IU's Virtu Project raises $25,000 for Timmy Foundation
April 14, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Savvy investment strategies and a year of strong growth in the stock market enabled the Virtu Project at Indiana University to triple the money it raised for the Timmy Foundation, an Indianapolis-based global health and development nonprofit organization.
IU student Patrick Onkka measures a woman's blood pressure on a Timmy Foundation medical brigade in Guatemala over spring break.
The project, created and run by students in the Liberal Arts and Management Program at IU Bloomington, is an original social entrepreneurship initiative that uses donor pledges to a mock investment portfolio to raise money.
This Friday (April 16), Virtu Project members will present a check for $25,000 to representatives of the Timmy Foundation, which works to expand access to health care and education for children in poor regions of Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. The check presentation will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Von Lee Building second-floor conference room, 517 E. Kirkwood Ave.
"One of the Timmy Foundation's central ambitions is to support the impoverished in developing countries while concurrently instilling humanitarian values and leadership skills in college students," said Patrick Onkka, an IU Bloomington junior from South Bend and the current president of the Virtu Project. "The Virtu project possesses this same ambition. I think that's why we work so well together."
"We are thrilled to be working directly with Virtu," said Matt MacGregor, the Timmy Foundation's executive director. "Virtu offers students at IU an innovative educational platform to learn, while utilizing their talents to support Timmy's programming. It's exactly the type of hybrid initiative that epitomizes Timmy's mission to expand access to health care and education while empowering students to engage directly in global development."
Matt MacGregor (right), executive director of the Timmy Foundation, explains the foundation's work to IU Virtu Project members.
Students created the Virtu Project and launched it in the fall of 2007 with the goal of performing a valuable service while at the same time gaining experience in investment, management, organization, communications and other skills. In the first year, the market crashed and the mock portfolio lost money, but donors came through and students presented a check for $7,610 to the Timmy Foundation in April 2009.
During the second year of investments -- from December 2008 to December 2009 -- the value of the portfolio increased by 32 percent. Donor commitments are capped at 15 percent of their pledges, a total of $25,000.
Students in the Liberal Arts and Management Program apply to take part in the Virtu Project, typically in their sophomore year. The project this spring has implemented an eight-week curriculum to train participants in making investment decisions and a change in structure to ensure that all members get experience in a range of skills related managing investments.
"I like the fact that we're learning, but we also see concrete evidence of what we're doing," said Virtu Project partner Rachel Eldert, an IU junior from Munster.
For more about the Virtu Project, see http://www.indiana.edu/~virtu/.
The Timmy Foundation was established in 1997 by Dr. Charles Dietzen to help medically underserved children he had met while conducting medical missions in Haiti and India. Working with local partner organizations, the foundation conducts international medical brigades, distributes medical supplies and funding to organizations on the ground, and empowers young people to engage directly in global development.
The Liberal Arts and Management Program is an honors-level interdisciplinary certificate program offered by the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences in cooperation with the Kelley School of Business. It lets students integrate any major in the College with specialized training in management and business concepts. Approximately 100 students are admitted to the program each year.