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UBCO Financial Literacy Club Partners with Change Heroes and Achieves Sucess!

by Mark Ameerali

Last spring, I was looking for an intern from UBCO to assist me in a project I was working on. From the talent pool, I selected a management student named Lee Maingot. I asked Lee if a mentorship program in leadership and financial literacy would be of interest to him and some of his friends. When he said that he was interested, I assembled a small group of students from the management faculty to create what we we now affectionately call the "Financial Freedom Fighters".

Through the summer, this group studied many areas of finance and investing. The experience was so beneficial to the students that they recommended I teach the course at the university. In January, I started running the course at UBCO through the UBCO Financial Literacy Club. I volunteer my time to run this course, but I do require that the students participate in a charitable act/event/effort.

There are about 25 new students in the club, and in order to effectively coordinate a charitable effort, it required an appropriate platform. This is where Change Heroes came in. I had been working on a top-secret financial literacy project, and I was doing some research into Free the Children. Through that research, I found Taylor Conroy and the Change Heroes. I really like Taylor's approach to giving: focusing on the positive instead of going for negative shock value. I love his breakdown and explanation of the 5 components of an effective campaign, along with the user-friendly nature of the platform. The fact that you can make such an impact in such a small amount of time is brilliant: $10 = 1 child educated.

As many of the students didn’t have a lot of money to commit, the Change Heroes platform enabled me to offer and coordinate a mass effort. We were able to study Taylor’s 5 pillars and integrate lessons in the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) and Parkinson’s Law (a task will take the time that you allot to it - we set a 1 week goal to raise $10,000, and we made it!). All in all, it was great experience to run our group campaign as a team. Typically the platform is designed so that a single person finds 33 friends to help raise the money to build a school. Each of my students ran their own solo campaign, and together we contacted hundreds of people. Each student did their part in raising money, and it was all pooled together and monitored by Change Heroes associate Jesse Appleby. Jesse kept me up to date with what was happening on a daily basis and provided the information about the total amount raised and where it was coming from.

We had given ourselves 1 week to raise the money. We started on February 13th, 2013 at 4pm. By 4pm the next week we were $700 short. At 8:15 pm, Amar Purewal, the most successful student running a campaign, secured the last donation that would push us over the top. This was fitting, because at that very moment, I was sitting in the Trinity Baptist Church at Spall and Springfield, listening to Taylor Conroy's talk on global citizenship.

It was an amazing experience for all the students involved, I'm glad for people like Taylor and the Change Heroes creating such a fantastic giving pipeline, and we are glad we did it!

Here is the video recap!

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