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Financial Literacy Fluency

& Economic Empowerment

by ignite > Academic


High School Student

Your teaching has meant more to me than I can possibly express. I have never been more excited than when I was learning from you. Thank you so much for the incredible and powerful presence you have been in my life... I truly feel like you and your teaching have changed my life. Thank you for the joy and passion your classes brought me.

Curriculum Workshop Participant

It was great to enter into your work on this topic—touch into your deep scholarship and practical experiences with curriculum at high school level. I found it fully relevant to our work... Fantastic to be in... conversation on this crucial topic—still pondering. It is a relief to connect with colleagues to pursue this work together.

Adult Student

 Robert was amazing! He is the go-to guy... I was absolutely blown away by his level of expertise and knowledge.

College Parent

Outstanding (and brilliant) tutor. My son, now a college freshman, won't work with anyone else. Builds a great rapport, and his techniques and strategies have helped my son become a stronger student...

High School Teacher

Fantastic vibrancy and enthusiasm... impact on the entire high school... was palpable... knowledge in his field (and many other fields) is extensive, but what is most impressive is the passion and care he takes to present these intricate and important pieces... The students... are eager to take up the next question or challenge.

High School Parent

Helping to unlock my child's potential equipping him to be successful... You will not be disappointed... amazing. Highly recommended!

Who Am I?

Robert McKay, Founder

10+ years in education, advocacy campaigns, entrepreneurship & investing. Compulsive learner, power network, contagious enthusiasm.

And about as grossly unqualified as everyone else to start a company, design a policy, pick an investment, imagine a utopia, or otherwise attempt to disturb the timeline / make a dent in the universe.


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Why a Teen Money Bootcamp?

Young people who want to change the world need to empower themselves with this crucial skillset they don't teach in school.

Money talks, but schools don't teach the language of money. If we're lucky, we might graduate financially literate, but we need to be fluent if we want to master our own financial futures and play our part in solving big economic problems from inequality to climate change.


Financial Fluency and Economic Empowerment Summer (FFEES) is a boot camp gives young people the tools to transform their personal financial lives and our collective economic future.

What will we do at the bootcamp?

We'll hold Q&As with real-world experts in the social enterprise, nonprofit and public sectors. We'll debate fiscal and monetary policies through real-world deliverables like public testimony, op-eds and social media campaigns. And we'll pitch real funders and investors with our policy campaign ideas and social impact business plans.


If you join this first-ever one-of-a-kind program, you won't just be able to wow your friends, future professors, and who knows, maybe future Shark Tank panelists with your financial acumen. You'll build valuable networks and skills for modern distributed knowledge work, collaborating in small teams on projects with real impact, using a state-of-the-art tech stack instead of the clunky software you've probably had to use in school.

How does this bootcamp equip teens for modern careers, entrepreneurship, & civic empowerment?

Participants will form squads based on shared interests and develop their projects for policy change or social entrepreneurship together. Project teams in the same city can arrange to meet for in-person co-working sessions, and folks in the Bay Area will have in-person guided field trip options as well. Just like in a startup you'll join our daily sync meetings from wherever you are, but you and your teammates will have flexibility on how you want to work together, from mostly asynchronous to mostly live on Discord or video, at someone's house or in a local cafe, library or coworking space. Our expert mentors--from entrepreneurs and investors to policy wonks and movement campaigners--will be there to support you, however you choose to hit your deliverables.

How can teens transfer their learnings to college, career & life?

By the end of the session, you'll have a polished pitch you can use in a college application portfolio or submit to contests and youth social entrepreneurship accelerators (which will help you find and connect with). Who knows, you might just have an idea for a campaign, activist group or impact startup you actually want to launch IRL.

Why should I take a risk on a brand-new entrepreneurship program? Why be a trailblazing early adopter?

Well, that's the entrepreneurial question, isn't it? But I have to mention that yes, this is our first year, and because we're so excited to get your feedback and have you co-create an awesome program with us, our first 2023 cohort will get a special rate that won't be available in future years (in fact we plan to double prices for our second cohort) and we're giving away our first five spots in our first cohort 100% free. Applications are open now, we'll process them as they're received, those first five acceptances will be free, and everyone else will get a tremendous break on what this program is eventually going to cost.


Why combine entrepreneurship, finance & economic policy?

Aren't changing the world & making money two different things, even opposed? Well, a lot of people see it that way. Just like we tend to assume we have to pick STEM (useful, potentially mercenary) or humanities (noble, definitely impoverishing), most ambitious students with a knack for finance follow college with either a Masters of Public Administration or a Masters of Business Administration. Either public or business. Either the state or the market. Either altruism or greed. We don't buy these false choices. We want to demo the wall between the MPA track and the MBA track. And we want those ambitious future universe-denters to start now, in high school, to think differently about the ways they can make their mark. Because in the real world of companies & campaigns, the distinctions between disciplines just get in the way. Practitioners seek good ideas and novel perspectives wherever they can find them. And that's rarely in a linear, accredited "learning pathway." Why not start the agile, fail-fast, anti-fragile tinkering & disciplinary cross-pollination now, instead of waiting till you've read the whole textbook? Because by the time you're done and credentialed, it will all be obsolete. We want to make your learning style leaner, faster, wilder, and more omnivorous. In a future moving at the speed of AI and accelerating climate change, that will be table stakes. 

Are there scholarships?

You mean besides the 5 free spots we're giving away, the $100k in coupons we gave out (some of you got here via a QR code on a fake Benjamin we handed you on the street) & the pricing that's a fraction of our nearest competitor's, right? Not yet. We're brand new and have no investors, grants or support of any kind. But, because we're critical economics people who care a ton about equity in the human and not just the financial sense, we would really love to fund some solidarity scholarships, so please let us know in the short initial application form whether you're interested in receiving or sponsoring one of those.

How else can I be involved?


Also if you are one of the aforementioned entrepreneurs, investors, policy wonks, or campaigners on economic issues, we still have some room to add on mentors and collaborators at various levels of involvement, so you too can fill out the form, let us know who you are, and see if we'd like to share your skills with our first cohort and get your work some free publicity and perhaps some really ambitious and talented future interns too!


So parents, young folks, potential mentors, go ahead and fill out the interest form right now and get your application in line for a shot at one of those free spots; they'll fill up fast! We'll be in touch as soon as you submit the interest form, but also feel free to reach out by phone, email or social media with any questions.

Can't wait to meet you and see what world-changing ideas we can ignite together!

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