WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today, Student Freedom Initiative (SFI), Stackwell, and Prudential Financial announced the launch of the Student Investment Program (SIP), a multi-year strategic partnership granting $500,000 in funding to students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) nationwide within the SFI network. The pilot program will distribute $1,000 grants to each participating student’s investment account on the Stackwell platform and will provide access to investment education and other resources to help increase their investing confidence and financial wellness to address the expanding racial wealth gap in the United States.
“This program uniquely provides the tools, capital, education and community support necessary to equip the next generation to take control of their financial futures,” said Robert F. Smith, Founder and Board Chairman of Student Freedom Initiative, and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. “This partnership with Stackwell and Prudential shows what the power of intentionality and collaboration can do to create long-term solutions to combat the racial wealth gap. Together, we can eliminate barriers to entry and drive greater representation of the Black community in the financial markets.”
The racial wealth gap is the largest of the economic disparities between Black and white Americans, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Federal Reserve data show white households hold on average eight times more wealth than Black households, with that figure growing to 17-times for the Millennial population and Gen Z. By providing financial acumen to the most affected generations in the Black community, the SIP seeks to have the greatest impact on those individuals, empowering them to take control of their financial futures as they prepare to enter the workforce and begin their career journeys.
“At Stackwell, we are proud to partner with Student Freedom Initiative and Prudential Financial to invest in the future and advancement of current HBCU and MSI students,” said Trevor Rozier-Byrd, Founder and CEO of Stackwell. “Increasing Black participation and representation in the financial markets is critical to addressing the historic economic and social inequities that have disproportionately impacted HBCU students for decades. Together we will support and empower these future leaders of the Black community by providing them with access to capital, investment education and tools to build long-term sustainable wealth for themselves and their families for generations to come.”
The impetus for the program is to reduce the financial stress associated with attending college, better position students and their families to protect themselves against key financial risks, redress historical and social inequities, and increase the financial preparedness of students upon graduation.
“We’re excited to launch this pilot investment program with Student Freedom Initiative and Stackwell,” said Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential. “Prudential’s vision is to expand access to investing, insurance and retirement security and the program creates wealth building pathways for HBCU and MSI students. This catalytic program will not only address generational and racial barriers to wealth building that Gen Z minority students face today but will also build a solid foundation of financial wellness and a clear future for tomorrow’s leaders.”
This first-of-its-kind partnership will commence in the first quarter of 2023 and will be open to students attending the 43 HBCUs and other MSIs within the SFI network. Approximately 500 participating students will be selected in a manner that ensures representation from several SFI institutions. For students at the same institution, priority will be given based on the sequential order in which they submit their registration forms. The selection will be on a first-come, first-served basis and students will be required to participate in Prudential Pathways℠ workshops. The grant funding will be invested on the Stackwell platform, and Stackwell will provide students with investment education and support through its app and community-based engagements. Grant funding will be distributed to the investment accounts of participating students over a 12-month period to encourage participants to sustain investment commitments while normalizing positive wealth-building behaviors.
Student Freedom Initiative is now accepting applications from students within its network to participate in the investment program. To learn more about the SIP, please visit: https://studentfreedominitiative.org/student-investment-program/.
About Student Freedom Initiative
A single purpose nonprofit organization, Student Freedom Initiative aims to reduce the wealth gap through the lens of education. This is achieved by providing a catalyst for freedom in professional and life choices for students attending Minority Serving Institutions (“MSIs”) by increasing their social and economic mobility using a student centric, evidence based, holistic, and collaborative approach. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Student Freedom Initiative enables mobility through four transformational components: (1) Student Freedom Fund as a private education loan alternative to Parent PLUS loans, (2) Internships and industry-driven certifications, (3) Comprehensive Supports, and (4) Targeted MSI Capacity Building (e.g., access to affordable broadband, strengthening endowment governance and risk adjusted returns, workforce development in clean energy). Student Freedom Initiative collaborates with community-based organizations, businesses, and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire MSI ecosystem.
To date, the Student Freedom Initiative has received generous contributions from Robert F. Smith, Fund 2 Foundation, Cisco, Jane Street, Prudential, First Republic, and the Walmart Foundation. The program has also been acknowledged and supported by the Business Roundtable’s Racial Equity & Justice Subcommittee on Education. Our ability to provide support to MSI students is based on the continued financial support of these donors and others interested in supporting our mission.
To learn more, visit www.StudentFreedomInitiative.org or follow us on Twitter @StudentFreedom.
Stackwell Capital, Inc., is a fintech company that has created a digital investment platform for the Black community that is designed to eliminate the racial wealth gap in America. Stackwell provides the financial investment tools and guidance necessary to help build lasting wealth, equity, and equal opportunity. Stackwell is a member of the 2022 Financial Solutions Lab, and MassChallenge U.S. Early Stage accelerator programs. For more information, visit stackwellcapital.com.
About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a global financial services leader and premier active global investment manager with more than $1.3 trillion in assets under management as of September 30, 2022, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people by expanding access to investing, insurance, and retirement security. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise, and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.