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From Local Need to National Impact

Rooted in Oregon

Financial Beginnings was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2005 by now CEO Melody Bell. Financial Beginnings was launched to educate high school students about all aspects of personal finance.

Shortly thereafter, Financial Beginnings expanded to serve youth adults and adults, and later added programming to educate and empower elementary and middle school students as well as high-risk college students.

Since its inception, Financial Beginnings has taught 150,000 youth and adults in partnership with over 250 schools and nearly 100 community-based organizations throughout Oregon.


Financial Beginnings Oregon believes in strengthening communities through inclusive financial education. Our mission is to empower youth and adults to take control of their financial futures. We provide educational programs that incorporate all aspects of personal finance to give individuals the foundation they need to make informed financial decisions.

Financial Beginnings History

Financial Beginnings was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2005 to fill an education gap that existed in local schools. Despite a growing need in educating young people about personal finance, few area schools at the time offered financial literacy curricula.

Founder and CEO, Dr. Melody Bell, was inspired to launch a financial literacy nonprofit. Through her experience working in several facets of the financial industry, she repeatedly encountered individuals who had failed to properly protect themselves financially, leaving little money for savings and personal security, and delaying life goals such as higher education, retirement, and home ownership.

Firmly believing that sound financial decisions are a result of early education, Bell was determined to create an organization that provides unbiased personal financial education to young people.

Shortly after its founding, Financial Beginnings expanded to serve both youth and adults, adding programming to educate and empower elementary school, middle school, and high school students, as well as high-risk college students, financially-vulnerable populations, and Spanish-speaking participants.

Financial Beginnings launched regionally in 2014 with the opening of its satellite office in Seattle, and then nationally in 2017.

"This program helped me set career and life goals." - Student Participant