By Maddy PUMILIA
A La Cañada High School alum was recognized for his good work by being given a Jefferson Award for making a difference in high school students’ lives.
“It’s a real honor,” said recipient Morgan Hartley. The Jefferson Award, named after Thomas Jefferson, is given to those who are involved in community service and volunteerism. It has been called the “Nobel Prize” of public service. Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis co-founded the Jefferson Awards.
Hartley is a co-founder of the non-profit organization Moneythink. The organization tackles financial illiteracy. Impacted by the 2008 financial crisis, Hartley and the other founders decided to teach high school juniors and seniors about loans, banks, net worth and investing. The organization also teaches skills on how to be an entrepreneur by studying concepts like risk, competition and marketing products. Co-founders Shashin Chokshi and Greg Nance were also honored with the Jefferson Award.
“We saw a great opportunity to teach what we learned at the University [of Chicago] to people a few blocks away who didn’t have the opportunity,” said Hartley.
The program started in fall 2008. So far, 2,000 students have been influenced including 1,000 alone at the Chicago chapter.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actress Marlo Thomas and sports team owner Jerry M. Reinsdorf were also presented with the Jefferson Award.
Recipients are nominated for the Jefferson Award. A two page application is submitted that is then reviewed by a committee of 15 people who decide on the award winners.
Moneythink has chapters at UCLA and USC. Morgan encourages all La Cañada High School junior and seniors to take the program there.
“It’s something for our community,” he said.