Any youth group can sell candy.
The Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Edmonton took a different approach
to fund-raising this year: They sold shares in the futures of the
For $1,500, payable in three $500 installments over three years,
Edmontonians looking to donate creatively could buy a "Class A
on the club's "Futures Exchange." The immediate reward is a receipt
for tax purposes. But there is a longer-term payoff too - for both
the investors and the young people.
"By the time we turn 35, they get 1 percent of our gross income,"
says teen Carmen Miller, who met her "shareholder" at a recent
luncheon organized by the clubs. "We thought it was a good idea."
"We signed up for it," says Lori Bonneux, like Carmen a
participant in one of the clubs' teen-leadership programs. "And
every year we give them an annual report on what we've done."
The 1 percent commitment, a one-time payment, is a moral rather
than a legal contract. And it's the Boys' and Girls' Clubs that get
the up-front capital, not the kids, though the funds are spent on
But the commitment seems to have got the kids thinking. Says
Carmen, who wants to go into forensic sciences after she completes
her education: "I want to make my shareholder proud of me."
"If I drop out of school," says Lori, who wants to study
psychology and go on to work with children, "I'd be disappointed. I
wouldn't be able to make enough for my shareholder. She'll be
retired by then. I want her to be happy she invested."
Kerry Harty, who conceived the program, thinks it will work
because it's what he did himself as a young man. To help finance his
own education as a "mature student" after he was married, this
high school dropout sold "shares" in himself to the three willing
investors he was able to find: his father and two of his professors.
When he turned 35, he paid them off - with 1 percent of his gross
earnings as vice president of RBC Dominion Securities here, $5,000
(Canadian; US$3,300) apiece.
"The people who bought shares in me were taking a risk," he says.
"This guy could have gone either way."
Of the program at the Boys' and Girls' Clubs, Mr. Harty says, "The
whole idea of issuing a share is to assign value." The kids have
been told that if they get into trouble with the law, for instance,
their share price goes down - figuratively that is, because there is
no plan to have the shares "traded."
But, Harty continues, "we're trying to create a link in the kids'
minds between present and future, to make them realize that the
decisions they make today have an impact on their life at 35. …