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Tax ID: 30-0500172
BASED: Oakland, CA, United States



Game Theory Academy

Game Theory Academy has a mission to provide decision-making skills and economic opportunities to low-income youth. Beyond financial education, at Game Theory Academy youth learn the compounding impact of today's decisions on their goals. Using game theory frameworks, more commonly used by corporate leaders to analyze opportunities and competition, the GTA curriculum offers youth a new vocabulary to analyze the opportunities and constraints they face. Youth leave GTA programs knowing how to to take charge of everyday decisions they make about money, education, work, and recreation, so they can achieve their goals.

Game Theory Academy achieves our mission via two programs: Make Your Decisions Count, an afterschool financial education program for youth ages 16-21, and WOW Farm, a job training and business education program. Our programs currently serve 350 youth annually in San Francisco’s East Bay, while teachers nationwide access GTA curriculum materials online.


Relative to their middle-class peers, low-income youth are more likely to become financially independent when they turn 18, raising the stakes of their decisions - financial and otherwise. Further, Game Theory Academy participants are highly vulnerable to systemic factors that perpetuate poverty, such as a lack of access to affordable financial services and exposure to the informal economy. 


Our founding program, Make Your Decisions Count, is a 10-week, 20-hour afterschool course that teaches youth frameworks and skills to calculate how their personal, academic, and employment choices impact their financial security. Participants earn a cash stipend that serves multiple teaching objectives, giving students practice in deferred gratification, while they learn how to use opportunity cost frameworks to analyze real-time decisions. 


The financial lens of our curriculum is a compelling draw for youth who have grown up in poverty, but Game Theory Academy is designed to teach much more than money management: we help youth develop strategic thinking and impulse control at a time when they make life-changing decisions that will have a broad impact on their futures.


Coming of age in a recession, Game Theory Academy students would often plead, “How can we save money when we can’t find jobs?” It was a fair question, so in 2012 we founded a new program, the WOW Farm Internship, to launch young adults into the work world during historic unemployment. WOW Farm now provides 45 youth per year a three-month paid internship in which they learn ecology, agriculture, and the relationship between business, the environment, and society. They grow and sell organic vegetables and flowers to high-end restaurants, and put the Game Theory Academy decision-making toolkit to use on the farm, where they consider a variety of uncertainties (weather, pests, customer demand), as they decide what to grow, where to sell it, and how to spend (or save) their paychecks.

Tax ID: 30-0500172 •

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Giving Tuesday 2016

Giving Tuesday 2016

Amount Raised:



91% Raised of $13,000 Goal

Create youth opportunities on #GivingTuesday!

Create youth opportunities o…

Amount Raised:



107% Raised of $5,000 Goal