Investment Planning class donates $15,000 in portfolio earnings to charities
Salve Regina students who have managed a growing stock portfolio as part of an MGT-320 Investment Planning class in fall 2020 donated $15,000 in earnings from the fund during the holiday season and set aside another $30,000 for two sections of the spring 2021 classes to do the same.
Samuel Sacco, professor of business and economics, said the “Doing Good by Doing Well” student initiative is their unanimous response to the current public health crisis, economic distress and hardship being experienced by many families.
The class was started five years ago as a special topics workshop under the guidance of Sacco, and students opened a Morgan Stanley account with an initial $1,000 investment. Students started making real stock purchases based on market and industry analysis and the equity portfolio and has since grown from that initial investment to a valuation over $62,000 in 2020.
“The portfolio has performed well, and this semester’s class decided to spend some of its earnings on charitable initiatives that would support Salve’s Mercy mission,” Sacco said. The students led all discussions on carrying out the initiative, determining which stocks to sell, how much of the portfolio’s earnings to donate and deciding which organizations to donate to — including specific departments within each organization.
Students determined they would divide $15,000 among four organizations, including: Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County ($4,400) to support after-school programs; Martin Luther King Jr. Center ($5,600) to support its holiday food pantries; Boston Children’s Hospital ($4,000) to support its “Extraordinary Needs” and “Every Child” funds; and Year Up Rhode Island ($1,000) to support its jobs training programs.
“I think the class felt that we had a responsibility of lending out a helping hand to entities that face hardships even in perfect conditions, let alone in the middle of a pandemic,” said William Hanna, a senior financial management major who has a double minor in accounting and administration of justice. Hanna advocated to support Boston Children’s Hospital. “I felt that if our class could help even just one family in any way possible, especially during the holiday season, it would make all the difference in the world,” he said.
“We all agreed that because so many people were going through hard times this year with COVID-19 that it would be the perfect time to donate some of the money,” said Samantha Dolan ’21, a financial management major who advocated for supporting Year Up RI.
“Year Up’s mission is to close the opportunity divide by ensuring that young adults gain the skills, experiences and support that will empower them to reach their potential through careers and higher education,” Dolan said. “I wanted the class to donate to this organization because it gives young adults the professional skills needed in the workplace and helps put them on a path to success.”
Tori Bickel ’21, a business administration major and economics minor, advocated to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County because she knows first-hand how the organization helps in the community. “I have previously volunteered there on multiple occasions and I have seen the impact they have on youths,” she said. “It was important to me to give back to the community during these difficult times, especially when the opportunity exists to give back.”
Kelley Coen ’91, a graduate and former Salve Regina employee who serves as director of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs, said she isn’t surprised Salve Regina students made such a heart-felt holiday gesture.
“We were thrilled to receive the call to let us know the Investment Planning class chose the BGC as a recipient of their generous donation,” Coen said. “There are many staff members here, including myself, that are proud Salve alumni. That should come as no surprise as the Salve mission is in direct alignment with ours here at the Club.”
Coen said the impact of the students’ gift is immediate. “Over 70 percent of the club’s annual budget comes directly from philanthropy,” she said. “It is very impressive that the Salve students wish to pay it forward to the youth of our community.”
Sacco said it was an interesting discussion when the class made decisions about their proposed recipients and grant amounts. “The students expressed a strong desire to make contributions to established organizations and programs to have an immediate impact as opposed to providing seed money that may not be used immediately,” he said. “They also were wary of contributing to a single year of a multi-year budget item or partially funding a larger budget item despite their philosophical support of the initiative.”
The Investment Planning course introduces students to the functions performed by financial managers and covers areas of setting investment objectives, determining investment values, types of securities, market procedures, analytic techniques, and regional and global markets. Capital budgeting and planning processes as well as the critical issues of accountability and fiduciary responsibility are stressed.
“I really enjoyed learning about the stock market by analyzing the class’s real investment portfolio and then getting to donate the earnings from the portfolio to causes of our choosing,” Dolan said.
“This class has taught me that earning profit on investments is heavily reliant on a plethora of external and internal factors,” Hanna said. “Professor Sacco has done an excellent job teaching us how to analyze many of these factors in order to earn a profit, but I think the best part of this class was the ability to donate the profit to organizations that have meaningful goals of serving the community. This class has definitely been an important part of my education and I will treasure what the class and Professor Sacco have done.”