The Joys of Beginnings: Karina and John Scholten on Partnering with InvestEd

Karina and John Scholten

The couple shares what higher education means to them, and how shared financial and personal goals can make relationships stronger.

August bore many beginnings: a new academic year in the Philippines, and a new chance for Filipino youth to learn and grow toward their goals. The month also marked the start of Karina and John Scholten’s partnership with InvestEd, creating more opportunities for Filipinos to complete their degrees. Despite only having started their InvestEd journey one month ago, the couple already has so much to share about joyful beginnings made possible through higher education. 

Joys of Opportunity: Higher Education Opens New Doors

“I come from a long line of teachers. My lola, my uncle…I have an aunt who’s a professor.  Cousins—all teachers,” Karina shared. For Karina and her family, advancing quality education for more people has always been the mission.

She experienced how higher education had transformed her own life: In New York, she obtained her master’s degree in early childhood education and special education, and consequently landed her dream job as a Montessori teacher.

“[New York]’s my dream city. And I was able to work there for seven years where I grew individually and professionally. It brought me to where I am today.”

Higher education opened doors for Karina to take her mission to a different horizon. She’s now a child education and development entrepreneur in Dubai, where she met her husband, John, in 2019. 

Unlike Karina, John came from a family that had yet to understand higher education’s worth. “I was the first one in my family to go to university, so that changed my life,” John shared. “And that was something completely new to my family. My parents thought, ‘Why spend five more years going to university to spend money before you actually start working?’ But it really made an enormous impact on my life.” By completing his degree, John gained the skills and knowledge he needed to work in a global advisory firm, enabling him to explore further opportunities in different parts of the world.

Around the same time Karina moved, John steered his career from the Netherlands to the U.A.E. in 2018. “I would have not been in Dubai and met Karina if I hadn’t gone to university,” John reminisced.

“I just found him somewhere,” Karina said with a chuckle.

Joys of Connection: Meeting Each Other, Meeting InvestEd

Two moves to Dubai, a chance encounter, and a pandemic wedding later, the couple began envisioning what they wanted to achieve together. They started searching for opportunities to grow as a family, financially and personally.

In the same stroke of serendipity that led them to each other, Karina and John chanced upon InvestEd online and found an immediate connection with its mission. The Scholtens started journeying with InvestEd anchored by shared goals and values—much like their own relationship.

“We make sure that we share our blessings. We also enjoy enabling growth through what we do. We value our joy and explorations,” shared Karina, highlighting how the couple’s partnership with InvestEd matches their values.

“InvestEd’s goal really aligns with what we find important,” John spoke of the organization’s mission to make higher education possible for more youth. “When we got in touch with Carmina, we had a very personal, honest conversation about what it is that InvestEd offers. What you can get from this, and what we get from this. But also, what are the risks? It was very clear… That clarity, combined with the reports that we got around performance, made [partnering with InvestEd] very open and transparent.”

For the Scholtens, partnering with an impact business like InvestEd helps them work toward their financial goals in an especially meaningful way. “While you help people, you also earn some interest. It’s a definite win-win,” John shared.

Karina also recounted, “For my family, not going to college was not an option, and I experienced firsthand where [college education] can take me and what I can get from it. I know that Filipinos are very hardworking, brilliant, and deserve the opportunity to maximize that potential.” The Scholtens’ partnership with InvestEd helps expand those opportunities for Filipino youth. 

Joys of Growth: Advice on Financial Goals

As higher education opened new doors for them, the Scholtens share the same hopes of growth and joy for Filipino youth and other couples working toward their goals.

“Enjoy what you’re doing together,” John advised. ”Talk to each other about the things that you deal with, and be transparent towards each other,” he shared, parallel to the honesty and communicativeness he valued in InvestEd as an impact partner.

“Set realistic goals that allow for savings, family and fun. Communication is key!” Karina added. 

With the completion of their degrees, Filipino young adults open a door to greater possibilities. Karina and John Scholten are grateful that partnering with InvestEd has already made higher education achievable for more youth—and their journey with each other and with the InvestEd community has only just begun.

About InvestEd Philippines

A globally-awarded social enterprise, InvestEd partners with family funds, employers, and financial institutions to finance the education of unbanked learners. Since its inception, the organization has raised over P150 million in capital from funders who seek to invest in education or build on specialized lending programs together with InvestEd. To date, InvestEd has helped thousands of low-income Filipino youth from 500+ schools increase their income and navigate success in a fast-changing world. If you would like to partner with the organization or start a fund for education, please contact [email protected]