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Where'd that Money Go?

on Wed, 2014-01-01 15:53

A Report from the Principle Quest Foundation

Five grants may have been modest in size, and to paraphrase Mother Teresa, I hope these were small acts of great meaning for the women of all ages!

1. Hunter College's mentoring program has been successfully operating for several years.  Pairing Hunter alumnae/i with Hunter students, the program requires an essay to apply for acceptance into the program, and thus students are highly motivated, all of them eager to learn about a chosen industry or profession. The mentoring officially lasts for the school year and includes training for both mentors and mentees in how to create and maintain a successful mentoring relationship. Most of these relationships continue for many years, and in my own case, I keep in close touch with three mentees with whom I have been matched since 2010. The Principle Quest Foundation has funded a scholarship for a deserving young woman who is accepted into the mentoring program for the 2013-2014 school year.

2. Summer camp for future leaders and philanthropists. The Principle Quest Foundation funded a grant proposal from Grab the Torch to fund scholarships for five high school students to attend the five day camp. Inspriing and inspired, these five young women actively engaged with the mission, and they continue to inspire the Westover community and the rest of us.

3. Sutton Trust has established a remarkable track record in the U.K., and is now launching similar initiatives in the U.S. Their mission is to attain social mobility through education, and the innovative teaching they design and have successfully introduced is closely aligned with the Principle Quest Foundation's mission to support innovative education. Peer to peer tutoring is just one example of documented programs that are attracting the attention of educators in the USA. Let's hope policymakers from the states and federal government will endorse and fund many more of these bold new programs.

4. The Principle Quest Foundation funded a grant proposal from the Westover School to underwrite 34 students who traveled from Connecticut to Wall Street in March. The high school girls had a lively lunchtime discussion on the purpose of finance (good and bad outcomes!)  and discussed how to prevent a bank run (Cyprus was in the news that morning). They then crossed the street for a tour of the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The trip to the NYSE floor was made possible by the Museum of American Finance whose docent then conducted a class on Financial Markets, including the history of a few market crashes! This day on Wall Street complemented the Invest in Girls curriculum the students are taking, which begins in sophomore year and includes a mentor in the 'real world' by senior year.

A sophomore at Westover wrote to thank me for her day on Wall Street:

"Thank you so much for hosting Westover's IIG trip to New York last week! Not only was it incredible to witness the New York Stock Exchange inaction and learn about the Museum of American FInance, it was also so great to meet you and hear your story. I don't think I will ever be able to forget the feeling of pure exultation when I walked into the floor of the NYSE; there was almost a palpable feeling of energy on the floor, and being able to talk to NYSE floor workers in person was incredible. It was a sureal experience and made me realize that finance and business is really what I want to spend the rest of my life doing. It was so great to have lunch with you at the DownTown Association and hearing about how you forged your path in such a male dominated industry. I truly admire what you do; at Westover I am one of the Women's rights club heads, Women's equality is very important to me, and I hope that in the future I will be able to change the men and women dynamic in the business world just as you did.
Serendipitously, the day after our trip I heard a story about the Cyprus bank crisis on the news! After listening to that story, it was really interesting to hear about how Cyprus came to be in the state that it is in today. After researching more about Cyprus, I talked to my dad and decided to get a subscription to the Wall Street Journal! Because of this field trip I realize that it is important to be financially literate.
Thank you again for giving up your day and spending it with us; I will never forget the amazing things that I learned during this trip."

5. This past December four Westover students and the school's Director of Diversity received funding to attend the National Association of Independent Schools' People Of Color national conference held over three days in Baltimore. All five were thrilled to attend along with 1200 others (!) discovering common bonds and eager to bring back their learnings to the entire Westover community. During the 2013-14 school year, Westover is studying 'The Other,' which in case you are not familiar, is a course of inquiry into our human tendency to stick within our own tribe, be fearful and reject those who are different, I.e., the other. More to come soon how this impacts the students and Westover and someday the world…

Foundation monies also funded two retreats held this year for 20 women. Both the April and the November retreats were powerful, importantly maintaining the socio-economic, age and ethnic diversity so critical to a retreat's success. The emphasis on mentoring continues, and the formats have been strengthened by Nancy Kline's book Time to Think and More Time to Think. Using Kline's book as prereading for November's retreat helped the 10 participants to be more engaged in the personal work of one another, and distinguish between giving advice and helping someone find their own answers, which is a huge step forward in any mentoring relationship – or any relationship for that matter.

Happy New Year to all. May 2014 see greater transformation for our world and ourselves!

January 1, 2014