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Updated: Apr 1, 2020

10-Year-Old Financial Expert Gives Winning Portfolio Advice to Nonprofit, Sweeps SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® Essay Competition



New York, New York, February 26, 2018 – Many youngsters enjoy raising funds for nonprofit organizations, but 10-year old Carly Krothe wants to manage those funds! This exceptional fifth grader #ElementarySchoolDivision from Serene Hills Elementary in Lakeway, Texas channeled her inner financial advisor to create an investment plan for A Glimmer of Hope Foundation and become the national 1st place winner of SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2017 InvestWrite® competition.


Krothe’s remarkable essay on how to help a nonprofit organization manage its assets for maximum short- and long-term sustainability has positioned her at the top of thousands of students competing nationwide. Should she ever wish to manage her own nonprofit organization, Krothe has the financials figured out!


InvestWrite is a national essay competition that serves as a culminating activity for students taking part in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game™. Now in its 15th year, InvestWrite is generously underwritten by Wells Fargo for the SIFMA Foundation. “Wells Fargo’s commitment to the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite program seeks to build a pipeline for financial capability that starts in elementary school, continues through middle and high school and prepares our next generation for college and careers relying on critical financial decisions,” said Jon Weiss, Head of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management. “We believe Wells Fargo can achieve this goal by partnering with the nation’s leader in youth investor education, the SIFMA Foundation, given its reach of 17 million students to date.”

Vanessa Cooksey, Senior Vice President and Head of Community Affairs for Wells Fargo Advisors

According to Vanessa Cooksey, Senior Vice President and Head of Community Affairs for Wells Fargo Advisors, the grant from Wells Fargo promises to enhance students’ academic ability across important academic and life skills. “The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that millions of adolescents are struggling with low literacy skills and less than half of eighth grade students are performing proficiently in reading, math and personal finance is a call to action for our country,” Cooksey stated. “By combining The Stock Market Game’s impacts on student math and personal financial achievement with InvestWrite’s impact on essential reading and writing skills, Wells Fargo’s commitment addresses the three Rs of education – reading, writing, arithmetic – and financial capability.”



Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the SIFMA Foundation’s acclaimed national financial capability programs engage 600,000 students and 15,000 educators annually with proven impacts in raising students’ math, economics and personal finance test scores and, through InvestWrite, their language arts and writing skills. The 4th-12th graders nationwide who compete each year are reinforcing what they have learned in The Stock Market Game™ an online simulation of the global capital markets that reinforces STEM learning, 21st Century skills, economics, investing and personal finance. Through InvestWrite, students are, in fact, building on what they have learned through their participation in The Stock Market Game, which has reached more than 17 million students since its inception in 1977.


InvestWrite enables students to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits. Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations. They work in groups during The Stock Market Game program and then write their InvestWrite essays individually to reflect their critical thinking, analysis and creative talents.

"SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are transformative programs that prepare students for college, career and life while teaching them about the capital markets and investing,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “Our students do measurably better on math, economics and personal finance tests. They also learn to work in teams, manage change, understand the impact of global economic activity, and become smart consumers ready for financial independence.”

Since InvestWrite was introduced in 2004, more than 215,000 students have submitted essays. Carly Krothe is among the 20,000 participants each year in InvestWrite, which bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning.

Winning InvestWrite essays are chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ understanding of long-term investing, diversification, the global capital markets, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form. Winners receive exciting awards and prizes including laptops, classroom pizza parties, trophies, plaques and banners, and certificates. The first-place national winners in middle school and high school are awarded a three-day all-expense paid trip to New York City, the financial capital of the world, with their teacher and a parent.

The Fall 2017 InvestWrite competition required students to select a nonprofit organization they support and outline a financial plan to sustain the financial future of the organization. Ten-year-old Carly said, “A Glimmer of Hope Foundation’s goal is to reduce poverty in Ethiopia by focusing on providing fresh water, education and health care.” Krothe had recently attended a presentation by one of the organization’s founders. She believes a successful investment strategy for the organization’s assets will come from “investing wisely, protecting it from risk while helping it to grow.” She adds, “I would advise investing in a mix of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. A mixed portfolio provides potential growth but safety from being too vulnerable to one market.”

An independent, double-blind, nationally randomized evaluation conducted by Learning Point Associates (now AIR) found that The Stock Market Game improves students’ academic achievement and personal financial behavior. Students who participated in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game scored significantly higher on mathematics and financial literacy tests than their peers who did not participate. They also found that teachers who taught The Stock Market Game reported that the program motivated them to better plan for their own financial futures. The Stock Market Game has been named the only program that successfully increased scores on the Jumpstart Coalition’s test of high school students’ financial literacy.

