Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and the SIFMA Foundation will recognize the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida winners of the Slam Dunk for Financial Education program tonight during the Orlando Magic versus Denver Nuggets game. The youth will be treated to game tickets, a pregame warm-up viewing, an awards ceremony and an on-court halftime presentation for the First Place team.
The innovative Slam Dunk for Financial Education program kicked off on February 14 at the Parramore Boys & Girls Club in Orlando with a visit by basketball great J.J. Redick initiating nearly 60 youth and 20 Bank of America Merrill Lynch associate volunteers in the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game™ competition. The Stock Market Game, which is widely used by 600,000 students each year, introduces youngsters to the financial markets as they learn math, economics and the importance of long-term saving and investing. As a part of the program, teams of 3-5 participants work together to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in real stocks, bonds and mutual funds, learning cooperation, communication and leadership as they manage their portfolios.
Bank of America and Merrill Lynch associate volunteers brought the content to life for Slam Dunk’s youth participants during the 10-week program, coaching and supporting the youth teams at each of the three selected Boys & Girls Club sites – the Parramore, Universal Orlando Foundation and Walt Disney World Branches. Redick offered his star power to the program, encouraging participants to develop life skills through this experience, including how to set goals and work towards them, how to be a team player and most of all, to always plan for the future.
As part of the Orlando Magic’s generous support of the program, participants also had the rare opportunity to visit with Redick at the Tip-Off event, learning about his saving and smart spending techniques. The kids also received game tickets, will attend pregame warm-ups and will be recognized in an awards ceremony and in an on-court halftime presentation.
The Slam Dunk for Financial Education program is a real-world educational experience that teaches personal finance, saving and investing, and also develops youngsters’ critical thinking skills. The program arms youth with the tools and resources to help them achieve their educational, financial and career goals. It is one example of Bank of America’s support for youth financial education and is consistent with the bank’s contribution of time and talent to its local communities through volunteerism.
“By supporting the Slam Dunk for Financial Education program, we believe we are making a solid investment in the future of Orlando youth,” said Bank of America Orlando Market President John Moskos. “Moreover, by starting early in life, we are enabling our next generation to better understand how thoughtful financial planning and decision making can positively impact their future, particularly in prevailing through difficult economic times.”
“It gives us tremendous pride to promote financial education to youth in Orlando in partnership with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Orlando Magic and Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida,” said Melanie Mortimer, Executive Director of the SIFMA Foundation. “By combining a fun and engaging educational program with an iconic basketball team and the real-world input of financial professionals, we’re capturing the hearts and minds of young people, preparing them for life and helping them improve their knowledge and skills.”
Last year, Learning Points Associates, in conjunction with the FINRA Foundation for Investor Education, announced the results of a rigorous nationwide study examining the impact of the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game. They found that Stock Market Game participants scored considerably higher on tests of math and investor knowledge compared to their non-participating peers, and that teachers of the program also improved their financial behavior.