The below letter was originally published on the Rapunzl Investments blog.
I am pleased to announce the launch of Rapunzl Cares – a social outreach initiative dedicated to promoting financial literacy and entrepreneurship education in under-resourced communities. By exposing students to investing and breaking down the stock market (which transacts over $40 trillion every year) into digestible content, we knock down barriers which many may have believed to be insurmountable.
Our company’s inspiration for community outreach has existed since our inception. Although, a basic understanding of the financial markets relies upon math we are exposed to in secondary school, financial markets are viewed as dauntingly complex and difficult to navigate. In an era of unprecedented access to information, we see this as an issue, with a solution.
We are excited to announce a formal partnership between Rapunzl Cares and UrbanX Learning, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the opportunity gap for high school youth by providing educators, students and families access to breakthrough innovation.
How Did This Happen?
Since 2016, I have served on UrbanX’s Associates Board and could not be more thrilled to partner with a more inspiring organization. Their mission to eliminate the opportunity gap for low-income students by expanding access and exposure to meaningful opportunities, thus breaking the cycle of poverty resonates with me personally. How does UrbanX transform communities and classrooms?? By providing professional development support to educators and tuition-free blended learning summer immersion programs at the University of Chicago’s Charter School and Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s Bridgescape.
So where does Rapunzl Cares play into their vision?
UrbanX knows that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’: students need to visualize themselves at college and in the workforce, to believe there is a path to success. We believe the same can be said about investing. The stock market is a portal to the world and we must see companies for more than a share price before we invest in them.
In order to understand Facebook’s market valuation, you have to understand the intersectionality of big data, advertising, and the promise of their recently acquired virtual reality companies. When you examine Amazon, we are inevitably introduced to career paths dedicated to coding and logistics; when we delve into Home Depot’s profit margins, we must understand the place of commodities in the overall economy. When we look to invest in Boeing, we first understand airplane costs, the upcoming pilot shortage due to low wages, and arrive at the understanding of an industry.
Ultimately, the stock market is the world in numbers. It can enlighten and empower individuals to see just how much opportunity is in the world; jobs that students have never heard of defining our economy, career paths that don’t materialize because students were not exposed.
We founded the company on the idea that the high returns of Wall Street are trapped in an ivory tower. A tower which the ordinary person cannot scale alone. UrbanX sees the same gap we saw with financial markets, except with student achievement being dictated by zip code, gender, and ethnicity. We are united in a mission to fix a system that controls access and to explore opportunities to improve our community.
Together, we are launching a blended learning program that will guide students and educators view the world through a financial lens.
I.P.O. – Idea, Product, Opportunity – is built on a simple premise: everyone has an idea. However few know how to build a business. IPO takes students from inspiration to opportunity through understanding the stock market, and the ways in which it connects the world. We provide meaningful resources that are intuitive, engaging and take the onus away from educators to know the right answers. It’s our mission to show every class that opportunities abound: that we are powerful in numbers and smarter, together.
I look forward to growing Rapunzl Cares into a transformative source of financial literacy programming. If anyone has comments, suggestions, or synergies to explore, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Until then, all the best,
COO & Director of Rapunzl Cares