Carly Krothe and her teacher, Stephanie Cardarella were honored at a surprise event held on Monday, February 26, 2018 at Serene Hills Elementary, 3301 Serene Hills Drive, Lakeway, TX. Representatives of the SIFMA Foundation, Wells Fargo, the school district and special guests were in attendance.


 

Winning Essay by Carly Krothe:

A Glimmer of Hope

A Glimmer of Hope Foundation’s goal is to reduce poverty in Ethiopia by focusing on providing fresh water, education, and health care. I am a student in the Junior Development program at a local tennis academy and it supports this foundation. I recently attended a presentation by one of its founders. She spoke about Ethiopian women and girls’ “Walk for Water.” Every day the little girls have to walk for hours to get water for their families and village. They fetch the dirty water with a 40-pound jug that is filled, rather than going to school. If A Glimmer of Hope can provide the people in Ethiopia with access to fresh water then the girls can attend school, their health improves, and the village can make a living through farming because they can water their crops and livestock.

According to A Glimmer of Hope Aid for Africa, since the organization’s founding in 2000, it has constructed more than 6,700 water projects, 520 school buildings, and 210 health facilities. Through A Glimmer of Hope’s work, the nonprofit organization has improved 2.5 million lives. As A Glimmer of Hope Foundation’s money manager, I need to invest their money wisely, protecting it from risk while helping it to grow. I would advise investing in a mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. A mixed portfolio provides potential for growth but safety from being too vulnerable to one market.

One stock I would consider buying is 8point3 Energy Partners. It is a good stock to have because it is a yieldco, which is a publicly traded company that owns and operates clean energy structures, and most of the cash they make is returned to the shareholders in the form of a dividend. According to Travis Hoium, an analyst for the Motley Fool, the yearly dividend is $1.06 right now and expected to grow 3% in the next two quarters at the very least. It is a good stock to buy right now because they have “literally trillions of dollars in potential” and the prices are very low. The stock is also attractive because some believe fossil fuels will become scarce, and solar energy causes less pollution. Last, relating to A Glimmer of Hope, solar energy can be used to power water pumps in remote places like Ethiopia, so investing in this yieldco could be a future investment in pumping clean water.

I would also invest some of the foundation’s money in mutual funds. They are a wise choice because they can be a stock fund or a bond fund or even a mixture of both. They aren’t as risky as an individual stock because you own shares of many different companies instead of just one. That way, if one company goes out of business or does poorly, you will not lose all of your money because the other companies might do well. One fund I would definitely invest in is an S&P 500 fund. These funds track the performance of 500 of the biggest companies in the United States. Over longer periods of time, these companies usually grow and make more money. So, the index goes up and the money you invested has a greater value.

The last thing I might invest in are bonds. Bonds are an investment where a company, city, or government borrows money from an investor with the promise to pay you back your money plus interest. Bonds are considered a safe investment because you are guaranteed a certain amount of money each year, unlike a stock that can go up and down. The right investments are important to A Glimmer of Hope because they reduce poverty in Ethiopia. Without money, they couldn’t improve as many people’s lives in Ethiopia. With these stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, A Glimmer of Hope will be able to touch so many Ethiopian lives. As Susan Gale, from A Glimmer of Hope said, “Sometimes even the smallest glimmer of hope can grow into a blinding light that shines over the entire world.”

 

About Wells Fargo Wells Fargo & Company

(NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com/Homeownership) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories. Visit https://stories.wf.com/ Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a separate registered broker dealer and non bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management (WIM) is a division within Wells Fargo & Company. WIM provides financial products and services through various bank and brokerage affiliates of Wells Fargo & Company.

About the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education

The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds, with a focus on youth. Drawing on the support and expertise of the financial industry, the SIFMA Foundation provides financial education programs and tools that strengthen economic opportunities across communities and increase individuals’ access to the benefits of the global marketplace. Notable Foundation programs include The Stock Market Game™, which has served 17 million students since it began in 1977, the InvestWrite® national essay competition, www.investwrite.org, the Capitol Hill Challenge™, and Invest It Forward™. For more information on the work of the SIFMA Foundation, visit www.sifma.org/about/sifma-foundation.

About SIFMA

SIFMA is the voice of the U.S. securities industry. We represent the broker-dealers, banks and asset managers whose nearly 1 million employees provide access to the capital markets, raising over $2.5 trillion for businesses and municipalities in the U.S., serving clients with over $18.5 trillion in assets and managing more than $67 trillion in assets for individual and institutional clients including mutual funds and retirement plans. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit www.sifma.org.

