To teach CSUF students about money, the play’s the thing – Orange County Register

Actors and bankers are two groups that don’t typically share the same space, goals, temperament, clothing style or just about anything.

But the two have teamed up to promote financial literacy among young adults. And in the process, the actors also might learn a thing or two about personal finance.

For the fifth year, Bank of America has awarded the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation $20,000 to deliver financial education to the university’s students as well as younger students at nearby schools. One way CSUF carries out this mission is to produce and present a short play starring College of the Arts students.

This upcoming school year, the production will be brand new, taking a more interactive, participatory tack toward presenting information on managing money – and debt – as students edge into the adult world.

“It’s a really nice partnership,” said Dale Merrill, dean of the College of the Arts. Between the educational benefits for students in the audience, the outreach for the bank and the performing experience for the CSUF students, he said, “It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Dale Merrill, dean of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton, says performing artists often are entrepreneurs and need to be savvy in financial matters. (Photo courtesy of Cal State Fullerton)

The production is followed by lessons delivered by Bank of America representatives from “Better Money Habits,” an online resource on personal finance. The bankers don’t push the students to open B of A accounts, Merrill said, but provide a spectrum of options as they drive home such universally sound financial advice as, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The grant is part of a recently announced $610,000 in funding – part of $43 million nationally – to 40 Orange County nonprofits working to improve opportunities for economic mobility in the region. Some of the nonprofits focus on workforce readiness or access to food, shelter, benefits and other basic needs.

The bank said it is driven by a commitment to build a diverse Orange County workforce to help create economic opportunity. With a cost of living 85 percent above the U.S. average, according to 2014 numbers by Sperling’s Best Places, Orange County is one of the least affordable counties in the nation to live in. Financial literacy can help eliminate barriers to economic mobility, according to the bank.

“We’re empowering people by giving them information to make…

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