CV grad promotes financial literacy

One year after he graduated from Crescenta Valley High School, University of Chicago student Ted Gonder is in the middle of co-founding American Investment Fellows, a national organization aimed at leveling the financial literacy playing field for high school students across the country.

“The youth of America, more than ever before, face economic catastrophe. Unfortunately, most teenagers are financially illiterate. Though America is still the world’s super power, the future of this country depends largely on today’s young students. Therefore it is critical that our youth be endowed with the financial awareness and literacy that they currently lack,” according to promotional information provided by Gonder and the board of American Investment Fellows.

American Investment Fellows is a non-profit educational organization that involves college students as mentors and creates financial investment workshops and a 12-week curriculum for high schools, specifically targeted to urban public schools.

The organization concept was initially created last year by Greg Nance, also a student at the University of Chicago; however, recently, with the aid of Gonder and fellow UC students Shashin Chokshi and David Chen, the concept took form and has already spread to numerous college campuses, including the University of California Santa Barbara and Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo.

Within the next few months, the foursome hope to have American Investment Fellows groups in many of the major universities located within urban centers, such as New York, Princeton, Yale and Duke universities; the University of Southern California, University of Washington and the University of California Berkeley, Gonder said.

Gonder, 19, is well known in the Crescenta Valley community. In addition to being a former champion swimmer with CV High’s swim team and recipient of the school’s Falcon Award, he founded Project Cool Down in 2006, an environmental club for students that quickly spread to about seven other state high school campuses.

Project Cool Down was created to spread information and awareness of global warming and partnered with former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Project for fundraising activities and beach cleanups. The club has since dwindled without his leadership, but is still active at CV High.

“I was the passion behind [Project Cool Down]. There are still three or four schools with clubs, but it has kind of died down,” Gonder said.

Gonder is the son of Wyatt and Hallie Gonder. He’s a native Californian and was born in Altadena. He attended Pinecrest Elementary School in Northridge and transferred to Fremont Elementary School in Glendale for fourth-grade. He later attended Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High.

For more information on American Investment Fellows, visit its website

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