Teach kids the power of money.

Traditional financial education is based on hypothetical scenarios that often have little bearing on the reality of students’ lives.

Instead, we teach financial literacy by putting real money in the hands of students. They decide together how to invest that money in their school through a process known as Participatory Budgeting.


Re-write the rules of school funding.

Today, school improvements are largely reliant on taxpayer-funded municipal bonds — an economic dependency that reinforces educational disparity.

We are developing a new, socially responsible financial instrument that breaks the dependence on taxpayer funding — and pays interest.


Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which a group of students determines how to invest a shared budget to improve a school.

PB authentically motivates students to learn and practice the “Four Cs” of the 21st Century curriculum: creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration — all while teaching design thinking, civics and jump-starting their journey to increasing financial literacy. Students experience true agency and stewardship over their futures, learning through their own experiences how money really works.

Participatory Budgeting creates a number of benefits for students, schools, and their communities:

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Gives students a chance to experience democracy in action by providing students with concrete evidence of the benefits of getting involved

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Helps students engage in all aspects of design thinking as they create, refine, vote, and fund proposals

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Strengthens the school community by creating alignment and positive interactions among all stakeholders: students, teachers, parents, and administrators

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Creates self-confidence and civic pride as student-generated proposals are implemented

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Develops financial literacy skills, including budgeting and financial planning

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Watch what happens when our children spend $1 billion in capital to make their world a better place.

$1000 into 1 Million Schools


Luke Hohmann

Luke is one of the world’s leading experts on applying Participatory Budgeting at scale, both in communities and in business settings.

Prior to founding FirstRoot, Luke started Conteneo, an enterprise software platform for collaborative decision making based on game theory.

The author of four books, Luke has been cited as an inventor in more than a dozen patents and is an internationally recognized expert in Agile Software Development.

Luke Hohmann


Alexander Osterwalder

Alexander Osterwalder


Inventor of the Business Model Canvas, co-founder, and lead author of Business Model Generation, which has sold more than a million copies in 30 languages.

Verne Harnish

Verne Harnish


Founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and the Association of Collegiate Entrepreneurs. Co-founder and principal of Gazelles Growth Institute and chair of ”Birthing Giants” at MIT.

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion at FirstRoot

FirstRoot is committed to Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) policies that reflect our belief in the need to respect and celebrate diversity in the workplace and beyond. We value every member of our team, partners, vendors, and users – regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, identity, education, or physical ability.

DEAI at FirstRoot
DEAI in Participatory Budgeting