Students from Main St. Philanthropy Speak at Millburn Board of Ed Meeting on February 23, 2015

Advisor Strives To Train Students In Helping Society – New Jersey Hills Newspaper: Observer-Tribune News

Check out the following article published in the New Jersey Hills Newspaper!


Advisor Strives To Train Students In Helping Society – New Jersey Hills Newspaper: Observer-Tribune News.


By PHIL GARBER, Managing Editor | 0 comments



MENDHAM – Yale Levey is passionate about helping young people to learn the importance of combining investing and social causes.

The borough resident and financial advisor and his colleagues have created a non-profit group, Main Street Philanthropy and a curriculum that teaches students the value of philanthropic investing.

Levey has brought his program to Franklin High School and hopes to expand to other schools around the area, the state and the nation.

“This is meant to create a culture of giving,” Levey said. “I’m teaching kids how to dare and why to care. The antidote to much of what is broken in the world is giving; it’s that simple.”

The curriculum is being supported by a $10,000 grant from Christopher Johnson of Mendham and his company, Hollister Construction Services.  As part of their obligation to the program,  participating students also will raise $1,000 to provide to charitable  organization they have vetted.

Classes run for one hour, once a week. By the end of the 10-week program, students will give out most of the money to charitable groups they have chosen.

“We’re breeding philanthropists in training,” said Levey.

The goal of the program is to create a real-world experience in charitable giving and fundraising. Through the program, students will meet in small groups along with their teacher, Ron Richter and with Levey, who calls himself a Main Street Philanthropy Ambassador.

The group also will meet with donors and charities which would benefit from the collaboration.

Vetting Charities

Using the donated funds and money they raise themselves, students will identify local charities whose missions align with the students’ charitable passions. Working in small groups, they will examine the organizations’ tax returns and evaluate their effectiveness in accomplishing their charitable purposes.

They will interview officers and board members and then decide which organizations are having the greatest impact.  Eventually, they will deliver checks to those charities that the students decide are doing the best job in the community.

The program was launched on Nov. `13 as part of Richter’s business psychology class.

Raised in Short Hills, Levey said he spent many years as a wealth management advisor. Sometime in 2004, he said he was speaking about charitable planning with his brother, Greg.

It was an “epiphany” when Levey thought about how basic financial planning could be combined with charitable planning.

“I discovered that a very, very small group of planners had the same idea,” Levey said.

He soon became involved with the International Association of  Advisors in Philanthropy and in 2006 was asked to join the board. He was later named its marketing director.

By 2009, Levey and a small group of colleagues formed the Metro-NY Philanthropy Advisory Network  to provide a forum for major philanthropists. He also formed a new company, Next Generation Wealth Planning which supports what he called, “multi-dimensional wealth planning.”

“True wealth is your money but it’s also in relationships, heritage, intellect  and the causes I stand for,” Levey said.

Levey said he works with several other partners to provide advice to affluent families.

The outgrowth of all his efforts was the Main Street Philanthropy program. Its goal is to provide students with critical life skills “with giving and philanthropy at its core.”

The program begins with an assessment of the students’ awareness and an explanation of the many charitable causes.

“We help the kids learn what they are passionate about outside of themselves,” Levey said. “They consider everything from religion to hunger to health, animal care, civil rights and arts and culture.”

Students with like passions then  pair up and write regular blogs about the program.  They then get together in larger groups and talk about their lives and families.

“We discover we are a lot more alike than different,´” Levey said.

Levey is not being paid for running the high school program but is launching a home version of the curriculum for families and to license the curriculum and train others as leaders.

Levey and his wife, Donna, have a son, Gabe, 11, and daughter, Olivia, 10.

Getting Press in Orlando, Florida!

This past week our students from Harmony High School delivered checks to several of the organizations they selected after completing the Main Street Philanthropy course!  Along with them for the ride was David Breen, a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel.  Following is a nice piece that David wrote about the program.  Check it out!!

Thanks David!! 

Harmony students learn how charity can make a difference

Program’s students research charities, award grants

By David Breen, Orlando Sentinel

 Philanthropy class
Pat Filippone is in the business of raising money in her role as executive director of Habitat for Humanity in Osceola County. But on Thursday, business gave way to emotion as she thanked a group of high school students for choosing Habitat as the recipient of a $1,200 grant.

“This will be multiplied one-thousandfold,” Filippone told them tearfully.

The students are members of a new program at Harmony High School that’s teaching kids how to make a difference through charitable giving.
Over the past several weeks, 21 students at the school near St. Cloud have researched the work of various charities and heard presentations. Now, thanks to a private donor, they’re handing out checks totaling $6,000 to the causes they chose.

On Thursday, the class traveled throughout Osceola, giving donations to Habitat, the Pawsitive Action Foundation and Give Kids the World. Other groups, including United Arts of Central Florida and the Christian Service Center for Central Florida, will get checks next week.

The class is the brainchild of Harmony financial planner and attorney Scott Farnsworth, 60, who counsels wealthy families on money management and charitable giving. Money for the grants the class is distributing came from one of his clients, businessman Ed Verner of Plant City.

“This is the way that we can actually change the world,” Farnsworth said. “It’s pretty hard to do it one family at a time, but if you can get a roomful of kids …”

The first step for the students was to match their personal passions with a compatible cause.
Payton Poulin, 18, decided he’d support Give Kids the World, which hosts families of children with life-threatening illnesses while they’re visiting Central Florida attractions.

“I’ve seen what they’re doing for disabled people,” said Payton, who has cerebral palsy. The class, he said, “taught me a lot about who I am as a person and what I need to do to be a better citizen for my society.”
Seventeen-year-old Brianna Pesce said she chose to support the local chapter of Habitat because “it just seems like the money would help a smaller charity more than a larger one.

“It’s just inspiring that they help the people who don’t have what others have,” she added.

Travis Carter, 18, chose the Clean the World Foundation. Its mission is to recycle hotel supplies such as soap and shampoo, sanitize them and ship them to needy countries. He was amazed to learn that something as simple as hand-washing could sharply reduce the number of children who die of hygiene-related diseases every day.

“You need to donate where your heart is,” he said.

Once a week, Farnsworth visits Eric Hansen’s government class. Hansen’s students are all part of Harmony’s student government, and they’re no strangers to service. Each Friday, they do projects around school, from serving food in the cafeteria to weeding to cleaning windows, Hansen said.
But through the philanthropy class, Hansen has seen the kids grow — interacting with charities’ boards of trustees and gaining confidence and maturity that will serve them far beyond high school.

“They carry themselves differently,” said Hansen, 42. “They’re not just caught up in that texting-video game culture.”

In between typical teen talk about who sweats too much and which teacher is “being a butt-head,” these kids throw around phrases like “quantitative and qualitative analysis” and “990 tax form” — the IRS form for nonprofits that they’ve learned to decipher in class.

The program is unique in Central Florida, but Farnsworth and a partner in California are looking to spread the word through Main Street Philanthropy, a nonprofit they formed. Farnsworth hopes to have three classes in Osceola schools next year and is looking to recruit “ambassadors” — financial professionals like himself — and donors to take the classes nationwide.

One big lesson the students have learned so far is that philanthropy needn’t be limited to the wealthy.
“I realized that you don’t need millions of dollars to make a difference in your community,” said Olivia Porter, 17. “The little that you can give can go a long way for charities and mean a lot to them.”

If you’re interested in learning more about Main Street Philanthropy,
check out our website at: