Last September I wrote about a fabulous program – the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge.
The program is a joint effort of the ING Foundation and Girls Inc., the nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. With the help and guidance of trained Girls Inc. staff and ING U.S. employee volunteers, teams of girls ages 12-18 built and managed diversified, real-time portfolios.
Girls-Inc. President and CEO, Judy Vredenburgh talks about the importance of the program:
“We know that the majority of girls will work most of their lives as adults and that many girls we serve lack access to personal financial education and resources. So helping girls acquire the knowledge and skills to shape their financial futures with confidence is central to our mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.”
I love this program for so many reasons. One of the greatest skills we can give all of our kids is the gift of financial literacy. But I believe it’s especially important for girls. So I followed up to see how the program participants were doing, and what ING U.S. and Girls Inc. have in store for the future.
Judy Vredenburgh shared some of the results of the program:
“The girls who have been a part of our program with ING U.S. have demonstrated better understanding of the economy, interest in pursuing a career in business and marketing, the goal of investing while in school and using gains to help with expenses, and interest in taking high level math and finance courses in college.”
Here’s what program graduate Aziza Mustefa, now a student enrolled at Syracuse University, had to say about her experience with the ING Girls Inc. Investment Challenge:
“Girls Inc.’s mission to make every girl strong, smart, and bold has inspired me to achieve great accomplishments. Previous to the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge, I had no intentions or thoughts on investing or even budgeting my money. As a fifteen year old, I thought investing was something you did when you were older.
The ING-Girls Inc. symposium[i] was an opportunity I took advantage of to learn and practice the investment principles, understand the potential of long term financial growth; I experienced the power of setting educational and career goals and developing a financial plan to reach those goals.
This is material we do not learn in the classroom.
Participating in the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge has helped in college because I know how to do simple things with money. Fortunately I can’t say I’m a ‘broke’ college student because I learned to not spend money I don’t have.”
Expanding the program
The program was so successful that it’s being expanded into a new program, ING-Girls Inc. Investing Matters.
Again, here’s Girls-Inc. President and CEO, Judy Vredenburgh:
“We have been thrilled with both the results of the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge and what we’ve learned around how to effectively reach girls with this education. The expansion of the Investment Challenge and launch of the new ING-Girls Inc. Investing Matters component allows us to engage even more girls with these critical skills and deepen our relationship with ING U.S. and their employee volunteers, who are incredibly committed to financial empowerment and our girls.
The expansion allows us to bring investing understanding and exposure to finance and business careers. We look forward to working with ING U.S. to expand the programs’ reach and to continue developing innovative ways to introduce investing to girls.”
Rhonda Mims, President of the ING Foundation and Head of Corporate Responsibility shared ING’s continued commitment to educating and mentoring girls:
“We’re very proud of the program and partnership with Girls Inc. We will continue to measure success and continue to expand the program even more.”
That’s great news for girls and their families as they acquire the knowledge and skills to shape their financial futures with confidence.
[i] Aziza attended the symposium reference in August 2010 with representatives from the four original ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge teams to meet with financial professionals, including ING employee volunteers and a panel of women business leaders)