Ariel Education Initiative (AEI) was established to advance educational opportunities in underserved communities through innovative programming, which integrates academic achievement, family involvement and community service. AEI began as a small foundation that endeavored to create a model where financial literacy was prioritized as a vehicle for increased academic achievement and social advancement. Since its incorporation in 1998, the Ariel Education Initiative (AEI) has served as the fiscal backbone of Ariel Community Academy’s (ACA) financial literacy and extended day programming.
Ariel Community Academy
Through former Mayor Daley’s New School Initiative Program, Ariel was awarded a corporate sponsorship of a Chicago public school in 1996. Hence, the birth of Ariel Community Academy – a public school located on the south side of Chicago. Currently, Ariel Community Academy (ACA) offers classes from Pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Ninety-eight percent of the student body is African-American and over 85 percent of the students receive subsidized lunches. The vision for Ariel Community Academy is to be a model community school — where the doors are always open; where teachers, parents and members of the community work in partnership to provide world-class educational opportunities and where financial literacy is not just taught but practiced.
In addition to the mandated Chicago Public School curriculum, ACA has also incorporated a financial education curriculum with a specialized emphasis on investing concepts. A key feature is the Ariel Investment Program (AIP), which grants each first grade class a $20,000 investment portfolio that follows the students until their graduation. In the early years, the $20,000 is professionally managed by Ariel Investments. As students advance through the school’s specialized financial education course, they become actively involved in making investment decisions. Upon graduation in eighth grade, all profits are divided in half. Specifically, one half is given to the school as a class gift from the students, while the other half is distributed among the graduates as cash or matched contributions toward a 529 College Savings Plan, based on individual student preference. In turn, the original $20,000 is returned to the incoming first grade class so that the program can be sustained in perpetuity.
The ultimate goal of AIP is to increase economic and investment literacy within the African-American community and to bring the topic of investing to every dinner table in Black America. The program has been invaluable in teaching kids the importance of investing and financial independence at an early age. It is our hope and desire that every student will be equipped with the knowledge to make sound financial decisions long into the future.
FUTURES: Financially-Literate Kids for a Financially Literate-Society™ is a robust financial education program. We believe that financial literacy denotes proficiency in four areas: personal finance, economics, entrepreneurship and investing. FUTURES sets the stage for a powerful and positive future for the students in your class or family. As an instructor or facilitator of this program, you have the opportunity to challenge, awaken and intrigue your kids to help them discover their current potential and begin to shape their even bigger futures!
That means that I AM THE BEST.
The way that I show that I am the best is through: Good schoolwork, good behavior, good manners, and by being a good friend.
That's what it takes to be an Ariel Student."