Week 7

Legacy Transforming Summer Program

By Lawrence FunderburkeAugust 8, 20239 Minutes

In Week Seven, the Mr. Fundy’s Stock Pro Game took center stage for our in-class activity. This hypothetical investment game provided the young men with another opportunity to gain real-world financial skills while assessing the dynamics of large cap, mid cap, and small cap stocks. Each participant was given $1,000,000 to invest in five companies, which consisted of 10 large cap, 5 mid cap, and 5 small cap options. From banks to airliners to software developers to clothing and apparel manufacturers as well as other industry categories, these young men were given a behind-the-scenes tutorial on how to select winning stocks that aligned with their “familiarity profile.” My wife and I will also gift each young man with one share of stock in a local publicly traded company to get him started down the wealth-building path. Key metrics in the Mr. Fundy’s Stock Pro Game included earnings per share (or EPS), price-to-earnings ratio (or P/E ratio), dividend yield, return on assets (or ROA), and return on equity (or ROE). They were shown how to calculate market share (stock price x shares outstanding). Also, they were taught how to find the missing variable in an algebraic equation when two out of three variables are known. For example, if earnings per share and number of shares are stated, then total earnings or net income can be found through deductive reasoning.

Now, math is a subject that often terrifies at-risk communities because of painful, negative experiences. As they advance up the math continuum, by and large, so does their level of discomfort. Thus, pain and math are positively correlated in terms of saliency. Why embrace a subject that can be construed as an indictment on a representative group’s frontal lobe development? My tagline: “You don’t have to love math but you better respect it. Why? It’ll either work for or against you in the form of compound interest as an investor or debtor.” That’s why financial education is so important for this demographic. And what better way to demystify math while playing a fun game using various scenarios that help disadvantaged populations make the right moves educationally, financially, and inspirationally as their investment portfolios rise (or fall) through macroeconomic forces. The winner of the game after four macro scenarios was Gavin G., a high school senior. He increased his portfolio by almost $290,000 or 29 percent. That’s an impressive return by anyone’s standards! Kudos to Nate Palmer of Diamond Hill Investment Group for helping me fine-tune the Mr. Fundy’s Stock Pro Game, which took Monya and I roughly 90 hours to create over several years. In fact, every PDF game within our customized wheelhouse has to be exciting, thought-provoking, and transferable in scope and reach to empower a particular audience.

The Mr. Fundy’s Stock Pro Game was the perfect segue for the next item on the day’s agenda, a lesson in fine-dining etiquette at my (and Monya’s!) favorite restaurant here in Central Ohio — Sow Plated. As frequent patrons, the food is reasonably priced, exquisitely prepared, and exceptionally beneficial for the brain, body, and belly. And as mental health challenges engulf our society, sound nutrition can (and should) play a large role in alleviating them. “Real food” — what’s served at Sow Plated — is the medicinal remedy to combating the harmful side effects of “fake foods.” Located in Upper Arlington, this was the first time many of the young men had ever visited this part of town. Think about that for a moment. Now to the five courses served on July 27th. The first course, appetizers, included maple sweet chili cauliflower and edamame dumplings. Yummy! The second course, a savory market soup with seasonal ingredients. The third course, a delicious spring salad. The fourth course, a wagyu burger, mediterranean bowl, or teriyaki bowl as the entree. The fifth and final course, a flourless cacao cake for dessert. Am I making you even more hungry? Founder and owner, John Fahlgren, discussed his heartwarming story with the group as a West Virginia native. He echoed a recurring theme that I’ve highlighted throughout with the young men: “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” They nodded in agreement while feasting on a nutritious meal, unforgettable experience, and the words of wisdom from an incredibly generous host.

Next up was a surprise trip (like Sow Plated) to The Ohio State University. Unbeknownst to them, the visit included a sit-down discussion with Athletic Director Gene Smith for 45 minutes and private tours of Fisher College, Schottenstein Arena, and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Smith discussed his blueprint for success with the young men, including lessons learned as a young and seasoned athletic director in Division I sports. His humility and transparency in sharing sensitive information mesmerized all in attendance, including me. Arguably the most decorated Division I AD in America, Smith carved out time in his busy schedule to help our young men pave their life path. Two recent Fisher College graduates and current ambassadors, Julian Slate and Caleb Suh, provided our group with a tour of the OSU School of Business. Given their close age to our young men, this helped tremendously as attention spans never waned. Polished and poised, Slate and Suh represented Fisher College well in both word and deed. I am certainly proud to be a Fisher alum!

We toured Schottenstein Arena, including the Hall of Recognition for men’s and women’s basketball players who wore the scarlet and grey uniform. We stepped onto the practice court of both the women’s and men’s teams. We were then treated to a lively meet-and-great with Chris Holtmann, the men’s head coach. He encouraged our young men to see the positive even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Our last stop at O State was the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, so named after the iconic legend who admonished all of us “to pay it forward.” Former OSU great and current defensive backs coach, Tim Walton, treated our group to an amazing tour. The national championship trophies, wall of NFL draft jerseys, and prized football legacy captivated their (and my) attention. We walked onto the in-door practice field and met Lathan Ransom and Denzel Burke, two OSU top-rated defenders. We even shot some hoops on the basketball court adjacent to the practice field. Yes, I had to show the group that I could still play — a true baller never retires. As we exited, Walton shared, “It was such a blessing to have you visit the facility. This experience might have made your day, but you made mine.” A first-class coach representing a top-tier university. Go Bucks! Stay tuned for Week Eight.

Sow Plated


OSU Athletics


Fisher College of Business