Dear Fellow TXWSW:
I was so glad to see many of your at our Fifth Annual State of the Markets event in Dallas last week. I think of this event as Woodstock for our members – it is one occasion where we come together from our respective cities to hear brilliant speakers opine on the markets, and support our philanthropic mission. I want to thank our speakers, our sponsors and Tiffany Ramirez and her Philanthropy Committee for their efforts in making the event a great success!
Aside from the monthly events we host in three cities that support our members in their careers, TXWSW gives back to our community by supporting college preparatory education for underserved girls at 7 schools across the state of Texas. I am often asked “why have we chosen to partner with the FEYW schools?” Well, like many of you, I’m an investment professional with a Wall Street background, so it’s no surprise that the answer, which I’ll get to in a second, is about money.
When it comes to philanthropy dollars, there are so many worthwhile causes out there. The simple reason we have chosen FEYW and a focus on girl’s education is because it is all about return on investment of our philanthropy dollars. Educating a girl today pays dividends – not only will she become a productive member of society, but children born to an educated woman are more likely to be educated themselves. Educating girls raises lifetime incomes for them, their families and their countries. The World Bank found in a study of 100 countries that when 10% more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%. Add to that the statistic that girls & women spend 90% of their earned income on their families versus 30-40% for men, and we have created an opportunity for their families to break the cycle of poverty and reliance on public assistance.
In America today, 40% of all households are headed by women, and 31% of those households headed by a single woman were living below the poverty line. Furthermore, children represent more than 1/3 of the people living in poverty and deep poverty in our country.
So that’s the global and national picture and the key role women hold in it. Let’s talk about Texas.
Today, with the growth in our state, Texas is responsible for educating 1/3 of the US workforce, –stop and think about that for a second — 1/3 of the U.S. workforce! BUT Texas now ranks 49th in per student education spending of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Only Arizona and Nevada spend less on their students. We have a big problem in the making right here in our own backyard.
Texas also ranks third in the nation in teen pregnancies and ranks first in repeat teen pregnancies. Today, one in four girls will drop out of high school – right here in our communities. Female dropouts are a particular economic risk. As compared to their male peers, girls who fail to graduate from high school have higher rates of unemployment; make significantly lower wages; and are more likely to need to rely on public support programs to provide for their families. Let us also bear in mind that women make up 51% of the US population. If we do not change the outcomes for our girls, the aggregate drain on our nation’s economy—through foregone income tax revenue and increased public spending will be substantial.
One of my mentors once said, if you can see it, you can be it, and that is another reason why TXWSW chose a statewide partnership with FEYW. We have the opportunity to show these students a possible career path that they can apply their math and science backgrounds to. And more importantly, we show them how important their education is by raising money for them so they have access to the resources they need to make it to college and break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families.
Additionally, it is immensely personally satisfying to those of us who support FEYW to be able to mentor these wonderful students and watch them as they prepare for college and careers. It is a great pleasure to provide guidance based on our own experiences and to see these young women excel as they navigate and prepare for their adult lives.
In a moment, you will meet the staff and students from the Dallas FEYW school and learn about the amazing life changing work they are doing. These girls and their dedicated teachers are an inspiration – the majority of the students at FEYW schools come from underserved backgrounds, but they show up every day, work hard, and are changing the dismal statistics for girls’ education across our state with outstanding test scores, 100% graduation rates and 100% acceptance rates into 4 year colleges.
Supporting these students on their path to college and beyond is something we would like all of our members to participate in – so whether you would like to be a mentor, participate in a career day or professional clothing drive, we welcome your support. As you know, we have also introduced membership dues this year – all of our revenue after expenses will be donated to FEYW at the end of the year so this will be another way we are able to raise money for them. In addition, we have introduced guest pricing for members who have selected our free membership – the guest pricing means that everyone attending our events will be contributing at least a little to this worthwhile cause.
We all benefit from each other’s presence at networking and education events throughout the year. As our network grows we all find support for our careers and psyches in this amazing group that I am proud to be a part of. This change to our pricing is a way for all of us to give back and show the FEYW students that we think their education is important and support them in their hard work. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for your continued support.
We have a lot of great events coming up this summer and I look forward to seeing you all at an event soon!