Market Overview

Invest For Kids Earns More Than $1.3 Million For Chicago Kids

Invest For Kids, Chicago's premiere investable ideas conference, held its annual event late last month.

Approximately 1,000 investors attended, bringing in more than $1.3 million.

"[That's] a new record in terms of attendance and a new record in terms of funds raised," Ron Levin, who co-founded Invest For Kids with Ben Kovler, told Benzinga.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to local children's charities in Chicago.

Levin attributes the event's success to an increase in attendance and an increase in the number of high-level ticket packages that were sold.

"Essentially, we haven't raised the price in five years," said Levin. "The price has pretty much stayed the same for the entire event. What drives our increase would be A) a combination of more attendance and B) obviously selling more of the higher-level ticket packages than we have in the prior year.

"We have [ticket packages] in the $25,000 range, $10,000 range, $5,000 range, and then individual tickets at $1,000. Increased attendance is what drives our fundraising success."

This year, Invest For Kids received "about 15 donations" that were at $25,000 or more, Levin said.

Related: Invest For Kids, Making an "Impact" on Kids All Over Chicago

Why are people willing to pay so much to attend?

"There's three key elements to this event," Levin explained. "I think they all drive people to attend. But I do think they are skewed toward the first.

"The first element of this is the quality of the speakers. We call that the secret sauce of our recipe -- the quality of the speakers. Every year we have had an incredible lineup of high-quality speakers. These are people that don't speak a lot in public to start with. They don't speak a lot in Chicago. And the chances of you getting 10 of 'em together in one meeting in a fairly concise format just doesn't happen. The secret to Invest For Kids by a wide margin is the quality of the speakers."

Related: When Sam Zell Talks Real Estate, Investors Listen

This year's lineup included Leon Cooperman, Steve Eisman, Jeffrey E. Gundlach, Nelson Peltz, Sam Zell and numerous other notable investors.

"Nelson Peltz unveiled his argument for why Mondelez (NASDAQ: MDLZ) is a cheap stock and why as an activist investor he has taken a position there," Levin boasted, adding that this news was covered in The Wall Street Journal.

"We're very proud of the fact that a very large percentage of the attendees are repeat attendees. We have a lot of people who attend ever year."

Investors also attend for the networking opportunities. The children's charities provide icing on the cake.

"People feel really good about the charitable component," said Levin. "What Ben and I like to say is, 'They come for the ideas and they leave feeling good about where the money went.'"

Look for Invest For Kids to return to Chicago in the fall of 2014.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Louis Bedigian is the Senior Tech Analyst and Features Writer of Benzinga. You can reach him at louis(at)benzingapro(dot)com. Follow him @LouisBedigianBZ

Posted-In: Ben Kovler Invest For KidsLong Ideas News Short Ideas Events Success Stories Trading Ideas Best of Benzinga

 

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