Businessman and philanthropist Robert F. Smith is furthering his efforts to use financial literacy as a vessel to empower youth, and one of his latest projects is centered on introducing children to the world of stocks. Smith has teamed up with the digital money management company Goalsetter to create an initiative aimed at equipping Black and Latinx youth with the tools needed to cultivate generational wealth.
The racial wealth gap is a longstanding issue that has plagued America for generations. Research shows African Americans hold only 4 percent of the country’s wealth, and the net worth of a white family is nearly ten times greater than a Black family. Aware of the staggering statistics and the widening disparities, Smith teamed up with Goalsetter to change the narrative and tackle socio-economic barriers standing in the way of generating wealth.
Through the initiative —dubbed One Stock. One Future.— corporations will collectively work together to donate at least 1,000 shares that will be distributed amongst Black and Latinx children throughout the country. The Goalsetter platform will enable parents and guardians to create custodial brokerage accounts to hold company stock for their children. Youth will also have access to an array of culturally competent money management tools that will teach them about everything from entrepreneurship to saving and investing.
Smith says the initiative will be instrumental in leveling the playing field when it comes to building wealth. “In partnership with corporations across the country, we are creating a turning point for America’s Black and Latinx kids. From today forward, they will no longer solely be consumers who make every company in America wealthy by what they spend,” he said in a statement. “Through this initiative, we are creating a generation of investors and owners who can pave their way to wealth by owning a piece of the companies that make the American economy great. They, too, can learn to be participants in our flourishing economy, not just bystanders, and the companies they love can help them get there.”
The initiative’s organizers are on a mission to help one million Black and Latinx youth become shareholders. Amongst the companies who have donated shares are Twitter, Lyft, HP, Comcast, NBCUniversal and others. The Executive Leadership Council will also play an integral role in amplifying the program. It will contribute $100,000 to sponsor accounts and provide financial literacy-focused courses over the next five years.
News about the initiative comes nearly a year after it was announced Smith was launching an HBCU-inspired, STEAM education school in Denver.