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Financial literacy is one of the core values at The Bank of Tioga and because of that we support TS Institute. TS Institute is made possible by The Bank of Tioga’s mission to reinvest 10 percent of its pre-tax income back into the community. The non-profit was created in 2009 to collaborate with school districts and promote financial literacy, with a goal to provide a program to students, in grades K-12, with knowledge to make sound financial decisions. The TS Institute presence is in each market place of TS Banking Group and within that state’s regions including Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Illinois. In 2017, the TS Institute connected individually with students, teachers, and adults over 26,000 times through our classroom visits, teacher workshops, community events and in-school banking programs. 

In the United States today, families are faced with critical financial decisions now more than ever. The TS Institute is a resource to help families handle decisions concerning the economy, education and most importantly, personal finance with expertise. We are taking a long-term approach to solving financial pain while helping create a more financially savvy future generation.

TS Institute expanded to North Dakota with the hiring of Joy Sparks as Financial Literacy Coordinator located at The Bank of Tioga in the fall of 2016. Sparks worked in the Tioga school system before joining TS Institute. She also had a career in pharmaceutical sales before her daughter Kiya was born. Joy, Kiya and Owen, her husband, live in Tioga. 

Below are some of the ways TS Institute is present in the The Bank of Tioga branch areas.

DC Branch

On January 24th the first in-school savings bank in the state of North Dakota opened at the Divide County Elementary School. The Bank of Tioga’s DC Branch will serve students kindergarten through sixth grade. At this branch students can begin saving for their long term and short-term goals. Currently four student tellers were “hired” to help DC Branch clients with their transactions. Read more about this project here.

Real World Camp

At Real World Camp, 9th graders learn practical money skills while enjoying a fun day of activities. Five interactive morning sessions give students the financial skills they will need, then after lunch they play a role-playing game of an adult with a job, a family and a budget in the Real World City. The Real World City is made up of businesses and organizations who set up shop to serve the students in their new adult roles as they confront realistic life scenarios with visits to the shops as they try to stay in their family’s budget. This is the first Real World Camp in Williston, ND. Bismarck is in their eighth year of this great event.

Money Mammals

Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake kindergarten classes are learning from the Money Mammals how to save, share and spend smart. This class includes a lesson and a TS Institute piggy bank for the students to save at home.


The Choices program is designed to help students make positive choices that will increase their career and life opportunities. Eighth graders from Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake schools will learn in this interactive decision-making workshop focused on keeping teens in school, motivating them toward their education and future and introducing them to practical skills to help them succeed.

Junior Achievement

Volunteers in Tioga and Ray will bring Junior Achievement to students in kindergarten to 6th grade at Ray Elementary and Tioga’s Central Elementary for the first time in 2018. Junior Achievement is the nation's largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their futures and make smart academic and economic choices.

Piggy Bank Pageant

Fourth grade students in Tioga, Ray, Divide County and Powers Lake will participate in a Piggy Bank Pageant this spring. Students will learn the power of saving and get to design their own personal bank. The winning designs will be shown at The Bank of Tioga and will get a cash prize to start their savings. 

For more information about these financial activities and more, contact Joy Sparks, The Bank of Tioga at 701.664.3388.