By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
Here at The White Coat Investor, we have three outreach programs. They all serve a dual purpose. The first is to promote financial literacy and wellness among doctors and their trainees. The second is to give back to the community that has given us so much. These programs include:
- The White Coat Investor Scholarship
- The White Coat Investor Financial Educator Award, and
- The White Coat Investor Champions Program.
We've been doing the Scholarship since 2015 and the Financial Educator Award since 2019. However, the Champions program is actually our biggest outreach program, even though we just started it earlier in 2021.
What Is the WCI Champions Program?
The WCI Champions program is simply a huge book giveaway. The proposition is simple. We figure that the information we provide here at The White Coat Investor is most useful when you receive it early in your career. How early is early? Why not your first year of school? So I wrote a book called The White Coat Investor's Guide for Students: How Medical and Dental Students Can Secure Their Financial Future and published it early in 2021. Then, we attempted to give it away to every first-year medical and dental student in the country during the 2020-2021 year. You can read more about what is in the book here.
I say “attempted,” because we were not entirely successful. You see, money does not grow on trees so we needed a relatively efficient distribution method. We decided to simply ask for a volunteer from every first-year medical school class to receive the books and pass them out to their classmates. That way we could simply ship a box or two of books per school, rather than individually shipping books to 25,000 people across the country.
These volunteers were known as WCI Champions. Not only did they get their own copy of the book, but they got to feel good about providing a resource that would likely be worth millions of dollars to each of their classmates over the course of the next few decades. And a T-shirt. If they sent us a picture of their classmates with their books, we sent them a nice Yeti WCI tumbler, too.
Despite all that bribery, we only reached about three-quarters of the first-year students in the country. Many classes did not have a single volunteer. At least one school refused to allow any of their students to pass out the books. We were still pleased to help as many as we did. We ended up distributing 23,848 books at 176 different schools.
At sticker price and with shipping, that was a giveaway worth about $750,000 dollars. More importantly, if just 10% of those students read the books and it changes their financial habits, that might be worth $2 million apiece over the course of their careers. That would be a total of $4.8 billion. Seems like a pretty good return on investment to me.
Look at all these great folks who received a copy of the book through this program:
Comments from the Champions include:
“Thank you again for this opportunity. Distributing books was a great way to meet classmates I hadn’t yet interacted with due to COVID restrictions. Everyone was very excited to receive a copy of the book and even more excited to apply the wisdom, knowledge, and lessons learned therein.”
“Thank you so much for the books. My classmates are really grateful to have received this amazing resource.”
“Thanks for the opportunity! It was a lot of fun.”
“Thank you again for sending these! We’re excited to crack them open and start learning.”
We're looking forward to helping a lot more people this fall, but we're going to need your help.
Introducing the 2021-2022 WCI Champions Program
All those first-year students are now second-year students, and there is a whole new crop of first years. So we're going to do it again and try to reach even more students. The deal is exactly the same as before. If you are a FIRST YEAR MD, DO, or dental student in good academic standing during the 2021-2022 year and you are willing to pass out a book to every member of your class, volunteer by filling out this Google form.
It's mostly a coalition of the willing, but there were a few schools last time where more than one person applied and we had to choose. If you are chosen, you get a WCI Lifetime T-shirt. If you take a picture of you and your classmates with the books, you also get the $50 Yeti Tumbler. (By the way, if anyone wants to buy any of this stuff, we sell it in the WCI Store.)
We hope to distribute even more copies of the book this time than we did earlier this year.
The final day we will be accepting applications is March 15, 2022 so be sure to get your applications in on time.
What do you think? Is it a good idea to help first-year medical dental students become more financially literate? Do you know a first year that you can talk into being a WCI Champion? Are we bonkers for doing this? Comment below!