#ElementarySchoolDivision

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New York City, Sept. 12, 2017 – Wells Fargo Foundation today announced a commitment of $500,000 to advance youth financial capability and inclusion across the U.S. This grant is designed to support the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite® program, a culminating national essay competition for The Stock Market Game™, which expands Title I school and minority youth participation in the program.

The announcement comes days after students and teachers from New York City public schools joined leaders from Wells Fargo and the SIFMA Foundation in ringing the Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange. From the podium, they joined onlookers in cheering as Jon Weiss, Senior Executive Vice President of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management, rang the bell, raising awareness of both foundations’ commitment to economic empowerment through financial education.

“Wells Fargo’s commitment to the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite program seeks to build a pipeline for financial capability that starts in elementary school, continues through middle and high school and prepares our next generation for college and careers relying on critical financial decisions,” Weiss said. “We believe Wells Fargo can achieve this goal by partnering with the nation’s leader in youth investor education, the SIFMA Foundation, given its reach of 17 million students to date.”

Jon Weiss, Wells Fargo Senior Executive Vice President of Wealth and Investment Management, and James Byrne, NYSE Head of U.S. Listings, join students from the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite program in the Closing Bell ceremony on Sept. 5, celebrating the commitment of both organizations to financial education. From left to right, students are Kevon Daniel, Mekhi Hernandez, Ariel Telfair and Mya Cox, all attending Cultural Arts Academy.

The SIFMA Foundation’s acclaimed national financial capability programs engage 600,000 students and 15,000 educators including in Title I schools each year with proven success in raising test scores in math, economics and personal finance. InvestWrite goes a step further by incorporating language arts and writing.

In The Stock Market Game, students invest and manage a hypothetical portfolio of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, index funds and cash on a real-world trading platform while learning about the global markets. They develop essential life skills and workplace readiness skills such as teamwork, cooperation, research, analysis and decision-making while enhancing their core academic knowledge.

InvestWrite builds upon the Stock Market Game program with a student essay-writing challenge that strengthens English Language Arts and writing capabilities. InvestWrite participants compose an essay about a long-term, diversified approach to investing, incorporating creative writing, research and analysis, current events, market and industry trends, asset allocation and their key recommendations.

The Wells Fargo grant will help to provide elementary, middle and high schools nationwide with InvestWrite curricula, online and in-person teacher training, and academic standards and correlations. Given the grant’s specific focus on the Title I school population, specialized training and opportunities for teachers in Title I schools will equip them with the programming and materials needed to expand financial capability in their classrooms.

According to Vanessa Cooksey, Senior Vice President of Community Relations for Wells Fargo Advisors, the grant promises to sharpen students’ academic and personal finance skills.

“The National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that millions of adolescents are struggling with low literacy skills and less than half of eighth-grade students are performing proficiently in reading, math and personal finance. This is a call to action for our country,” Cooksey stated. “By combining The Stock Market Game’s impact on math and personal finance skills with InvestWrite’s impact on reading and writing, Wells Fargo is working to improve the three Rs of education – reading, writing, arithmetic – as well as financial capability.”

The initiative includes developing a strategy to increase Title I school participants over the next four years with continued support. A multi-year commitment to expanding InvestWrite could see impact grow by 30-40% in four years for students in Title I schools.

At the heart of InvestWrite is the volunteer engagement of thousands of financial experts and industry professionals each year who serve as judges for the competition. Since the program began in 2004 more than 22,000 volunteers across more than 500 financial firms have served as judges, reading and ranking some 194,000 essays. “Through InvestWrite, Wells Fargo has an opportunity to offer young people a life-changing experience and imagine their futures in business,” said Jimmie Paschall, Executive Vice President of Enterprise Diversity and Inclusion & Strategic Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “It is also a way for hundreds of our team members to volunteer their time with students, and provide financial tools and resources. With this grant, that number is set to grow.”

InvestWrite’s turnkey and rewarding skills-based volunteer activity is conducted entirely online and features a simple rubric provided by the SIFMA Foundation for volunteers to evaluate the essays. Winners receive exciting awards and prizes from SIFMA including laptops, classroom pizza parties, trophies, plaques and banners, and certificates. The first-place national winners in middle school and high school are awarded a three-day all-expense paid trip to New York City, the financial capital of the world, with their teacher and a parent.

