Young Investor Raises 60K to Combat Domestic Violence before Graduating High School
When 16-year-old Nick Jaeger first started lending a hand at a local agency for domestic abuse survivors, he found himself painting walls and doing renovation work to fulfill a school requirement. Two years later, he’s created an investment fund worth $60,000 for their cause.
To satisfy a requirement for his theology class at Woodside Priory High School in his freshman year, Jaeger volunteered for Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) in San Mateo and spent his free time restoring one of the organization’s shelters. For Jaeger, being involved in the CORA community made him more aware of his own “privileged status,” prompting him to do something “more powerful than painting walls and moving furniture.”
“I’ve been so lucky in my life. The relationships I’ve had are all positive, and I have a family I can trust,” said Jaeger. “Domestic violence makes it so that you can’t have these relationships….relationships I’ve taken for granted.”
He decided to take action by utilizing the investment lessons he received at a young age from his grandfather–that paired with financial contributions from family and other donors brought the investment fund dedicated to supporting CORA to fruition.
Last Friday, Breakthrough, a global nonprofit combating violence and discrimination against women, honored Jaeger with a Changemaker Inspiration Award, which he accepted at a gala event at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.
“The Changemaker Inspiration Award honors young women and young men who are taking action in their own communities, who are bringing their own skills and interests and assets and saying, ‘How can I help with what I’ve already got?’” said Lynn Harris, vice president for communications at Breakthrough. “And that’s really who Nick is.”
Jaeger’s grandfather began teaching him about the stock market when he was 12, and he received an E-Trade account as a 13th birthday gift. Since then, Jaeger has interned with three hedge funds, under Richard Lin, Robbie Kaza and Bill Fleckenstein, all of whom he says have shaped his investment strategies. He takes a conservative approach to investment with the CORA fund money, mostly investing in blue chip stocks, as well as some quality smaller stocks. His investment strategy is largely inspired by (who else?) Warren Buffett.
In addition to his investing, Jaeger has been raising awareness at school for CORA’s cause. He arranged a week of domestic violence awareness at Woodside Priory for this month. Jaeger will deliver a speech to a school assembly on the importance of allies (a word he borrowed from the LGBTQ community) in combating domestic abuse, in addition to organizing a display of art created by domestic violence survivors.
“I’m big on the art because I think it’s a really powerful way to express something that’s difficult to express with words,” said Jaeger.
In her opening remarks at the awards ceremony, Breakthrough founder and president Mallika Dutt outlined three values she believes can make violence toward women unacceptable: compassion, courage and accountability. Jaeger’s work, she said, embodies compassion.
“Nick Jaeger deeply values the safety and security he has in his home and his family,” said Dutt. “How bizarre is it that this young man who comes from incredible wealth, incredible resources, makes it his life goal to fight violence against women?” She commended Jaeger for taking a stand to make domestic violence his business, and encouraged more people to follow his example.
“The largest human pandemic on this planet is discrimination against women and girls,” said Dutt.
Two other honorees received Breakthrough Inspiration Awards on Friday. Tabbu Afroz, an 18-year-old from the village of Chota Muri in Ranchi, Jharkhand also received a Breakthrough Changemaker Inspiration Award for her work advocating against early marriage in her community. Ajay Banga, president and CEO of MasterCard, one of the event’s sponsors, received the Breakthrough Corporate Inspiration Award.
Breakthrough is a non profit based in New York and India, which aims to prevent violence toward women by changing cultural norms that condone it. Breakthrough seeks to advance its mission by inspiring what it calls the “Breakthrough Generation,” a critical mass of change advocates. The organization hosts workshops domestically and abroad, leads social media campaigns and distributes a toolkit to help activists start their own campaigns, and won a $125,000 in funding in a prize from the Lipman Family Prize at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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