Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit: Project Guidelines


Applications open online: June 15, 2023
Deadline for submission: September 8, 2023
Award notification date: October/November 2023

Apply online via our grants management platform
View a PDF of the grant application


Before starting an application, carefully review the guidelines below and read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

If you have additional questions, contact the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office at 312-280-5045, or

Table of Contents:

  1. About the Project
  2. Award Information
  3. Requirements for Participating Libraries
  4. Eligibility
  5. Application and Review Process
  6. Accessing the Online Application
  7. Key Dates
  8. Contact

I. About the Project

We all need to master the knowledge and skills to make smart financial choices and prepare for whatever the future brings. Thinking Money for Kids, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, strives to teach children and their parents, caregivers and educators about financial topics — like saving, spending, sharing and budgeting — in a way that is both meaningful and fun.

ALA and the FINRA Foundation invite public libraries to apply to receive a Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit, a collection of expertly vetted resources to help libraries offer financial education for children ages 3 to 12, both in the library and in children’s homes.

Approximately 200 public libraries will be selected to receive a Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit (estimated kit value: $2,000). Libraries will keep all kit contents after the grant period ends.

II. Award Information

The Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit contains everything a public library needs to host five different in-person programs that engage kids in financial education topics through age-appropriate play. The programs — designed by educational media specialists and vetted by children’s librarians and financial literacy experts — can be scaled to work in libraries of all sizes and can be led by library workers, volunteers, or teens of varying experience levels, including those with little or no prior experience hosting financial education programming. Following the initial programs, many of the activities can continue to be done by families visiting the library with little or no supervision by library staff.

To continue the learning when children leave the library, each Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit also contains a set of Playaway Launchpad tablets pre-loaded with digital content that aligns with the in-person program offerings. These kid-friendly devices are designed to circulate and do not require an internet connection.

Each selected library will receive the following:

  • All materials needed to host five different in-person children’s programs — such as ready-to-use games, props and other physical materials — for children ages 3 to 12.
  • A set of Playaway Launchpad tablets pre-loaded with digital content that aligns with the in-person program offerings.
  • Program instructions, talking points, related book lists and other resources to assist library workers in planning and hosting the in-person programs.
  • Template promotional materials and digital graphics to assist library workers with marketing the programs and Launchpad tablets to the public.
  • Access to virtual training and a community of practice.

Shipping is free for libraries and coordinated by ALA.

Libraries will keep all kit contents, including Launchpads, after the grant period ends. The estimated value of each kit is $2,000.

III. Requirements for Participating Libraries

All public libraries selected to receive a Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit are required to:

  • Attend one of two synchronous virtual training sessions in July/August 2024 (dates TBD).
  • Host each of the five in-person children’s programs at least once, and preferably twice, during the programming period (September 2024 – December 2025). To ensure that all programming is strictly non-commercial, the programs may not be offered in conjunction with financial services firms, including banks, investment advisers and brokerage firms. All programs must be free to the public.
  • Add Launchpad tablets to library circulation and collect circulation data (i.e. number of patron check-outs).
  • Complete a concise final report form (estimated time to complete: less than 30 minutes).

IV. Eligibility

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.

V. Application and Review Process

ALA will accept online applications for this opportunity from June 15 to September 8, 2023. Applications must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on Friday, September 8, 2023.

Eligible requests will be reviewed by a panel of librarians as well as FINRA Foundation staff and ALA staff. Late or incomplete applications, and applications from ineligible institutions, will not be reviewed.

To access the Thinking Money for Kids Program Kit application, log into our grants management system, ALA Apply. You may download a PDF of the application to review the questions ahead of time. The estimated time to complete the application is 30 minutes.

You must submit your application online through ALA Apply. Applications may not be submitted by mail or e-mail.

If you encounter problems interacting with our online grants management platform due to difficulties with assistive technologies, please email or call 312-280-5045. Please include information about the nature of your accessibility barrier so we can best provide support.

Please only submit one application per library or branch. Different branches in a library system may submit individual applications for each branch that would like to receive its own kit.

VI. Accessing the Online Application

Please note that ALA Apply requires a login that is separate from ALA member login credentials.

New ALA Apply Users: Visit ALA Apply and click on "Create New Account" to complete the ALA Apply registration process and create your login credentials. Be sure to keep this login information for your organization’s records. You can learn more about how to use ALA Apply to submit your application on our How to Apply page.

Not sure if you or your someone at your organization has an ALA Apply account profile? If you think that you or someone at your organization has already registered in the system, do not create a new account. Please contact us at to inquire about an organizational record in ALA Apply.

VII. Key Dates

  • Application Period Opens: Thursday, June 15, 2023
  • Application Deadline: Friday, September 8, 2023
  • Award Notification: October/November 2023
  • Virtual Training (Synchronous): July/August 2024 (dates TBD)
  • Program Kits Distributed: July/August 2024
  • Programming Period: September 2024 – December 2025

VIII. Contact

If you have questions, please contact:
American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office