Chicago Nonprofit Moneythink Ignites Support for Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship Education

By May 3, 2011

On May 12, Chicago-based nonprofit Moneythink is hosting an event to gain support for its mission to train talented, dedicated college students to teach high school students in underserved neighborhoods the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and financial literacy.

Moneythink was founded in 2008 by a team of University of Chicago students troubled by the disparity between the relatively wealthy Hyde Park and Kenwood neighborhoods immediately surrounding UChicago and the economically distressed communities just blocks away. Moneythink seeks to break the cycle of poverty in these areas by empowering young people to take control of their financial futures.

Morgan Hartley, lead organizer of Ignition, Moneythink’s fundraising event on May 12, says that the event supports students “helping students to launch companies. We’re training entrepreneurs. We’re training the rising stars of tomorrow through an innovative entrepreneurship curriculum.” Marvin Espinoza, director and editor of the above embedded video, goes so far as to say that “Moneythink is leading a social revolution.” When I asked for specifics, he demurred. But if I had to explain what he meant, it could be that Moneythink is the leader among a wide field of student-driven mentorship programs; it is also one of the first to teach entrepreneurship and financial literacy. Moneythink is P2P edu.

Moneythink’s goal is to raise $30,000 by May 15 to bolster its operations here in Chicago, which have provided a model for more than 9 Moneythink chapters in universities across the country. Since the organization’s founding, Moneythink has trained hundreds of college student mentors and educated thousands of high school students with its innovative curricula.

Stephanie Nealy, treasurer of the City of Chicago, is speaking at the event, as is Elizabeth Tinkham, Global managing director of the communications and high tech operating group of Accenture. University of Chicago economist and sometime sports and economics editorialist Allen Sanderson is also speaking.

But the real reason to attend the May 12 event, or any one of the satellite events being hosted elsewhere is to meet the dedicated founding team, the mentors, and the high school student entrepreneurs the organization has reached.

Ignition is May 12 at the Jackson Jungle Gallery at 1389 Milwaukee Avenue. More information about the event, and a brief RSVP form can be found at the event website. If you’re unable to attend but would like to contribute to their mission to empower youth and develop entrepreneurship in underserved neighborhoods, you can do so at the event website.

Flyover Geeks contributor Jason Rowley will be at the event.