Citizen Teacher of the Month: Donna Fontana

Donna Fontana is a leader in the financial industry, with 25+ years experience, and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Sales with Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions.  Ms. Fontana is energized by her passion and service with inner-city youth and education, namely with Citizen Schools.  As a Citizen Teacher volunteer for five years, now in her 11th apprenticeship, Donna’s impact in East Harlem is remarkable. “I believe we have a responsibility to make a difference in our communities.  Everyone can find the time to participate in this well run organization,” states Fontana.  Since 1998, Fidelity and its employees have set thousands of students each year on pathways toward future success.  During the 2015-2016 Academic year, 149 volunteers taught 33 apprenticeships nationally, and over half of those were STEM/business & finance apprenticeships.  Fidelity lead the charge in revitalizing apprenticeship curriculum like “Shark Tank” and Fidelity’s signature curriculum, “Secrets of a Millionaire”, making the experience engaging and relevant for students.  One of Donna’s favorite “secrets” is when the students understand the concept of compound interest, “yes, your money can make money”.

This is a local example of Fidelity Investments’s impact as a Citizen Schools National Leadership Partner on the students we serve throughout the network. Volunteer Citizen Teachers like Donna Fontana provide hands-on enrichment opportunities that awaken our students’ minds to what might be possible for their future.Volunteer Citizen Teachers like Donna Fontana provide hands-on enrichment opportunities that awaken our students’ minds to what might be possible for their future. Thanks to many caring and passionate volunteers, 61% of Citizen Schools students enroll in college compared to 41% of matched peers from low income communities, nationally.  Donna noted, "[by simply engaging in the classroom] each week, it is a visible statement to students that we care”.   The apprenticeship experience for the students prepares them for life experiences by illuminating that they can learn something new and apply it to a project and have an opportunity to engage with an authentic audience.