Making financial education engaging, meaningful and long lasting is a top priority for Colorado State Bank and Trust (CSBT). A long-time JA-Rocky Mountain corporate partner, the bank and its employees are making significant strides in helping young people learn how to manage a budget, stay out of debt, responsibly finance their college education and save for the future. In fact, in 2016, the company launched its Learn for Life initiative, designed to do just that.
“Studies show a large gap between young people’s perceptions regarding money and reality,” said Mike Burns, private bank market executive for CSBT. “The goal of our Learn for Life program is to help young people better understand the basic financial concepts of money management in order to position them for success through their early years and on into adulthood.”
JA-Rocky Mountain is proud to be part of CSBT’s Learn for Life initiative, with bank employees contributing both time and money to help JA students gain the financial skills they need to succeed.
“Colorado State Bank and Trust is a tremendous partner,” said Kristi Shaffer, executive vice president of JA-Rocky Mountain. “Rarely do we have companies engage with our mission in so many different and meaningful ways. They do it all, from teaching JA and inspiring young people, to helping raise money, sponsoring events and providing leadership on our board.”
During the 2016/17 school year, 23 CSBT associates volunteered time to teach JA at Kaiser Elementary School in Denver, Prairie Middle School in Aurora, JA Finance Park and JA Business Week. In June, CSBT sponsored the Ethics Challenge and the CEO in Training sessions at JA Business Week, both of which challenged students to clarify their values and strengthen their leadership and communication skills.
“Different employees gravitate toward different programs, so we really like that JA offers multiple ways for employees to engage,” said Burns. “We consistently find that JA introduces students to concepts and life skills that they haven’t been exposed to in the typical academic setting. It makes me feel like we are really accomplishing something worthwhile.”
While some CSBT professionals work with students, others team up to raise money and bowl with their colleagues at CSBT’s JA Bowl-A-Thon; 31 bowlers raised more than $6,000 in 2017. In June, Mike Burns and CSBT clients also teed-off at the JA Golf Classic, contributing an additional $7,500. Additionally, CSBT supports the JA Stock Market Challenge and the Colorado Business Hall of Fame.
For CSBT, supporting JA isn’t just service; it’s also good business. “We love how JA engages our employees and allows them to spend time doing something worthwhile. It builds camaraderie and teamwork and gives us new community perspectives,” said Tara Rojas, vice president, community relations. “JA and its focus on financial literacy is also core to our Learn for Life initiative and our overall corporate social responsibility platform.”
As a JA board member for five years, Burns lends his skills and experience to help govern the organization and strengthen its focus on evaluating and reporting impact.
“In coming years I hope to help JA continually adapt to changes in the economy and job market, and in response to student and teacher needs, to make certain that JA remains current and relevant, and provides the financial education and work readiness skills that our young people need to thrive in the future,” said Burns.
CSBT has a history of providing financial services to Colorado for more than a hundred years. The bank is a division of BOK Financial, a $33 billion regional financial services company based in Tulsa, Okla. CSBT and its subsidiaries provide commercial and consumer banking, investment and trust services, and mortgage origination and servicing. CSBT has 12 locations in the Denver Metro and Boulder area, as well as mortgage, wealth management and commercial banking services in Colorado Springs. For more information, visit www.csbt.com.