Students create Moneythink chapter
Wei Lin | Thursday, April 3, 2014
Senior John Gore founded and serves as current president of the Notre Dame chapter of Moneythink, an organization founded in 2008 at the University of Chicago that places college volunteers in local high schools to teach students about financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
Moneythink’s mission is to empower the next generation with economics and financial literacy. Mentors go to underserved communities within the United States, such as South Bend, and aim to provide students aged 17 and 18 with financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial skills to succeed in the future, Gore said.
“The Mendoza College of Business is founded on the principle of ‘Ask More of Business’ and this is a great example of asking more of business,” he said.
Gore said Moneythink spans 30 campuses across the United States, has trained more than 600 mentors and provides services for more than 6,000 high school students in underserved communities.
During his study abroad experience in Santiago, Chile, Gore said he spoke with native students from underserved communities in order to improve his Spanish fluency. He said a lot of the students did not know much about banking and finances.
“When I came back, I knew I wanted to do something with sustainability and financial education,” he said.
Gore said he talked to Kristen Collett-Schmitt, assistant professional specialist in Mendoza, about opportunities regarding this idea, and she proposed starting a chapter of Moneythink.
In order to start the chapter, Gore said he first submitted an application to the Moneythink website. He was then interviewed by representatives and attended a summer leadership institute at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with the other chapter presidents and founders.
Junior Sydney Rebne, current vice president of operations, said Moneythink is a unique opportunity for Notre Dame students to combine social service with their interests in business and finance. Notre Dame business students are not only helping these high school students with their financial skills, but they are also solidifying their business acumen and understanding of finance.
Gore said many obstacles were faced in establishing the Notre Dame chapter. The first involved gaining Notre Dame’s approval of the chapter, which was followed by a lengthy wait time. Gore said he was not able to reach out to schools until receiving official approval.
A future obstacle the Notre Dame chapter will face is the development of its campus brand. Moneythink currently consists of a board of directors and faculty advisor Collett-Schmitt, but Gore said the organization is still in its recruitment stage.
The current board of directors will also sit on next year’s board, and Gore said Rebne will succeed him as the next chapter president.
Gore said the chapter plans to finish building the board of directors and lay down a solid recruiting base before reaching out to the local schools in South Bend. In the near future, Gore said the organization hopes to partner with South Bend’s Clay High School and Adams High School.
“I don’t think your background and upbringing should determine your success,” he said.
“This is a really unique opportunity for not only business students but all students of the university,” Gore said. “The curriculum is really easy to understand and anyone can get involved. Not only are you making a social impact, you are also developing your own financial skills.”