For 45 years the financial community of Chicago has been supporting the Boy Scouts of America with an event that used to be held right on LaSalle Street under a big circus tent in front of the U.S. Federal Reserve Building. The event was the LaSalle Street Dinner. It still exists, but in a different form.
In the past, leaders from the financial community, prominent bankers, brokers, clearinghouse executives and exchange leaders served as the chairs of the event. This year a humble media executive/Scouter and a FIA Principal Traders Group member firm executive serve as co-chairs of the event. Matt Haraburda, president of XR Trading, is the latter and I am the former.
XR Trading was one of the firms that helped prove the concept that I conceived for the Trading Tech 300 (“TT300”) merit badge program, and I wanted Matt to help tell the story about its impact. TT300 brings Boy Scouts right into the offices of our industry and teaches them a merit badge related to the work done there.
Now that we have proven the concept works, we want to ramp it up. We want to bring fifteen Trading Tech 300 events to Chicago next summer, five in June, five in July and five in August. We want to give the Scouts of Chicago a program right in the financial center of Chicago, focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) related merit badges and others.
The concept works. We have attracted a diverse group of kids out of underserved Chicago neighborhoods into a safe place and taught them subjects related to the companies participating in the program. Thus far, the program has served 217 Scouts, who earned a total of 277 merit badges. We have also recruited 21 new Merit Badge Counselors. TT300 also kept these young Chicagoans safe for 66 hours, so far.
Here is what one of the Scouts’ mothers had to say about the program and its impact:
“I truly mean it when I say that yesterday was the best Scout experience my son has ever had. I am truly grateful for the opportunity that you and the program provided, and I do hope that these young men envision successful futures for themselves as well as others. As a middle school teacher I cannot thank you enough because I try to inspire these same young men in the classroom every day. I am so grateful and moved that BSA and PTAC are providing such unique opportunities where they not only can learn something new but also about themselves and Scouting. ~ Elizabeth Mach
The program and its impact have brought tears to Myriam Hererra, one of the Scouting professionals who supports the program. And word of TT300 has moved beyond Chicago and attracted attention from scout families out of state.
Merit badges taught at the program include XR Trading, who hosted a session on digital technology. CBOE offered first aid and fingerprinting merit badge workshops. NFA hosted fingerprinting. GlenStar Properties, the owners of the CBOT Building (also known to Scouts as Wayne Tower from a recent Batman movie), delivered incredible engineering, electricity and search and rescue merit badge classes. Spot Trading taught programming, a new merit badge. They also taught the Eagle Scout required personal management merit badge. This year Advantage Futures taught public speaking and the chess merit badges for the second year in a row. The CME Group held a great program for law and electricity. More programs are scheduled for the fall from other industry participants, including DRW. The last program’s sign-up was filled up in a week and a half.
In order to scale up the program, we need more professional help from the Pathway to Adventure Council of Boy Scouts of America. In order to get more help, we need to make the LaSalle Street Trading Tech 300 Awards, the current version of the LaSalle Street dinner, successful again.
In 2004, the event raised over $300,000 for the Boy Scouts. In recent years the event has raised significantly less, for many reasons related both to changes in
the industry as well as changes to the Boy Scouts. But those issues are behind us; this is a new day with a new goal and plan.
The goal for TT300 for this year is set at $300,000. The event is not just a fundraising event, it is a social gathering where you can learn more about the Trading Tech 300 program and sign up your firm to participate. It is a chance to help plant the seeds in the Chicago community and beyond that can give us the STEM-enhanced workers our industry needs. GlenStar Properties has graciously donated use of the 12th floor CBOT Building Atrium for the event.
I am asking for donations to meet this year’s goal. But the money is really an investment. It is an investment in the future of these young people. It is an investment in the future of our city. It is an investment in the future of our industry. Here is the brochure for this year’s Trading Tech 300 Awards.
If you know someone to whom I should solicit a donation – your firm, foundation or colleagues, please let me know. I am glad to come and ask anyone in person to help meet our goal and make this investment in the future.