UWGCR Launches Danny Dollar Academy Programming

Ty Allen Jackson interactive speaking to a room of children

United Way of the Greater Capital Region Launching Pilot Program to Promote Financial and Reading Literacy & Entrepreneurship Danny Dollar Academy Programming to Be Delivered to Over 100 Children in Albany & Schenectady Counties

January 25, 2022 | Albany, NY — United Way of the Greater Capital Region is announcing the local launch of the Danny Dollar Academy in conjunction with partners at 4th Family and Girls Inc.  The Danny Dollar Academy was co-created by children’s author and motivational speaker Ty Allan Jackson based on his inability to find any children’s books geared toward the subjects of economics, money and entrepreneurship.  Jackson, a prolific children’s author based in nearby Pittsfield, MA, also writes books with Black protagonists based on his experiences with the lack of characters that looked like him represented in children’s literature. 

UWGCR President & CEO Peter Gannon said, “Today is the culmination of an extraordinary effort of many individuals representing many different organizations to bring the Danny Dollar Academy to Capital Region children. Admittedly this is a small step toward something much bigger which is to expand our ability to offer this programming throughout our 7-county territory. I’m grateful to our team at United Way, Ty and our partners at 4th Family and Girls Inc. for their willingness to make this investment to promote the benefits of sound financial practices and entrepreneurship in this proven model that gets results.”

The Danny Dollar Academy program is based on the best-selling children’s book Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire: Lemonade Escapade – authored by Jackson.  As part of Tuesday’s kickoff, Jackson will lead interactive presentations with the children at each program. 

“Out of all the skills our children need to learn to become thriving adults and contributing members of society, financial literacy may be the most important. Yet it’s the one skill not taught in many school nor in many homes. This is why Danny Dollar Academy was created and is making a difference,” said Academy co-creator Ty Allan Jackson. “Every kid wants to grow up rich but sadly many aren’t given the directions on how to become financially savvy. Danny Dollar Academy has changed that.”

As part of the deployment of Danny Dollar Academy, UWGCR sought proven partners who have had demonstrated success using research-based programming to get positive results for Capital Region children.  Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region’s mission is to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold – believing empowered girls develop into achieving women.

"It is critical that girls have an ability to gain confidence around financial literacy. The Danny Dollar program is giving Girls Inc. girls an opportunity to build a foundation of fundamental skills and tools that will help them break barriers surrounding gender and economic disparities,” said  Ashli Fragomeni, Executive Director, Girls Incorporated of the Greater Capital Region. “All girls deserve the ability to assert themselves in a position that enhances their own economic well being, the economic well being of their families, communities, country, and of their world." 

4th Family Inc. is a non-profit based out of Albany, NY that was founded in 2011 by two young African-American males, John Scott and Jahkeen Hoke. The idea of creating a non-profit to address the issues faced by youth in inner-city Albany was originally developed by Jahkeen Hoke as a student at Morehouse College. John Scott became involved following the tragic murder of Eddie Stanly, who John had coached in basketball. Together, John and Jahkeen founded 4th Family Incorporated in 2011.

“Financial literacy is important to our children because one can secure, stabilize, and maintain economic growth in ones future and become their own boss,” said Jesse Smith, Program Director 4th Family Incorporated

Danny Dollar Academy (DDA) is a financial literacy program that was developed in 2016 by the Northern Kentucky Center for Economic Education (NKU CEE) in partnership with Ty Allan Jackson. The DDA program was designed to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship through the children’s book Danny Dollar Millionaire Extraordinaire: The Lemonade Escapade. Ty wrote Danny Dollar to increase reading and financial literacy for underprivileged students in grades 3, 4, and 5. In 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland became a program partner, assisting with curriculum design and development, and piloting DDA with 300 4th and 5th-grade students in Ohio. The program has reached thousands of students in grades 3-6 across 5 states, including Kentucky, Ohio, New York, North Carolina, and Massachusetts.

As part of the program, educators attend a professional development workshop, complete pre-and-post teacher and student assessments, participate in classroom visits, and complete a student-led project that utilizes the financial literacy and entrepreneurship concepts learned throughout the program. As part of the two-hour professional development workshop, educators receive training on implementing the DDA program in their classroom, the program curriculum which includes a teacher guide, and classroom sets of activity materials, and additional resources.


Spectrum News 1