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Annual camp allows Detroit youth to hone their future investment abilities

General Foundation News

High school students from across metro Detroit learned money management and investment strategies during a nationally-recognized Money Matters for Youth (MMFY) camp session, hosted by The Kresge Foundation’s Investment office on Wednesday, July 17.

Summer interns Evan Marquardt and Basirat Owe speaking with the youth investors.

The program was started 23 years ago by Gail Perry-Mason, a financial expert and best-selling author, who saw that Detroit youth could benefit from more opportunities to leverage their money management strategies in the future.

“We expose them to budgeting, investing, saving—everything that deals with economic empowerment,” says Perry-Mason. “…The purpose is really to teach them that money is a tool— [they should learn] how to use it [for themselves] and how to use it to make this world a better place.”

MMFY is a week-long camp where students attend service and professional development events. The schedule is designed so students also build other necessary skills, like self-confidence and giving to the local community. The Kresge session was one of many events that the campers attended to contribute to this learning.

“We teach them their value. The one thing that they have to learn is how to shake hands, look people in the eyes, and say ‘what is your value?’…They [need to] know the value of themselves before they learn the value of the dollar, and they know the value of each other before they learn the value of the dollar,” explained Perry-Mason.

For the event, Kresge convened a group of some of the best financial experts in Detroit to discuss endowment management, financial literacy, investing and more. The youth investors enthusiastically participated by asking questions and bringing in their personal knowledge. Campers also heard personal journeys from Kresge’s summer interns Evan Marquardt and Basirat Owe, who both pursue finance degrees as college undergraduates.

Venus Phillips, Kresge’s Investment Office Director, during the Endowment Management session.

One youth investor, Terrien Leake II, says that he appreciates “the anticipation of learning something new about money and incorporating that into my life as a young person living in America and getting all these opportunities to further myself in the future.”

One of the final activities for the campers will be a celebratory red-carpet premiere of Disney’s new film The Lion King, which creatively tells its own story about growth and leadership.