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

June 4, 2018


Alex Eisenberg’s winning essay aims to help a leading nonprofit fulfill its mission through sound financial management, placing him first in the state of Wisconsin for middle school students



New York, New York, April 13, 2018 – Many youngsters enjoy raising funds for nonprofit organizations, but 12-year old Alex Eisenberg wants to manage those funds! This exceptional seventh grader from Golda Meir School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin channeled his inner financial advisor to create an investment plan for the World Wildlife Fund and become the Wisconsin first-place winner of SIFMA Foundation’s Fall 2017 InvestWrite® competition. Eisenberg’s remarkable essay on how to help a nonprofit organization manage its assets for maximum short- and long-term sustainability has positioned him at the top of thousands of students competing nationwide. Should he ever wish to manage his own nonprofit organization, Eisenberg 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.”


 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. Alex Eisenberg 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. Twelve-year-old Eisenberg selected the World Wildlife Fund and said, “They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.” Eisenberg recommended an investment strategy and wrote, “Diversification reduces risk and is the main goal when building a portfolio. We would also invest in socially responsible mutual funds. Socially responsible mutual funds use strategies to maximize financial returns and attempt to maximize social good at the same time. They invest in companies that take care of the environment and treat their employees and customers well.”


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.


The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite are offered in Wisconsin through EconomicsWisconsin, the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education. “We honor and congratulate our InvestWrite winning student and teacher,” said Francis X. Vogel, Executive Director of EconomicsWisconsin. “Helping Wisconsin 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 Badger State economy.”


Winning Essay by Alex Einsenberg:  


I work for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). They are a non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth. Some examples of what they do are when WWF joined forces with Coca-Cola in an effort to help polar bears and their habitats and, in the Northern Great Plains, WWF is partnering with ranchers to help them realize that their key to success is to keep grasslands intact. The work the WWF has done has evolved from saving species and landscapes to addressing larger global threats and forces that impact them. The work they do is important for our planet. They now work around six key areas: forests, marine, freshwater, wildlife, food and climate. This is important to me because nature and wildlife are valuable. I like to hike down to a river by my house and watch the ducks. I’ve been camping and hiking before and want nature to be preserved.


Here at the WWF we want to invest in a safe and responsible way. One way of responsible investing is to look for socially responsible mutual funds. A mutual fund has a fund manager who decides what and what not to invest in. They keep some of the money people invest as their fee. Socially responsible mutual funds invest in companies that support things like the environment, human rights, labor relations, employment equality and community investment. They would not invest in companies that deal with alcohol, gambling, tobacco, weapons or especially, animal testing. Because we are the World Wildlife Fund, we should also try to look at other markets outside of the United States. At the WWF, we try to have diversification in our investing. Having diversification means a collection of different investments such as stocks, bonds and commodities.


Diversification reduces risk and is the main goal when building a portfolio. We would also invest in socially responsible mutual funds. Socially responsible mutual funds use strategies to maximize financial returns and attempt to maximize social good at the same time. They invest in companies that take care of the environment and treat their employees and customers well.


Since the WWF’s mission is so important, we want to invest safely. We do not want to invest in anything too risky that could cause us to lose a lot of money. If the WWF lost a lot of money, they couldn’t accomplish their mission. So, we will invest in bonds and mutual funds. Mutual funds that only invest in bonds are called bond funds, which are conservative. A mutual fund that only invests in stocks are called stock funds, which are risky. A mutual fund that invests in both is called a hybrid fund. The reason WWF will invest in mutual funds is because they are diverse. Diversity helps to reduce risk. Mutual funds are diverse because a fund manager picks many different investments.


WWF’s mission is to conserve nature and reduce threats to Earth. We will invest in socially responsible mutual funds because they have a similar mission. We will try to invest safely and avoid any risky investments.



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 EconomicsWisconsin

EconomicsWisconsin, the brand name for the Wisconsin Council on Economic Education, is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that’s promoted financial literacy and economic understanding since 1963. A state affiliate of the national Council for Economic Education, EconomicsWisconsin provides resources to teachers, students, business professionals and opinion leaders. For more information, please visit www.ewwcee.org.



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.


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