The web-based program will offer grade-specific financial literacy lessons and address the most essential personal finance topics that students will encounter in adulthood.

“It is essential that every student have access to financial literacy education, so they are informed before making major financial decisions as an adult,” said John Guedry, division CEO, Bank of Nevada. “With many challenges facing our educational system, this is one way Nevada can better prepare students for their financial future.”

The Bank of Nevada funding will enable Green Our Planet, operator of the largest and most comprehensive STEM school garden and hydroponics program in the country, to create 65 videos for educators and students to utilize.  Several videos will be available at the beginning of the school year in August and will expand through the school year.  The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) will make the videos available through the statewide Canvas system accessible to every Nevada teacher.  Additionally, NDE will be developing grade-specific testing procedures to measure the effectiveness of the curriculum, understand opportunities to improve student lessons and measure the progress of student groups over the years. 
"At Green Our Planet we are excited to be able to engage students in hands-on entrepreneurship and financial literacy learning through teaching students how to turn their school gardens and hydroponics systems into farmers markets," says Ciara Byrne, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Green Our Planet.  “Essentially, we empower students to manage budgets and run a business with the goal of learning how to manage their own personal finances.” 

The online curriculum allows each student to progress at their own pace. Volunteer bankers and entrepreneurs will teach the financial literacy curriculum via the video library with opportunities for student/teacher interaction with the volunteer financial experts. 

“Today, we celebrate Nevada’s trailblazing work to bring financial literacy education to each and every one of our students, setting them up for success and removing barriers,” said Jhone Ebert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The new curriculum represents countless hours of work and collaboration between Nevada’s experts in business, finance, and education, and further proves what is possible when our communities come together to provide the best for our students.”

Financial literacy is not currently provided to all students K-12, even though students must understand many of the concepts to make informed decisions as adults. The financial literacy video academy will prepare students for a wide-range of financial decisions, including: 

  • Creating a household budget; financial responsibility
  • Creating a personal financial plan and keeping financial records
  • Saving, investing and retirement funds
  • Understanding credit and the incurrence of debt; how creditors utilize credit reports
  • Mortgages
  • Identify theft and fraud
  • Understanding different types of insurance
  • Taxes and how they are computed by local, state and federal entities
  • Creating a higher education plan and career choices; college preparedness; financial aid and scholarships

In 2017, the Nevada Legislature required that financial literacy education be made available to students between third and 12th grade. With input from bankers at Bank of Nevada, Green Our Planet incorporated financial literacy curriculum in its school garden program with plans to expand the program to all students throughout the state.

The donation made on behalf of Bank of Nevada is funded in memory of Chris Gaynor, a long-time Bank of Nevada employee. Gaynor was a board member and enthusiastic supporter of the Green Our Planet school garden program and witnessed the many benefits it provides to students. As a result, Gaynor initiated Green Our Planet’s “Farmpreneur” program allowing 5th graders to create a garden-based business where they must analyze profits and losses, advertise their products and understand their customers. Farmpreneurs put their skills to the test by organizing and participating in the student farmer’s market. Gaynor recently passed away, but is responsible for Bank of Nevada’s ongoing support of Green Our Planet.

About Us

First Independent Bank

First Independent Bank, a division of Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, delivers relationship banking that puts clients at the center of everything. Founded in 1999, First Independent Bank offers a full spectrum of tailored commercial banking solutions delivered with outstanding service. With offices in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Fallon, First Independent Bank is part of Western Alliance Bancorporation, which has more than $70 billion in assets. Major accolades include being ranked as a top U.S. bank in 2023 by American Banker and Bank Director. As a regional bank with significant national capabilities, First Independent Bank delivers the reach, resources and local market expertise that make a difference for customers.

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