NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Aug. 7, 2019 - Canterbury Consulting, an independent investment advisory firm with more than $20 billion in assets under advisement, and the University of California, Irvine's Center for Investment and Wealth Management (CIWM), have partnered in the Pacific Life LIFEvest Financial Literacy Residential Program to help underserved Orange County 9th and 10th grade students. The goal of the program is to provide students with the potential to be the first of their family to pursue higher education.
"This is our seventh year of working with the LIFEvest team and their students, and it continues to be a fulfilling experience," said Stuart Blair, CAIA, Canterbury Consulting director of research. "It's particularly rewarding when I get to see how much the students change during the course of the program."
Canterbury Consulting provides financial support for the self-funded CIWM program that is dedicated to helping students from underserved communities. Blair and Canterbury Vice President Chad Bollenbach serve on the program's steering committee, volunteer at many of the events and continue mentoring the students after the on-site program concludes.
"I have always been passionate about financial literacy as these are skills that are not generally taught in school," said Bollenbach. "LIFEvest makes the daunting task of getting accepted and attending college attainable for these students by providing valuable lessons about college requirements, types of colleges and financial aid options."
The three one-week, on-campus LIFEvest programs held at UC Irvine's Paul Merage School of Business, concluded August 3. Students learn, create and give LIFEplan presentations on the value of education, financial budgeting and saving for retirement to a panel of observers that consist of local volunteers from Canterbury, other CIWM board members and Orange County businesses. In addition to judging student presentations, volunteers assist with the program's social etiquette dinner, tie tying clinic and closing ceremony.
LIFEvest has five goals: to strengthen an understanding in financial matters, expose students to a college or university, explore various career fields, teach social etiquette skills and inspire confidence and success in all areas of life. Through financial literacy education, the program seeks to reduce the education gap created by the 1.2 million U.S. high school student yearly dropout rate. To date, more than 500 students have completed the program — 100 this year alone — and this fall three LIFEvest alum are incoming freshman to UC Irvine.
"CIWM has been incredibly fortunate to have Canterbury Consulting's support since 2012. Canterbury helped the Center launch all of its programming over the last seven years," said Christopher Schwarz, faculty director of CIWM. "Not only has Canterbury's financial support allowed for the Center's programming to exist, since the Center is self-funded, but Canterbury employees have been providing their time and leadership through volunteering as well."
Canterbury works closely with the Merage School of Business, its career placement team and its professors. Throughout the year, Canterbury hosts events to connect UC Irvine students with opportunities for internships that may result in full-time positions. Canterbury provides additional support to both current undergraduates through the Center's financial literacy initiatives as well as the potential next generation of UC Irvine students who attend the LIFEvest program. Canterbury currently employs five UC Irvine alumni, two of which started as interns.
D. Robinson Cluck co-founded Canterbury Consulting in 1988 and is an active UC Irvine alumnus. Cluck is a university trustee and chair of the investment committee of the UC Irvine Foundation as well as a member of the Dean's Leadership Council for the School of Social Sciences.
"We can all apply our skillset to give back to the community in a meaningful way, and our partnership with UC Irvine and the CIWM allow me and Canterbury employees to do just that," said Cluck. "I'm proud that multiple generations of Canterbury employees volunteer their time with these programs that are truly life-changing for the students and their families."