The racial wealth gap in America is gradually widening. According to a study released by Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies, if economic disparities persist the median wealth of Black families could drop to zero by 2053. Social entrepreneur Chloe McKenzie is on a mission to level the playing field for Black women when it comes to wealth creation through her nonprofit Black Fem, Forbes reported.
McKenzie’s life experiences shaped her outlook on wealth literacy and ultimately led her to her purpose of empowering women and girls of color through financial wellness. Growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland—a place where many affluent African American families reside—she saw examples of Black wealth. Despite coming from a household plagued by drug addiction, McKenzie overcame the odds and excelled academically. After college, she secured a job on Wall Street working at JP Morgan. Although she loved her job, she was cognizant of the lack of racial representation on the trading floor; an observation that sparked her passion to examine the barriers that people who look like her face when trying to step into these spaces. When McKenzie’s health took a turn after being diagnosed with autoimmune disorders, she started to delve deeper into discovering her purpose and decided that she wanted to empower individuals from disenfranchised communities by providing them with financial literacy resources.
In 2015, she launched Black Fem; a nonprofit dedicated to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. The organization works to drive economic impact in underserved communities through the implementation of custom financial literacy curriculums at schools. Through Black Fem’s WealthRise™ model, the nonprofit works in concert with school districts to mandate financial literacy lessons five days a week to help youngsters adopt principles that will be instrumental in creating and sustaining wealth.
“What inspired me to begin fighting for wealth justice came from recognizing how wealth and privilege saved my life and how few Black women are afforded the same opportunity,” McKenzie told Forbes. “I became passionate about designing the most rigorous and effective solutions to closing the wealth gap, particularly for Black women and women of color. Black Fem stands for Black feminism, which states that if we liberate those at the bottom, we are really liberating everyone.” The entrepreneur also penned a book dubbed The Activist Investor which explores how investors can make a social impact.
Several efforts are being made to close the racial wealth gap. Virginia-based father-son duo Kevon L. Chisolm and Kamari Chisolm launched Black WallStreeter Consultation Services to aid the Black community in wealth creation.