NASD Investor Education Foundation Announces Grant Guidelines, Solicits Project Applications
Washington, D.C.—Armed with an initial endowment of $10 million, the NASD Investor Education Foundation today formally invited non-profit groups and researchers to apply for funding for projects that will help the Foundation achieve its mission: to provide investors with high quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand investing and the markets.
The Foundation, established as a separate, non-profit organization last December, announced its grant guidelines and application procedures, which are accessible at http://www.nasdfoundation.org/guidelines.asp.
"More Americans are participating in the market than ever before, through mutual funds and individual stocks, and through 401(k) and college savings plans," said NASD Chairman and CEO Robert Glauber. "But many of these investors, particularly new ones, need a better sense of what they should be doing and why. There is clearly a demand for more investor education, as investors realize that financial security depends on making fully informed decisions."
The Foundation is particularly interested in funding projects that address priority areas identified by NASD's 2003 Investor Survey (). Those priorities include educating women and helping young people set financial goals. The NASD survey indicated that these groups tend to have a weaker understanding of fundamental financial issues.
"We are seeing that overall, women and younger investors are not receiving even the most basic messages, and that concerns us greatly," said Mary L. Schapiro, NASD Vice Chairman and President of Regulatory Policy and Oversight. "The Foundation offers an ideal opportunity to find effective ways of getting investing information across so that these groups will understand it and be able to use it to secure their financial futures."
To address its full range of its priority areas, the Foundation is also interested in projects that would:
- Research methods to improve disclosure to investors about investments and financial services.
- Encourage investors to check the backgrounds of financial professionals prior to doing business with them.
- Better prepare older Americans for handling their finances during retirement.
- Advance practice, policy and thought in the fields of investor education and investor protection.
- Expand the body of knowledge and/or provide practical materials that will have a positive impact on investor education or protection consistent with key findings in the 2003 NASD Investor Survey.
The grant initiatives would complement, not replace, NASD's own investor education efforts. NASD will continue to publish its popular Investor Alerts, brochures and online resource guides. The first grant application process begins this month and extends through July 2, 2004. To solicit grant proposals, the Foundation is placing announcements in educational journals and on appropriate Web sites, mailing information packets to appropriate non-profit groups and establishing the Foundation's Web site, www.nasdfoundation.org.
NASD has partnered with the National Endowment for Financial Education to process and conduct an initial review of grant applications. Foundation staff will conduct its own review of applications that meet grant guidelines and make recommendations to the Foundation's five-member Board of Directors. The Board will make the final grant awards. Grant recipients will be announced no later than December 2004.
The Foundation has set no minimum or maximum grant amount. In considering grant requests, the merits of the proposed project will be the primary focus. However, the Foundation anticipates that in 2004, most grants will range from $25,000 to $75,000. Generally, projects should be not less than 12 months nor more than 24 months in duration.
Members of the Foundation's Board of Directors are: Chairman Robert Glauber, who is NASD's Chairman and CEO; David W. Hunter, Chairman of Hunter Associates, Inc., headquartered in Pittsburgh PA; Dallas L. Salisbury, President and CEO of the Employee Benefits Research Institute; Mary L. Schapiro, NASD Vice Chairman and President of Regulatory Policy and Oversight, and Elisse B. Walter, NASD Executive Vice President.
NASD is the leading private-sector provider of financial regulatory services, dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. NASD touches virtually every aspect of the securities business—from registering and educating all industry participants, to examining securities firms, enforcing both NASD rules and the federal securities laws, and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web Site at www.nasd.com.