After participating in the Closing Bell ceremony, students from the SIFMA Foundation’s InvestWrite program gather outside the New York Stock Exchange with a check from Wells Fargo Foundation, which underwrites the program. Those pictured are: (l-r): Jasmeen Kaur from High School of Economics & Finance; Mekhi Hernandez, Kevon Daniel, Ariel Telfair and Mya Cox from Cultural Arts Academy; Fatoumata Jollah from Fairmont Neighborhood School; Franklin Saeteros from High School of Economics & Finance (top); Claire Pavlides formerly of IS 227 and now at Bard Early College High School; and David Covington from Cultural Arts Academy.

Wells Fargo is a leading proponent for financial capability, having served millions of individuals through its philanthropic and community investments. In fact, Wells Fargo’s Hands On Banking® program is a free financial education program for youth, young adults, seniors, military service members, entrepreneurs, as well as curriculum and resources for educators.

“The SIFMA Foundation is pleased to partner with Wells Fargo to expand financial capability and inclusion for more Title I schools, reaching classrooms and students that otherwise might not have this exposure,” said Melanie Mortimer, president of the SIFMA Foundation. “The SIFMA Foundation believes all students deserve a shot at financial success and bringing them the core knowledge and skills in partnership with Wells Fargo is an essential and very big step towards that goal.”


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Updated: Apr 1, 2020

11-year-old Neel Moudgal uses capital markets savvy to write award-winning essay, placing first in the nation for the SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2016 InvestWrite® competition.


Varsha (Mom) & Vivek (Dad) Moudgal with son Neel Moudgal

Ann Arbor, MI, March 22, 2017 – Researching how companies got started was a great start for Neel Moudgal. The fifth grader, a student at Emerson School, has become a national winner in the SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2016 InvestWrite® competition #InvestWriteWinnerFall2016. Moudgal has been named the first-place winner in the elementary school division #ElementarySchoolDivision. The program challenges thousands of students across the country to consider an investing scenario and make recommendations that incorporate short- and long-term investment goals.

“Neel Moudgal’s research and analysis earned him the SIFMA Foundation’s ‘InvestWrite Genius’ title this school year,” said Melanie Mortimer, President of the SIFMA Foundation. “We commend Neel and his teacher, Ellen Chenier, for this achievement. Helping students better understand our economy, our markets, the role of investors, and how to make good investments will pay dividends for the students, their education, and the economy.”

InvestWrite serves as a culminating activity for 600,000 4th-12th graders nationwide who compete each year in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game™, an online simulation of the global capital markets that reinforces STEM learning, 21st Century skills, economics, investing and personal finance. Since InvestWrite’s inception in 2004, over 200,000 students have submitted essays. Moudgal is among 20,000 students this school year participating in the InvestWrite challenge, which bridges classroom learning in mathematics, social studies, and language arts with the practical research and knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning.

The essay required Moudgal to recommend a business that would make a good long-term investment, describing how the business got its start and has evolved over time. Moudgal focused on Whole Foods, noting that many mutual funds invest in Whole Foods and that it was able to cost-effectively raise capital through a billion-dollar corporate bond issued at 5% interest in November 2015. About his selection of Whole Foods, Moudgal wrote, “I would cautiously recommend adding Whole Foods to your portfolio for the long term. My advice is based on the fact that this company has been in business for over three decades and has grown from a little store in Austin, Texas, to number 181 on the Fortune 500 list.” He added, “they have slowly increased their stock price from a little over $1 per share to $33 per share over the last two decades. The company is putting new products on the shelf all the time.”

InvestWrite enables students like Neel Moudgal to develop the personal financial savvy needed to make practical financial decisions with confidence and gain a deeper understanding of economic opportunities, consequences, and benefits. Students consider real-world events and news, conduct research online, and develop investment recommendations. They work in groups during The Stock Market Game™ program and then write their InvestWrite essays individually to reflect their critical thinking, analysis and creative talents.

Ellen Chenier, Teacher

Moudgal enjoys learning new things and spends his time on robotics, science, math, reading and writing. He has been a member of the school Writing Club since he was in third grade. He has also earned his black belt in Taekwondo. His teacher, Ellen Chenier, who teaches homeroom with Jennifer Kime, said, “InvestWrite allows students to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they gained through participation in the Stock Market Game. The writing competition challenges them to produce high quality, authentic, expository writing.”

Winning InvestWrite essays are chosen through rigorous judging by thousands of teachers and industry professionals who evaluate students’ understanding of long-term investing, diversification, the global capital markets, and factors that drive investments as well as their expression of investment ideas in essay form.

 


 


Winning Essay by Neel Moudgal: The Whole Story of Whole Foods

You may think of Whole Foods as the large grocery store next door selling organic produce. You may think of it as a large building that is blocking your view of the park. You may think of it as the store that sells the best food possible. In reality, Whole Foods started out as a small partnership.

