William Coben, '24

November 18, 2021
First Generation Investors Richmond Chapter Helps Shape the Next Generation of Investors

“It is an opportunity for Richmond students to pass on the finance and investing lessons we have learned to a community of high school students who have not been afforded those same opportunities,” shared William Coben, ’24, founder of UR’s First Generation Investors (FGI) chapter. FGI is a non-profit that teaches high school students in underserved communities the power of investing. College student volunteers enroll local high school students and deliver interactive lessons about investing, ultimately guiding them to invest using real funds provided by donors.

Coben’s interest in finance began with his high school’s investments club. His father’s career in finance and older sister’s pursuit of a similar career path piqued his interest. Through his sister’s involvement with FGI at the University of Pennsylvania, Coben met a director of the organization and worked to establish a chapter at Richmond. “Chapters work together to bounce ideas of each other,” he said. “Vanderbilt University’s chapter partners closely with us to maximize the program in the most efficient and successful way.”

The Richmond chapter currently has ten members and is mentoring high school students in California while they work to establish a partnership with an area school. During the 8-week course, Richmond students teach lessons about investing from market basics to compounding interest. Upon completion of the FGI program and graduation from high school, participants are given $100 to invest in their own ETFs or mutual funds. Cary Street Partners sponsors the Richmond chapter.

“Our experience has been tremendous! Everyone within the FGI community is very driven about the mission to help empower the younger generation with financial literacy, and it has been inspiring to work with the UR students with so much passion in working towards the same goal,” said Lissie Stagg, GC'18, head of human resources at Cary Street Partners.

As sponsor, Cary Street Partners has a hand in shaping the chapter’s future. “We plan to have UR students who are involved visit the CSP office to strengthen the relationships we have only started to create. We are exploring the potential for internships for some of the UR students as well as an executive speaker series as we continue to work with these individuals,” Stagg shared. 

The meetings happen weekly, and while they are currently on Zoom, Coben looks forward to hosting high school students on campus in the near future. “I hope we can help expose students to the University and encourage and inspire them to explore and pursue higher education,” Coben said. 

Garrett Clark, ’24, vice president of FGI at Richmond, supports the chapter’s efforts on campus. “I believe FGI's work can be life-changing. The power of investing is something that I was taught at a young age and took for granted, but many people aren't as fortunate. I believe that this knowledge, especially if learned early, can be the difference in very distinct futures regardless of career choice,” he said.

"Our students have a strong desire to make a positive impact in the world," said Mickey Quiñones, dean of the Robins School. "The FGI program gives them an opportunity to put these values into action in our community."

As Coben looks to the spring semester, he is hopeful more students become involved with FGI and in turn, their impact on campus and the local community grows. “We look forward to establishing those connections with local high schoolers to help shape the next generation of investors.” 

To learn more about FGI, follow the Richmond chapter on Instagram: @fgi.riichmond.