Jamaica Gleaner / Managing Director of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), Marlene Street Forrest, is advising the members of the American Women’s Group (AWG) to use the stock exchange as a way of earning funds for their various charities.
Street Forrest was the special guest at the AWG’s Thanksgiving luncheon last Thursday, held at the residence of the charge’d’ affaires of the United States Embassy, Eric Khant, and his wife Halima.
Street Forrest also urged the AWG to embrace channels such as crowdfunding to garner necessary and continuous capital to finance the educational changes they are seeking.
Commending the women for their assistance to needy students, Street Forrest said the dire lack of facilities and access to basic school provisions for many students is due not to the unwillingness of the parents to provide, but rather their lack of the available means to do so.
“This is the reason why your organisation is vitally important in assisting to fill the void. The per capita income of Jamaicans is just under US$5,000 per person per annum, so herein lies a part of our problem. It is therefore imperative to create sustainable wealth to assist in bridging the gap,” Street Forrest said.
To fund projects and satisfy the insatiable demand for funds, while achieving a sustainable stream of funds, the JSE boss said the JSE could be used as a vehicle for earning funds.
“Female investors have increased their participation in the market; women are seeing the value of the market. Not only have women taken the plunge to invest, but they have also taken the plunge to list their companies on the market. Now, there are companies that are owned and co-owned by women, thus increasing their value post listing,” Street Forrest explained.
She suggested that the AWG consider an element of sustainable giving as part of their fundraising drives. This could be done by starting a club among the membership to invest in initial public offerings and other listed companies, which could also be another way to contribute to the real economy. Street Forrest said long-term appreciation in stock prices should pave the way for future giving.
“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Street-Forest said, encouraging them to also embrace the technology of crowdfunding. “The traditional ways of meeting human demands are changing, younger people are all about technology, so you have to change with that,” she said.
Citing the examples of Uber and Airbnb, Street Forrest suggested that the AWG use the same technology that led to those successes to lead to the mass and expeditious transformation of social capital through effective use of platforms such as crowdfunding. This would remove the emphasis from physical fundraising events through the use of technology.
Now in its 32nd year, the AWG has so far helped more than 800 basic-, primary- and high-school students with tuition and exam fees to the tune of more than $12 million. Working quietly and consistently, the non-profit, nongovernmental AWG began as a social organisation, but expanded to include charitable work to benefit the children and women of Jamaica.