Big Sean and HBCU Students Collaborate with Ally Bank to Launch Financial Education Game


Big Sean supports the importance of teaching school kids about financial responsibility. We see this support as he teams up with Ally Bank to launch a financial education game curated by HBCU students. 

As much as finances is an important element of our adult lives, in America we lack the teachings of financial responsibility in our schools curriculum. Due to this, many kids have to rely on the teaching of their care takers or life experiences to give them the knowledge needed to properly manage their own lives. Creating programs that focus on this topic can aid in closing the racial wealth gap. That is where Ally Financial Bank comes in. 

Ally bank is a financial institution that focuses on “banking smarter and simpler while serving our communities.” In 2019 Ally gave four interns from HBCUs a challenge: devise a way to teach middle school kids about money (according to Essence). That is how Fintropolis came to life. They continued to expand on this learning tool by collaborating with Big Sean who has now become the spokes person behind the project. All parties involved are keeping things fresh and relatable.

Launched in August of 2020, Fintropolis has already been downloaded nearly 700k times. This is an extension of the popular online game Minecraft, which is a great way to bring financial tools to young players. “They came up with a boss solution,” Big Sean said. “Fintropolis is just one example of what HBCU students can do when given the resources and platform to support their dreams.”

Data shows that financial literacy rates have been dropping at a shocking rate since 2009. Most Americans don’t have the knowledge about the basic fundamentals of finance. This is normally seen in adults from the age of 18-54. 

“Students who don’t learn how to handle money and make smart financial choices will have a tougher time throughout their lives,” said Smith, who was hired by Ally after he graduated. “Ally challenged us to find a solution, so we dug in and did our homework. We quickly realized to get middle schoolers to pay attention and learn, we had to make it fun and hands-on. I played Minecraft throughout school and knew how much kids of all backgrounds loved it. When we tested our concept on students, I wasn’t surprised to see how quickly they took to it.” 

The four HBCU students who created this game who are identified as Martin, Perry, Smith and Tyner worked with Ally’s concept development lab, TM Studio, and video game developer, Blockworks, to create Fintropolis. The game touches on a wide range of finance including how to earn money, paying taxes, budgeting, building credit, managing debt, and investing.

“The entire journey to launch Fintropolis demonstrates how injecting diverse experiences and perspectives leads to innovative and impactful problem-solving. If we want to promote financial and social inclusion, it starts by bringing a wider spectrum of people to the creation table.”