A Head Start on Giving Back with The Analyst Pledge

Grid of headshots - clockwise from top left: Tim Thole, Kristian Ruegg, Daniel Fridman, and Alexia Gallian

Just a few months into their professional careers, a group of four NYU Stern undergraduate alumni have already started building their legacy of giving back, and they’re getting fellow recent graduates in financial services to sign on as well. Kristian Rüegg (BS ’20), Daniel Fridman (BS ’20), Tim Thole (BS ’20) and Alexia Gallian (BS ’20) together founded The Analyst Pledge, a community of young professionals who pledge to donate one percent of their bonuses to charitable causes.

The seeds of the idea were planted in the Professional Responsibility and Leadership class, a capstone course that is part of the Social Impact Core, which sparked a conversation about how to start building a legacy.

“A lot of people go into these industries because they want to have an impact,” says Fridman, now an investment banking analyst at Citi. “We wanted people to think about not just making an impact in the future, but to start today and keep that mindset moving forward.”

The then-seniors knew that staying focused on these values once the day-to-day pressure and long hours of their post-college careers began would be a significant challenge. They wanted to find a way to secure their commitment to giving back as early as possible, and make it easy for others to do so.

“In college, we have the time and headspace to think about what actually matters to us,” Thole, investment banking analyst at TD Securities, adds.

“Once you’re working and have deadlines, you lose track of what you were thinking about in college. We think it’s helpful to get people started early in their careers so they can lay the foundation for what’s important to them.”

Since its launch in July, The Analyst Pledge has grown to 52 members at 32 firms, about 75 percent of whom are Stern alumni, with more than $14,000 in pledges. They provide as much flexibility as possible, highlighting a selected group of 13 charitable organizations on their website but allowing members to donate to any 501(c)(3) of their choice. The group has also partnered with Impact Charitable to set up The Analyst Advised Fund, proceeds from which will be invested into ESG initiatives and principal and profits granted out to the group’s 13 core charities. They provide periodic reminders to members via email and LinkedIn and send out a monthly news-letter to keep members engaged and accountable to their pledge commitment.

Instead of being discouraged by the upheaval and uncertainty that came with the pandemic, the group was even more inspired to bring their vision to life.

“The pandemic actually spurred us on more, as Covid-19 illuminated a lot of needs that need to be addressed,” Rüegg says. “A downside of quarantine is there’s not a lot of things to do, but the flip side of that is that it gave us more time to form The Analyst Pledge.”

The co-founders also aim to create a strong sense of community among the group’s members and offer networking opportunities as it continues to grow. While in-person events are on hold for the time being, the co-founders have numerous plans in the works for happy hours and other events where members can get to know each other.

“We are trying to form a certain kind of community with this initiative,” Gallian, private markets investment analyst at Partners Group, says. “It can be a great way to meet like-minded people, who are just as philanthropic as you, who have similar ambitions.”

To learn more, visit The Analyst Pledge website.