NEPC’s Sarah Samuels Is Teaming Up With Pro Athletes to Help Kids Improve Financial Literacy

Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones partnered with Samuels to get her book, Braving Our Savings, to children.


Courtesy Photo

For NEPC’s Sarah Samuels, giving back doesn’t just mean working with endowments and foundations at her day job.

Samuels, a partner at investment consulting and OCIO firm NEPC, is also working to improve financial literacy among children with a book that came out on April 16 called Braving Our Savings.

The book follows a little girl who wants to buy something she doesn’t have enough money for. Along the way, she learns lessons about delayed gratification, investments, and the downside of making decisions based on what her friends say. Samuels’s goal is to make investing more visible to young children who may not have role models knowledgeable about finance.

“I really shouldn’t be successful in the investment industry,” Samuels said. “The odds were not in my favor. My family had very little. I had no connections. I had no internships.”

In fact, her first exposure to finance was through an administrative role at Wellington. Samuels had studied German at a state school, and says she felt like she “made it” when she landed her first $20 an hour admin role.

Samuels had grown up in a small town with a family that lived paycheck to paycheck. “That generations-long cycle of fear of money and institutions went back as far as anyone can remember,” Samuels said. “It’s very tough to break that cycle. That’s why I feel so grateful for this industry and the people who helped me and have seen the power of spreading knowledge and being a role model.”

Seeing Wellington’s now-CEO Jean Hynes succeed at work was the push Samuels needed to start pursuing investment management. She studied, obtaining her CFA, CAIA designation, and an MBA. Now, she’s working to give back.

All the book’s proceeds will be used to buy books to donate to children in need. Samuels herself is donating 2,500 books, and NEPC, for its part, has committed to buying her books for all its employees. The firm has also donated copies to Boston’s branch of the Boys and Girls Club and other local nonprofits.

As a part of the launch, Samuels is partnering with professional athletes including Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones to distribute books to children. Jones, who runs a foundation of his own, will be speaking alongside Samuels at Institutional Investor’s Endowments and Foundations roundtable in Boston from June 3 through 5.

“There’s always a gap between the people who have resources and the people who need resources,” Jones said. “Being able to be a bridge between the group of people who need the resources and the people who have them is huge.”

Like Samuels, Jones grew up with few resources. “My parents found a way to make sure that all of our necessities were taken care of, but sports are expensive,” he said. He benefited from a local donor, who helped local students travel to track meets. Jones credits this experience with helping him get to college — and eventually with getting to the NFL.

Jones established a foundation of his own in 2019 and has since worked with schools to help feed children, offer STEM programs, and provide funding for student athletes.

“There are people who come to look at athletes and say this is all you can do,” Jones said. “Sports has given us a great platform, but there’s so many more things that we can do.”

Samuels and Jones will be speaking on a panel at Institutional Investor’s Endowments & Foundations Roundtable East. Use this link to learn more.