Donald Banks always liked equations. Growing up in Chicago Housing Authority’s Henry Horner Homes, he says he was a “kid who liked to solve problems.” Banks turned his passion for problem-solving into a personal milestone in December 2009 when he became the first person in his family to earn an advanced degree in Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.
Banks said his fascination with finance started during a high school internship at the Chicago Board of Trade. He eventually became proficient enough that he served as a financial wellness intern at his high school helping classmates with scholarship, loan budgeting and financial planning. Banks is a three-time IRM Educational Foundation Scholar and the 2009 recipient of the IRM Frank Nash Memorial Scholarship.The Frank Nash Award, named after a late colleague of Michael J. Levitt, is given annually to an outstanding IRM Foundation scholar who is studying business.
“The scholarships from IRM were definitely a blessing,” Banks said. “I don’t know if anybody knows the cost of tuition– but it’s a lot. It’s nice to have someone care about my education.”
Banks wants to start a community basketball league in his Horner neighborhood – as athletics served to keep him more focused in school.