Foolanthropy 2008 is all about impact. We are inspired to help spread financial and economic education by giving our support to one outstanding organization.
View the Foolanthropy 2008 kickoff letter and vote now on which organization you would like to see receive all of our community donations, the Fool's annual $10,000 contribution, and proceeds from the My Two Cents campaign. (For every single post to all of our Fool boards and every CAPS pitch made during December, we donate $0.02 to the overall total!)
Our organization candidates for this year:
1. Corporation for Enterprise Development
For almost 30 years, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) has been combining community practice, public policy, and private markets to open economic opportunities for families on the margins of the economy.
Through CFED's Savings for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) program, at-risk youth learn the practical discipline of saving and receive age-appropriate financial education. Each participant receives an initial deposit of $500 to $1,000, and participant savings are matched dollar for dollar. The proceeds of the accounts are restricted for attending college, starting a business, or buying a home.
If selected by Motley Fool members, the SEED program will contribute its Foolanthropy donation to matching funds and financial-education support to disadvantaged young savers in communities across the country. For instance, $1,000 invested for 18 years at a 6% rate of return yields nearly $3,000. With matching funds, a family that deposits $50 per month to the base can save more than $22,000 by the time a newborn in that family would turn 18.
Visit CFED's video gallery to learn more about the SEED program.
With today's public schools often lacking the resources that students need, teachers spend $1 billion from their own pockets every year on supplies. DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to address the inequity. "Citizen philanthropists" can fund specific project requests from teachers.
Through Foolanthropy, you can help to fund DonorsChoose.org projects related to financial literacy, including Financial Literacy: Developing Money "Cents" ($462), Economics: You Do the Math ($353), or A Mathematical Mini-Economy ($154). You choose a project that moves you, and then hear back from the classroom with photos and updates. The organization validates the project request and purchases the resources for the teacher, so integrity is guaranteed.
If selected by Motley Fool members, DonorsChoose.org will activate a "Double Your Impact" campaign. With the Motley Fool adding its annual $10,000 to match donor contributions, DonorsChoose.org would deliver $20,000 to classroom projects.
3. Junior Achievement of the National Capital Area
Children in the District of Columbia face significant challenges. One out of every three children there lives in poverty. Many of the District's youth call dangerous neighborhoods home, and in 2000, 42% of its children were high school dropouts.
The need to stay in school is obvious. A high school graduate makes about 70% more money than a high school dropout does and is less likely to succumb to teen pregnancy or engage in high-risk behaviors such as crime and substance abuse.
JA of the National Capital Area serves the Greater Washington Region by teaching financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, by using hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life.
If selected by Motley Fool members, JA of the National Capital Area will put its Foolanthropy donations toward sponsoring traditional in-class programs: $50 sponsors one local child, $100 provides training for 15 volunteers, $250 sponsors an entire "JA in a Day" class, $500 sponsors 10 local children; and $1,000 supports one local classroom.
4. National Council on Economic Education
The National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) trains educators how to teach economics and personal finance from Kindergarten through grade 12, using high-quality curriculum materials, DVDs, and lesson plans. The NCEE reaches 150,000 teachers nationwide every year. It also advocates for requirements, testing, and assessment in all 50 states.
Teachers are at the heart of the NCEE's mission. They make the difference between having a student learn economics and personal finance in school or letting the student gain lessons the hard way -- in the school of hard knocks.
If selected by Motley Fool members, NCEE will help deliver its programs, such as Learning, Earning and Investing, to students. For every dollar Fools contribute, one student in middle or high school will benefit. The secret is the multiplier effect: Prepare one teacher, and hundreds of kids will benefit for years to come.