I truly believe that my four year tenure can be summed up in 2 themes, “Innovation and Overcoming Adversity.” While preparing to host our 5th annual signature event, March Market Madness the Coronavirus Pandemic began and we were forced to cancel our major fundraising event. Shortly thereafter, SIF made the decision to end their relationship with Johns Hopkins University. There were many discussions with Rebecca and the Executive Committee on whether SIF would have the ability to continue.
We were able to negotiate a separation from JHU and we were on our own for the first time in our organization’s history. In order to survive, we would have to change the way we operated. Our board members started by initiating and developing our Superheroes’ Club. This would introduce SIF to a new generation of donors, volunteers, and board members. With the pandemic still not allowing large gatherings, we needed to be able to fundraise without having our signature fundraising event. We started new fundraisers, such as our trivia nights and cooking classes.
We also needed to innovate our services. Due to the pandemic and the inability to meet in schools in person, many schools were forced to discontinue their relationship with us. We had no choice but to make adjustments to our curriculum. First, we digitized our curriculum to make it entirely online and through the use of video. Next, we translated the curriculum into Spanish so we would be able to reach Maryland’s Spanish speaking students. And now, we are converting our curriculum into a version cater to young adults. These changes will allow us to reach an even greater population and help us to give knowledge to more underserved communities and hopefully contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty for so many people.
Today, Stocks in the Future is in its best financial situation in years and is poised to grow. Our primary mission will always be to serve our middle school students, and we are poised to grow to more communities. For the first time, SIF has expanded outside of Maryland’s borders by entering middle schools in Virginia. We hope to be partnering with other nonprofits to provide our services to adults and teens. We will of course continue our mission to help middle school students learn the importance of investing.
Stocks in the Future would not be here today without all of the help from our donors, volunteers, and sponsors. I would also like to thank all of our board members for their hard work and dedication. Without your efforts, none of these successes would be possible. Your commitment, wisdom, selflessness and hard work was the key to everything that SIF was able to accomplish. Also, the efforts of the Executive Committee, KC, Nick, Preshant, Amir and Melody were invaluable and helped SIF navigate through all of the challenges these last few years. Most importantly, I would like to thank our Executive Director, Rebecca Lange-Thernes. Your ability to implement so many different initiatives, while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization is a marvel. I am so impressed with everything you do.
Finally, I want to wish the best to our new incoming Board President, Melody McCrea. I got to know Melody a few years ago and was so excited when she joined the board. She brings a great energy and is a dynamic leader who will take SIF to even higher levels. I can’t wait to see all your successes to come!