Thinking Money for Kids Program Kits: Frequently Asked Questions


If your question is not listed below, please email ALA's Public Programs Office.

1. Eligibility and Participant Requirements
2. Application Process
3. Programming Requirements
4. Questions and Contact

Eligibility and Participant Requirements

Q: Which types of libraries are eligible to apply?
A: Public libraries (including tribal libraries and state libraries) located in the U.S. and U.S. territories are eligible. Individuals and federal entities are not eligible to apply.

Q: Do I need to be an ALA member to be eligible to apply?
A: No, an ALA membership is not required in order to apply for this grant.

Q: How many libraries will be awarded?
A: Approximately 200 public libraries will be selected to receive a Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit.

Q: Will training be provided for grantee libraries?
A: Yes. Virtual training will cover the kit contents, programming instructions, how to operate the Launchpad tablets, and resources available to grantee libraries.

Q. My library has multiple branches interested in submitting an application. Can branches apply individually or should we submit a single application?
A. Branches within the same library system are welcome to submit individual applications.

Application Process

Q: How do I apply?
A: To begin the application process, log in to ALA Apply, ALA’s grants management platform. You can download a PDF of the application to review the questions ahead of time in order to prepare your answers.

Q: Can I see the questions before starting my application?
A: Yes, a PDF of the application is available here.

Q: May applications be submitted in hard copy?
A: No. Applications must be submitted online via ALA Apply, ALA’s online grants management platform. If you encounter problems interacting with our online grants management platform due to difficulties with assistive technologies, please contact or call 312.280.5045. Please also include information about the nature of your accessibility barrier so we can best provide support.

Q. How long will the application take me to fill out?
A. We estimate that the application will take 30 minutes or less to complete.

Q: This is my first time applying for an opportunity through ALA PPO's grants management platform. How do I use the system?
A: Please review our How to Apply webpage. For tips on writing a competitive grant application, we encourage you to watch the Programming Librarian webinar, Grant Writing 101.

Q: Does the ALA Public Programs Office offer support for first-time or less-experienced grant writers?
A: ALA recognizes that libraries that most need financial support are often those with the least capacity to apply for grants due to inadequate resources and staffing. If you feel you need support in developing your application, please request a 20-minute phone consultation with a member of the ALA Public Programs Office staff so we may assist you. Please request this consultation by emailing

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: ALA will accept applications between June 15 and September 8, 2023. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on September 8, 2023. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible institutions, will not be reviewed.

Q: Will only successful applicants receive notification about the outcome of the application?
A: No. All applicants will be notified by ALA, regardless of the outcome of their applications. Libraries will be notified via e-mail by November 30, 2023. If your library has not received notification by the stated date, please contact ALA at 312-280-5045 or Note: Ensure you receive messages regarding your application. Emails regarding your application status will come from Please save this email address as a contact to prevent notification emails from being marked as spam.

Q: How will my application be evaluated?
A: Eligible applications will be reviewed by a panel of librarians as well as FINRA Foundation staff and ALA staff. Awards may be made based on merit, library demographic information, geographic distribution and other factors. Public libraries with any amount of financial programming experience (including those with little or no such experience) are encouraged to apply.

Q. What do you mean by “certifying official”?
A. The certifying official who signs off on your application should be anyone with your library who is able to submit applications for funding on behalf of the institution. This may vary depending on the institution but is typically the library director.

Programming Requirements

Q: If selected, when will my library receive the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit?
A: Kits are expected to be delivered to grantee libraries in July and August 2024.

Q: What is the programming period for the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit?
A: The programming period will run from September 2024 through December 2025. Libraries will be expected to host each of the five in-person children’s programs at least once during that time.

Q: What is the ideal age range for the participants of the programs in the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit?
A: The programs were designed for children ages 3 to 12.

Q: How many participants for each of the 5 programs are the kits designed to accomodate?
A: Most of the programs can accommodate anywhere from 2 individual players to 20 players (if played in teams instead of individually). One game can only have up to 8 players since it will be played on two large mats, and one is a puppet show theater, which ideally would have 6-10 players, but can also accommodate more as spectators.

Q: Do you have a list of everything that comes in the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit?
A: ALA and the FINRA Foundation are currently working with media designers from FableVision Studios, as well as a team of librarian advisors, to finalize the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit contents. All components will undergo user testing before they are sent to libraries to ensure that they are effective and durable, so please understand that some details may change. As of June 2023, the kit contains a range of physical items – everything that libraries need to host five different in-person programs, including a party planning on a budget game, a money-themed puppet show complete with a pre-written script, an activity-based game that encourages currency recognition and fosters money math skills, a simulation exploring the costs involved with pet ownership, and a team-based game that challenges kids to build a financially viable farm. Specific components include a puppet stage and characters, items to encourage audience interactivity, paper money, game pieces, various child-friendly program components, a custom-made storage container, approximately 6–8 Playaway Launchpad tablets pre-loaded with digital interactives, and much more.

Q: Do all of the programs have to be held in-person or can they be hosted virtually?
A: The programs are designed to be hosted in-person, either at the library or offsite.

Q: If a multi-branch system applies for the grant as a system, do the 5 required in-person programs need to be held at the same branch or can the programs be spread throughout the different branches?
A: The programs can be hosted at different branches. They can also be offered offsite at schools or community partner locations as well.

Q: What are the Playaway Launchpad tablets?
A: The Playaway Launchpad tablets are kid-friendly devices that will be pre-loaded with digital content aligned with the in-person program offerings. They do not require an internet connection to use. The tablets should be made available for families to check out and use at home.

Q: How many Playaway Launchpad tablets will be included in the program kits?
A: We anticipate that we will be able to provide 6-8 Launchpads for libraries.

Questions and Contact

Q. I have additional questions about my application. Who can I contact?
A. Call the ALA Public Programs Office with any application or grant-related questions: 312-280-5045 or toll free at 1-800-545-2433 x 5045. You can also e-mail