ESSER Funds + FirstRoot

Empower Your Students with Participatory Budgeting ✨💸✨

ESSER funding offers a unique opportunity to help your school system recover from the impact of COVID-19. With FirstRoot, you can multiply the impact by empowering students to be involved in the investment decisions.

Want to learn more?

Why FirstRoot is a Great Fit for ESSER

  • FirstRoot gets students involved in decision making with Participatory Budgeting
  • FirstRoot features project-based learning at its best
  • FirstRoot can be run virtually, on any time frame, even in the Summer
  • FirstRoot’s financial literacy focus and methodology is built from the ground up for educational equity

How FirstRoot Works

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.

What is Participatory Budgeting?

Happy students

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

Students and Teacher working on a project

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.

Person adding money into a piggy bank

Students experience true agency and stewardship over their futures, learning through their own experiences how money really works.

“It has been so wonderful to see the students’ enthusiasm for the opportunity to improve their school while exploring design thinking! They are grappling with the real-world challenges of digging into the costs and logistics of project proposals to evaluate their feasibility.”


Participatory Budgeting Teacher & Coach

Purdue Polytechnic High School

Ready to get started?

Our team is ready to work with you on finding the right match between your ESSER funding priorities and FirstRoot’s investment collaboration platform.

Let’s Talk