Nine-Year-Old Student Receives the Surprise of a Lifetime at Elementary School Assembly in Elk Grove, CA
Sacramento, CA, April 11, 2014 – Third-grade student Duncan Nakamoto received the surprise of a lifetime today when leading financial services provider TIAA-CREF unveiled his photo as the winner in the Big Dreams Start Small $100,000 College Savings Contest. His father, Calvin Nakamoto, submitted the photo and today received $100,000 to be deposited in a 529 college savings plan to help Duncan achieve his dreams through higher education.
Duncan learned the news during an assembly at Joseph Sims Elementary in Elk Grove surrounded by 800 of his schoolmates, teachers, staff, school principal and Elk Grove Board of Education members.
"Duncan dreams of the possibilities. Astronaut? Doctor? Paleontologist? With big dreams and hard work we believe he can make it a reality."
"Education is very important to our family and we have big dreams for Duncan,” said Calvin Nakamoto. “Whether he decides to become a doctor, lawyer, astronaut or paleontologist, we are sure this award from TIAA-CREF – and his hard work – will set him on the path toward achieving his dreams."
The Big Dreams Start Small $100,000 College Fund Contest launched in September 2013 as part of the AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF program. The nationwide contest invited parents and grandparents to submit an original photo showing their child or grandchild "dreaming big" for the future, including a caption of 140 characters or fewer explaining how that child "dreams big." Calvin and Phylicia Nakamoto’s photo of their son Duncan was selected by an independent panel of judges from nearly 3,000 entries.
Through AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF, TIAA-CREF is educating parents and grandparents about the benefits of saving for college. According to the College Savings Foundation, 37 percent of parents have not saved any money for their children, and only 30 percent have a 529 college savings plan.1 Grandparents can play an increasingly critical role in helping their grandchildren pay for college as the cost of higher education continues to rise and families struggle with tight budgets.
"We are committed to helping make college possible for more young people like Duncan," said Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president and chief executive officer of TIAA-CREF. "Research shows that children with a college savings account are seven times more likely to attend college than those without,2 so we want every parent and grandparent to know that small contributions over time can help make big dreams for college come true."
"I congratulate Calvin Nakamoto for his creativity in winning the contest and his foresight in planning now for his son’s future," said California Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who chairs the ScholarShare Investment Board, which administers ScholarShare, California’s 529 college savings plan. "I urge parents and grandparents everywhere to begin saving for college as early as possible. A college education helps a child succeed and prosper in an increasingly competitive economy."
Lockyer also thanked TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc., program manager for ScholarShare, for sponsoring the contest.
529 college savings plans are tax-advantaged investment accounts designed specifically to make the most of educational savings. Benefits of 529 plans include their federal tax-free growth potential, flexibility and ease of use. 529 college savings plans are sponsored by states and managed by professional financial organizations like TIAA-CREF.
"Along with parents, grandparents are playing a bigger role in providing resources to help their grandchildren achieve higher education," said Daphne Kwok, vice president, Multicultural Markets at AARP. "And through our programs, AARP supports families across the country by providing financial tools and resources and continuing to make real possibilities for all Americans."
For more information on state 529 college savings plans, visit AARP College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF. For more information on the Big Dreams Start Small contest, visit https://bigdreams.aarpcollegesavings.com/winner.
TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (TFI) is one of the largest and longest-tenured program managers to state 529 college savings plans in the country. TFI successfully provides program management services to 11 state-sponsored 529 college savings plans, including California, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont and Wisconsin.
TIAA-CREF (www.tiaa.org) is a national financial services organization with $564 billion in assets under management (as of 12.31.13) and is the leading provider of retirement services in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields.
About the Big Dreams Start Small Contest
The Big Dreams Start Small $100,000 College Fund Contest launched in September 2013 as part of the AARP® College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF program. The nationwide contest invited parents and grandparents to submit an original photo showing their child or grandchild "dreaming big" for the future, including a caption of 140 characters or fewer explaining how that child "dreams big."
The winning photo was selected by independent panels of judges based on creativity/originality and persuasiveness in communicating the significance of "dreaming big." Mr. Nakamoto received a $100,000 contribution to a California state 529 college savings account, which is sponsored by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc.3 Complete contest rules, terms and conditions can be found at https://bigdreams.aarpcollegesavings.com/ .
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families, such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services. A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. The AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
About AARP Services, Inc.
AARP Services, Inc., founded in 1999, is a wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. AARP Services manages the provider relationships for and performs quality control oversight of the wide range of products and services that carry the AARP name and are made available by independent providers as benefits to AARP’s millions of members. The provider offers currently span health products, financial products, travel and leisure products, and life event services. Specific products include Medicare supplemental insurance; credit cards, auto and home, mobile home and motorcycle insurance, life insurance and annuities; member discounts on rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and lodging; special offers on technology and gifts; pharmacy services; legal services; and long term care insurance. AARP Services also engages in new product development activities for AARP and provides certain consulting services to outside companies.The AARP College Savings Solutions from TIAA-CREF program is provided by TIAA-CREF, not AARP or its affiliates. TIAA-CREF pays a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. AARP does not employ or endorse TIAA-CREF associates. Please contact TIAA-CREF directly for details.