Fool Announces Commitment to Eradicate Financial Illiteracy

Dear Fellow Fools,

Last year, we celebrated a decade of Foolish giving through Foolanthropy, The Motley Fool's own interactive, democratic charity drive. (In case you don't know what Foolanthropy is, here's a little background.)

With the kick-off of our 11th year of Foolanthropy, we're making a very significant announcement: The Motley Fool will henceforth align Foolanthropy with our core mission -- to educate, amuse, and enrich -- by focusing our efforts on financial literacy.

And we're aiming high. Specifically, our long-term goal is to ensure that every young person in the world gets a basic financial education. This won't occur overnight, of course. We realize how long the road ahead of us is, and we're looking forward to another decade as interesting as the past one.

We also realize that financial literacy is a crowded field, and we're happy to join the cause toward which companies such as JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP  ) , Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) , and so many others have dedicated their resources. With our determination to raise charitable funds -- and contribute ourselves -- we believe we can add to the work of the many great charities in this category, by offering a novel and Foolish approach to eradicating financial illiteracy around the world.

Why focus on education? In truth, the majority of young people around the world are not prepared to make the most basic financial decisions as they enter adulthood. To make matters worse, American students in particular are barraged by credit card offers when they enter college, among other dangers that set many of them up for a lifetime of debt. This reality is now settling in around the world. By focusing Foolanthropy's resources, we can help bridge a grave gap in education.

Starting today, we begin our call for nominations. If you know of an organization that offers outstanding financial-literacy services for young people, please nominate it on our Foolanthropy discussion board. That includes organizations focused on financial literacy for kids, like 2006 Foolanthropy recipient The National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, as well as financial literacy programs for young people that broad-based organizations have established as part of their general outreach. We'd like to see nominations for programs ranging from entrepreneurship and microcredit, to teaching kids the fundamentals of personal finance and investing. We also welcome nominations for programs helping kids around the globe.

To be a part of Foolanthropy, nominate a charity you think is doing great work in financial literacy. We'll monitor the posts, gauge public support for the pool of candidates, and select as many as five organizations we consider the most Foolish. We'll announce our selections Nov. 21, at which point donations go directly to their coffers. The race ends Jan. 7, 2008. As always, we chip in an extra $10,000 to the organization that raises the most support from our Fool community.

We'll also sweeten the pot with the proceeds from our "My Two Cents Campaign." For every single post to all of our Fool boards in the month of December (and we have many, many boards, with very vocal posters), we donate $0.02 to the pot, to be divided equally among the four charities that do not receive the $10,000 prize.

The tenets that have guided Foolanthropy for the past decade still apply. We look for organizations with long-term, sustainable goals and transparent, sound finances -- the same thing we'd expect of any of our stock picks. To help guide you in your nominations, these are the questions we ask ourselves:

  • Does the organization offer a long-term, sustainable solution, or just a quick and temporary fix?
  • Are its finances transparent and sound?
  • Do our readers support it?
  • Finally, does it provide financial education, amusement, and enrichment?

As with everything we do at the Fool, we like to have fun while we educate and enrich. If the charity takes an innovative approach to problem-solving, it's probably a good candidate.

Again, post your nominations here, along with any discussion you may have on our financial literacy focus, and how we can best serve our long-term goals in this area. Thanks in advance to everyone who participates by nominating, discussing, and/or donating!

Signed,
Carrie Crockett, Co-Chair
David Augenblick, Co-Chair
Tom Gardner, Co-Founder


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