The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has announced a $20,000 grant to the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation to promote financial education among students through the musical “MoneyMatters.”
The 35-minute, student-performed musical highlights monetary challenges and offers tips toward financial wellness. The show, which first debuted in April at the Clayes Performing Arts Center’s Hallberg Theater, focuses on six characters navigating college life under varying circumstances, each at an economic crossroads — from poor budget management to a stolen identity.
“Illustrating better money habits to young audiences through the genre of musical theater is the perfect example of blending creativity and social practice, which is what we do best here in the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton,” said Dale Merrill, the college’s dean. “We are grateful to Bank of America for its leadership in financial education and for believing in our ability to create this timely show, ‘MoneyMatters.’ Now we will be able to share this important message and the talents of our students with our community.”
Tim Alexander ’15 (B.F.A. theatre arts-acting) came up with the idea of a financial education production in 2012, while working as a student assistant for the Division of Student Affairs. Its first interpretation was inspired by the Broadway show “Rent.” Bank of America has helped fund the production since it began with an additional $60,000 and has supported other efforts at promoting financial education among Cal State Fullerton students. Bank of America executives teach financial education workshops using BetterMoneyHabits.com, an online education website the bank developed with the nonprofit Khan Academy, to provide easy-to-understand information on a range of personal financial topics such as budgeting, saving and meeting financial goals.
“As college students set out to tackle many of their financial firsts, like paying rent or managing student debt, Bank of America can help prepare them with financial knowledge and tools that will help them in the future,” said Shari Battle, Orange County market manager for Bank of America. “The production developed by Tim is a unique, engaging way to connect with students and by supporting financial education at Cal State Fullerton, we can help empower students to make better financial decisions.”
“MoneyMatters” serves as a practicum of ensemble work for junior B.F.A. theatre arts-acting students while also promoting financial health among students. The goal, explained Alexander, is to create a touring show so that other colleges and high schools may benefit from its lessons.