In an effort to encourage those who typically don't participate in the investment world to get involved, the National Association of Securities Dealers Investor Education Foundation awarded grants to six organizations to increase awareness.
"We are dedicating to funding educational programs and research projects that will put effective and unbiased information in the hands of each and every investor," said Robert R. Glauber, chairman of the NASD Investor Education Foundation and CEO of the NASD.
The grants, which range from $487,342 to $140,880, will go to universities and media outlets. The foundation identified increasing awareness among the "underserved segments of the investing public" as a priority after examining the results of NASD's 2003 Investor Survey. That survey found that women, minorities and older Americans lacked adequate access to objective market analyses and basic information about financial issues.
To help address this information void, the foundation awarded two grants to media outlets. The first, and largest, is a $487,342 grant to American Public Media, which controls public radio stations across the country, in order to develop radio segments and Internet packages, linking investment education and current events. The non-profit, Newton, Mass.-based Education Development Center won a $210,000 grant to develop and produce a series of television video segments entitled, "Calculating Women: Smart Investors." The project will also include a Web-based component.
The remaining grants go to educational institutions, to study trends and develop investor education programs. Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy in Waltham, Mass., won a $403,875 grant to develop a model investor education program targeting civil rights organizations across the country, while Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio won $140,880 to study how race and ethnicity influence investment decisions and develop a program for black and Hispanic groups.
NASD awarded The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., $252,649 to examine how investors perceive the choice between lump-sum payments and annuities, the perceived risk involved and how companies can best address any concerns or misconceptions when communicating with clients.
Besides attracting adults, NASD aims to begin educating the next generation of investors, awarding $147,623 to the National Association of State Board of Education for K-12, which will develop a curriculum to encourage financial literacy among elementary, middle and high school students.
These grants will be followed with another program. The Life-Cycle Investing Program will aim to demonstrate practical examples of how long-term investing can build wealth for the average American. Grant applications for that program are being accepted through April 7.