PHILADELPHIA – October 14, 2019 – The FS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of FS Investments, today announced that the FS Financial Scholars Program, now entering its fourth year, has expanded into four new schools for the 2019-20 academic year and now includes all four Philadelphia community high schools. The program is run through a partnership between FS Investments and Bridges 2 Wealth, a nonprofit housed at Penn’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships, and adds another comprehensive educational experience to Mayor Kenney’s Community Schools Initiative, which aims to address unique challenges in Philadelphia neighborhoods through expanded public school offerings. FS Financial Scholars, the marquee program of the FS Foundation, is now in a total of 15 schools.
“Thanks to FS Investments, more Philadelphia students and their families will have the opportunity to benefit from financial literacy and entrepreneurship programming – it’s a perfect example of what we hope to achieve through the Community Schools Initiative,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “These are the kind of successful public-private partnerships our city needs to make our neighborhoods stronger, drive inclusive growth and provide our students a pathway to economic success.”
The Community Schools Initiative in the City of Philadelphia works to better meet the needs of Philadelphia residents by understanding where people need resources most. Students, parents, teachers and neighbors voice their ideas and shape the conversation with an in-school coordinator who addresses the unique challenges of the public school’s neighborhood.
“FS Investments is excited to expand the reach of this proven financial literacy and entrepreneurship program and deepen our commitment to the city of Philadelphia,” said Mike Gerber, Senior Managing Director at FS Investments, President of the FS Foundation and Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania. “We are proud to partner with Penn and support the Mayor’s Community Schools Initiative to help students and families across our beloved city.”
The FS Financial Scholars Program is designed to provide high school students the tools needed to generate greater wealth and achieve financial empowerment. The program uses a combination of in-class financial literacy curriculum and after-school entrepreneurship programming for students, along with evening and weekend-based financial literacy education programming for parents. The program is fully funded by FS Investments and supported by Penn’s Netter Center and Bridges 2 Wealth, the community-based financial literacy nonprofit started by Dr. Keith Weigelt, Marks-Darivoff Professor of Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Jill Bazelon, an instructor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Both FS Investments employees and Wharton School students volunteer to work with high school students in the program.
Earlier this year, the FS Foundation hosted an inaugural “Shark Tank” style business competition for students from participating schools, including two community schools, Murrell Dobbins Technical High School and South Philadelphia High School. Through the program, high school students were mentored by Wharton students and FS employees as they developed business plans and presentations for a product or idea. The contestants presented their plan to a panel of experts that included Harold Epps, Director of Commerce for the City of Philadelphia; Keith Leaphart, Founder of Philanthropos, CEO of Replica Creative and Chair of the Lenfest Foundation; Lara Rhame, FS Investments’ Chief U.S. Economist; Jill Bazelon and Mike Gerber. Winners received $1,000 toward their business ventures, and all participants were given the opportunity to participate in a summer business incubator program at the University of Pennsylvania.
The South Philadelphia High School team submitted a winning proposal that aligns with the program’s goal of furthering educational and professional growth for Philadelphia students. The team, led by Elimane Mamadou, presented a plan to create an online portal for Philadelphia high school students to find career and volunteer opportunities to gain valuable experience and advance their professional goals. Following the event, Harold Epps connected the team with city officials to coordinate resources and further develop their plan.
“Our school’s mission is to create a community in which students are supported and can successfully graduate from high school, which means providing our students with relevant skills that will help them through their education and beyond,” said Kimlime Chek-Taylor, Principal at South Philadelphia High School. “We thank FS Investments for providing our students with financial literacy and entrepreneurship resources and giving them a platform to expand past the classroom and reach their fullest potential.”
About FS Investments:
FS Investments is a leading asset manager dedicated to helping individuals, financial professionals and institutions design better portfolios. The firm provides access to alternative sources of income and growth, and focuses on setting industry standards for investor protection, education and transparency.
FS Investments is headquartered in Philadelphia, PA with offices in New York, NY, Orlando, FL and Washington, DC. Visit www.fsinvestments.com to learn more.
About FS Foundation:
The FS Foundation is the philanthropic arm of FS Investments. It aims to positively impact communities through championing civic leadership, volunteerism and philanthropy at all levels of the firm. Visit www.fsinvestments.com/about/fs-foundation to learn more.
About FS Financial Scholars:
A collaboration between the FS Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania, FS Financial Scholars aims to provide high school students and their families with the tools needed to generate greater wealth and achieve financial empowerment. The program combines in-class financial literacy curriculum, an after-school club focused on entrepreneurship, and evening and weekend financial literacy programming for adults.