Where to Invest in a Down Market

BGCAlogosmall.BMP Times are tough for everyone, there's no news there. But for people who already live on society's margins, whose day-to-day existence is filled with the stress of jobs that don't pay a living wage, of single parenthood, of lack of access to healthcare, transportation, healthy food options, etc., times that are always tough are even worse. We all have to make hard choices these days about where we will invest our limited resources, and at these times, we want to make sure that those investments are going to yield the highest returns possible.

As I go out into my own community and ask people to make a contribution to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Kentuckiana, it is nice to know that I go into those conversations armed with the following data from a 2007 Harris Poll:

- 57% of alumni said the Club saved their life.
- Overall, 91% are satisfied with their adult life.
- 61% of alumni became more committed to their education because of Boys & Girls Clubs.
- 28% of alumni would have dropped out of high school if not for Boys & Girls Clubs.
- Nationally, 16% of all students do not go on to graduate from high school, while only 8% of Boys & Girls Club alumni did not finish.
- Nationally, 21% of African American males do not go on to graduate from high school, while only 2% of Boys & Girls Club African American males did not finish.
- Overall, 26% of Boys & Girls Clubs alumni earned a 4-year college degree. This rate is equal to the national benchmark, a remarkable achievement since many Club members come from disadvantaged circumstances.
- 34% of African American Boys & Girls Club male alumni earned a 4-year college degree, compared to the national rate of 16%.
- Overall, Boys & Girls Club alumni mirror the national average for high school graduation and college achievement. Again, this is notable considering the disadvantaged circumstances of many Club members.
- 51% achieved a higher level of education than they thought possible because of their Club

Not a bad payoff, I daresay. At a time of difficult choices, I would argue that it is not hard at all to make the case that the best investment of all is in the youth of America. These people represent the future of our country, so if you are looking for a payoff, why not put your money where your future is? Invest in a kid at your local Boys & Girls Club.

Caroline Heine

Posted at 12:01 AM, Oct 22, 2008 in Youth | Permalink | Comment