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Here’s how it works. After arriving at Finance Park, each student is issued their own debit card and is provided a life profile which includes their salary and family situation. In their “new lives as adults,” they may make $40,000 a year and have two children, and so they must determine how to best live within their means. Should they buy a used car, or perhaps a new one? Can they afford to make investments in the stock market, or should they better use their resources to purchase more house wares? It’s a real life lesson in pragmatism, one they may not have had exposure to before. Throughout the day they visit various storefronts, (participation from partners such as Toyota, Home Depot, and State Farm add to the realism of the experience), making calculations that reconcile their desires to their economic reality, determining if their purchases will allow them to live within their pre-calculated budget. 

JA Finance Park is the culmination of 10 weeks of applied courses such as economics and entrepreneurship that have been undertaken in classrooms leading up to the experience. In the words of Maynard Brown, JA Board member and Director of Crenshaw High School’s Entrepreneurship Academy, JA Finance Park is a “capstone to a greater educational experience” as well as another  “effective tool  to the curriculum that teachers teach.” Brown, a private businessman in 1991, was alarmed when he discovered that only one course in business was being taught at his alma mater, Crenshaw High School. “They were only teaching typing!” said Brown.  He decided to become personally involved and created the Entrepreneurship Academy at Crenshaw High in 1995. Fourteen years and an annual enrollment of 300 students later, his personal contribution now forms the cornerstone of his school’s partnership with JA Finance Park.  As to the merits of JA Finance Park, Mr. Brown has no doubts. “You know you’ve gotten it right when the children tell you themselves.”

With Buchanan’s donation in the amount of $22,500 and a match provided by JA, 3,363 children were able to attend Finance Park from 21 schools this year.  Buchanan Children’s Charities is a strong advocate of Finance Park and the financial literacy initiative to create a brighter future for our nation’s youth.

About Buchanan Children’s Charities
Buchanan Street Partners is a leading real estate investment management firm headquartered in Newport Beach, California.  In 2007, the firm formed Buchanan Children’s Charities, a public non-profit organization, to measurably improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for children.  Buchanan Children’s Charities is a corporate catalyst for communicating to other companies about the value of corporate philanthropy and the opportunities available to make a tangible impact in our communities.