The George Washington High School Investment Club Launches Student-Managed Endowment Fund to Support School Community
By Teo Manzo, Matthew Joe and Sebastian Haas
The George Washington High School Investment Club, based in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond District, at George Washington High School (GWHS), announced the creation of Eagle Charitable Asset Management (ECAM), a student-managed endowment fund aimed at providing financial support for extracurricular activities at the high school.
The GWHS Investment Club was founded in early 2021 by Teo Manzo, with the goal of filling the gap in students’ education about financial literacy, investing, retirement and gaining a better understanding of what is happening in the world.
Meetings were first held over Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic but have transitioned to in-person. Manzo describes the club as catering to two different audiences.
“On one hand, we aim to provide education to fellow GWHS students who have never even heard of what a stock or index fund is,” Manzo said. “On the other hand, we have also created an outlet for students who have a lot of knowledge of investing and finance to work with like-minded peers.”
The more advanced students of the club have competed in a portfolio-building tournament hosted by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where they built an investment portfolio for a client to meet her financial needs and long-term investment goals. The GWHS Investment Club was also a state finalist team at the California Finance Challenge, where they created a personal finance plan for a family.
To address education, the club has partnered with non-profits such as the Bay Area Financial Education Foundation, where the Investment Club hosted lectures on investing for non-members. They have also partnered with First Generation Investors, a non-profit that teaches an eight-week course on investing for high school students and gives them a $100 portfolio upon completion.
“By partnering with the First Generation Investors non-profit, we are able to expand our financial literacy teachings further, providing a more in-depth and rigorous introduction to the basics of finance,” Sebastian Haas, the vice president of the Investment Club, said. “The $100 portfolio will allow students to kickstart their financial future in the stock market, and using the skills and knowledge gained through our FGI teachings, students will be able to apply their newfound knowledge in their own lives and onwards into the community.”
However, the Investment Club team wanted to take things to the next level and build something truly unique to GWHS and never done before at the high school level. “We wanted to provide an experience usually held behind heavy vetting processes of colleges and universities, unavailable to socio-economically disadvantaged students,” said Matthew Joe, Chief Financial Officer of the Investment Club. The team decided to start their own fund. Manzo recalls how other clubs at GWHS struggled to do the activities they wanted to do because they were too busy fundraising, which gave him the idea to create an endowment fund for extracurriculars at the school.
With the creation of ECAM, the GWHS Investment Club aims to achieve two goals with one initiative: to support the GWHS community and provide students with the opportunity to apply skills learned in class in a real-world setting. Manzo talks about how many of the skills used in portfolio management and investing are also applicable to other disciplines like math and engineering.
“The point of the education of this fund is not that we need more people working in finance, but rather that the skills gained from participating in this fund as a student are skills that are integral to many professions,” Manzo said.
Currently, the fund is beginning its research for its first quarter of investments into long-term and safe mutual funds and equities. The GWHS Investment Club invites anyone interested in donating, giving advice, or any GWHS student to visit its website at https://eagleasset.org/.
Brilliant idea, and model for fundraising for high schools!