Launched in October 2008 in four cities from New York to Los Angeles, ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge is an innovative financial literacy and empowerment program that gives participating girls hands-on investing experience while allowing them to keep their gains in the form of college scholarships.

Over the past year the program has seen great success and was even named one of 13 programs that “will improve the lives of girls and women around the world” at the Fifth Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). The theme of this year’s annual meeting was “Investing in Girls and Women.”.

How the program works

Teams of 13 to 16 girls between the ages of 12-18 are tasked with building and managing diversified, real-time portfolios.  With the help and guidance of trained Girls Inc. staff and ING employee volunteers, the team of girls learn core investing principles such as asset allocation, diversification, portfolio turnover and valuation.  These core principles are intended to encourage sound, long-term investing behaviors. Over the course of the challenge, the teams will begin investing with $20,000 virtual portfolios, which will be supplemented monthly over the course of the year until each team has received a total of $50,000.  Each girl will also be responsible for identifying, researching and presenting at least one investing idea to the team.

The program is offered at Girls Inc. affiliates in New York City, Denver, Los Angeles and Alameda Counties in California. The ING Foundation and Girls Inc. plan to expand the initiative to affiliates in Atlanta and the Hartford, Conn., area in the next year.

The Payout

After three years, 75 % of any gains in the portfolio will be paid by the ING Foundation to the girls in the form of Girls Inc. scholarships for post-secondary education; 25% of the gains will be given to the local Girls Inc. affiliate to support local programming. The original $50,000 principal will then be re-assigned to the incoming team.

About the ING Foundation

The ING Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live.  Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children’s education, diversity and environment sustainability.

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About Girls Incorporated

Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. With local roots dating to 1864 and national status since 1945, Girls Inc. has responded to the changing needs of girls and their communities through research-based programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and understand, value and assert their rights. In 2007, Girls Inc. reached over 900,000 girls through Girls Inc. affiliates, its website,, and educational publications.

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