In 1978, 25-year-old John Mackey and 21-year-old Rene Lawson Hardy borrowed money from their family and friends to open a business named SaferWay in Austin, Texas, which eventually became the entity known as Whole Foods. SaferWay began as a natural food store selling organic produce. Organic produce is produce that is grown without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Shortly after opening SaferWay, Mackey and Hardy were evicted from their apartment for using the apartment storage for store supplies. The couple made the decision to move into their store. Since the store was zoned commercial, there was no shower. In the spirit of entrepreneurship, the couple used the Hobart dishwasher with an attached water hose to bathe themselves.

SaferWay was a success! On September 20, 1980, SaferWay merged with another natural foods business called Clarksville Natural Groceries and created Whole Foods, an organic supermarket in Austin, Texas with only 19 employees.

At the time, there were less than six natural produce supermarkets in the US. In fact, Whole Foods was the first certified organic grocer in the US. The store specialized in products that didn’t contain artificial preservatives, colors, flavors etc. The mission of Whole Foods is to sell the highest quality natural and organic products available. Their core values include supporting local and global communities, practicing environmental stewardship and promoting the health of communities through healthy eating education.

In 1984, the company expanded throughout North America and the UK by building new stores and buying other stores that sell natural produce. In 1992, Whole Foods became a corporation. Currently, there are 462 stores in North America and the UK. Whole foods is ranked number 181 on the Fortune 500 list. This means that Whole Foods is the 181st largest company in the USA.

Companies issue bonds to get capital. One of the advantages of issuing bonds is that the interest rate paid by the company to the bondholder is lower than the interest rate charged by the bank. The other advantage is that the company can raise capital without reducing the unit price of the stock. On November 10, 2015, Whole Foods issued one billion dollars’ worth of 10-year bonds with an interest rate of about five percent.

A mutual fund is a collection of stocks and bonds made into a single entity. One of the advantages of a mutual fund is that when the value of one stock goes down, the rest of the stocks and bonds that the fund consists of will keep the value of the mutual fund up. The other advantage of mutual funds is that they are not very expensive. The one thing to remember when buying mutual funds is to get the ones that have a reasonable number of both stocks and bonds. Whole Foods’ stocks are included in multiple mutual funds. Some examples of mutual funds that include Whole Foods’ stocks are Tarkio Fund, Goldman Sachs Dynamic US Equity Instl Fund, and HCM Dividend Sector Plus A1 Fund.

When looking at Whole Foods’ outlook, I could identify their strengths and weaknesses. I determined that their strengths include the sale of high quality products and brand recognition. Their major problem is that product prices are too high and the customers’ impression is that they are not getting a reasonable value for what they pay. Competition is the other problem they face. Regular grocery stores are starting to sell organic food at a lower price. Whole Foods’ strategy to address these problems include creating a new brand called 365 which is a less expensive Whole Food branded product. In fact, they are opening stores that sell just the 365 products. What is not clear is if this strategy will work.

After careful consideration, I have concluded that I would cautiously recommend adding Whole Foods to your portfolio for the long term. My advice is based on the fact that this company has been in business for over three decades and has grown from a little store in Austin, Texas, to number 181 on the Fortune 500 list. They have slowly increased their stock price from a little over $1 per share to $33 per share over the last two decades. The company is putting new products on the shelf all the time. However, their ability to face the challenges I have explained will determine long term success.

 

About the SIFMA Foundation for Investor Education The SIFMA Foundation is dedicated to fostering knowledge and understanding of the financial markets for individuals of all backgrounds, with a focus on youth. Drawing on the support and expertise of the financial industry, the SIFMA Foundation provides financial education programs and tools that strengthen economic opportunities across communities and increase individuals’ access to the benefits of the global marketplace. Notable Foundation programs include the Stock Market Game, which has served 16 million students since it began in 1977, the InvestWrite national essay competition, www.investwrite.org, the Capitol Hill Challenge, and Invest It Forward. For more information on the work of the SIFMA Foundation, visit www.sifma.org/foundation.

About SIFMA

SIFMA is the voice of the U.S. securities industry. We represent the broker-dealers, banks and asset managers whose nearly 1 million employees provide access to the capital markets, raising over $2.5 trillion for businesses and municipalities in the U.S., serving clients with over $18.5 trillion in assets and managing more than $67 trillion in assets for individual and institutional clients including mutual funds and retirement plans. SIFMA, with offices in New York and Washington, D.C., is the U.S. regional member of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA). For more information, visit www.sifma.org.

#ElementarySchoolDivision

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