Nearly 1,000 eighth grade students gathered at the Goodman Theater in Chicago to celebrate another successful year of the Stock Market Program. The Stock Market Program brings more than 150 Chicago business leaders into 61 Big Shoulders Fund schools to teach the basic concepts of saving and investing, the stock market, and careers in the finance and business sectors.
The Stock Market Program was developed by two Big Shoulders Fund executive committee members, Charlie Bobrinskoy and Jim Hoeg, who sought to share their passion for the markets with the next generation and hopefully inspire another group of traders. Under their leadership, students in the program will build a virtual portfolio tied to actual financial incentives for their school. What began as three schools during the 2008-2009 school year has now grown to 61 elementary schools and two high schools for the 2018-2019 school year.
“As someone who was introduced to the stock market by my dad when I was in 5th or 6th grade, I understand the importance of learning about finance and investing at an early age,” said Bobrinskoy who also serves as vice chairman and portfolio manager of Ariel Investments. “Jim and I are very grateful to all of the teachers who dedicate their time to help make this a meaningful and influential program for the Big Shoulders Fund students who participate.”
This year’s event featured a mock investors meeting from Jennifer McManus, director of Investor Relations at GATX, followed by a career panel that included Ariel Investments’ Malik Murray, Mario Gage and Victoria Bliss.
At the end of the event, the Stock Market Program winner was announced. The school whose portfolio grew the most and won the Stock Market Program Cup was St. Nicholas Cathedral School.
“It was wonderful to see how excited the students were and join them in celebrating the end of a very special learning experience,” said McManus. “I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to share what I’ve learned from my time in the financial industry and hopefully help inspire the next generation of professionals to achieve great things in their own careers.”
Now in its 11th year, the Stock Market Program provides Big Shoulders Fund eighth grade students with a unique opportunity to learn about key aspects of business, such as the financial markets, the importance of managing risk, and personal savings and investing concepts. The students are taught by business and corporate executives from across the greater-Chicago area. Through the Stock Market Program, these professionals have an opportunity to encourage students to get involved in the profession, as well as share their passion, knowledge and expertise with students who otherwise might not have been exposed to such concepts.
Each school in the program receives up to $3,000 that students manage throughout the year, providing them with an invaluable first-hand lesson in the challenges and responsibilities associated with managing and growing real money.
“Big Shoulders Fund believes in making long-term investments in our students in order to help them not only succeed academically but give them the tools they will need when they graduate and enter adulthood,” said Joshua D. Hale, president and chief executive officer of Big Shoulders Fund. “Our Stock Market Program brings educational concepts to life, teaches students valuable skills they can start using today and keep for the rest of their lives, and we are very excited to see what they do with this knowledge in the future.”