EDISON — Greg Casagrande, a 1981 graduate of The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, returned to his alma mater to speak with eighth grade students about business and finance in a special presentation on Jan. 31.
Casagrande discussed his background in finance and how important ongoing education is in the business world. He explained why he left a successful career to begin The South Pacific Development Foundation/MicroDreams a non-profit organization and why he choose Samoa.
He also told the students that his foundation empowers women in the villages of Samoa to begin their own businesses. The women are given loans to accomplish their goals. They are also required to attend classes provided by SPDF to learn how to start and run a business. The success of these women has enabled them to pay back their loans and also improve their communities by helping each other.
The eighth graders will be broken up into groups and will form their own businesses. They will come up with a business plan to double money given to them by the Middle School Student Council. The money they raise will go to MicroDreams to help empower more women to become successful.
“Hopefully, this project will help our eighth graders become better future leaders in their school and communities, and learn the importance of working together,” said Nancy Duddy of Westfield, Middle School History Co-Chair.