In April 2022, according to Blackstar News, The Eagle Academy Foundation – a non-profit dedicated to “creating a new pipeline of academic and social success for inner-city young men,” – announced that they had teamed up with two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Spelman College and Morehouse College, to offer “an extracurricular financial education program for students enrolled at the Eagle Academy school.” The program, called REACH, was designed and is led by HBCU students. The aim of the initiative is to provide young men of color with the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve financial freedom and success.
Black men in the U.S. have faced societal barriers that prevent them from breaking the cycle of generational poverty. “For far too long, Black Americans have been prevented from accessing resources to build lasting, generational wealth,” Robert F. Smith said when the initiative was announced. He added that he hoped the project would inspire students to think about a future that includes investments and that other companies would be galvanized to join the initiative.
A 2020 study by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CERP) reported that Black men have experienced the highest unemployment rates for the past two decades compared to all other racial/gender groups. Additionally, data from another study found that Black men who grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, similar education levels and even similar levels of accumulated wealth” as white men consistently earned less than them. And Black men raised in wealthy families were more likely to become poor than white men, who remained stable in the socio-economic class they were born into.
The Eagle Academy Foundation was founded in 2004 by “a group of educators, parents, community leaders, and corporate partners, led by the One Hundred Black Men, Inc.” to be part of a solution to this crisis. The first Eagle Academy School, which opened up that same year in the South Bronx was the first all-boys public school to open up in New York City in about 30 years. Today, the non-profit organization has grown to a total of six college-preparatory Eagle Academy schools across New York City and New Jersey that educate, support and mentor young men from under-resourced communities in grades 6 through 12. Through the new REACH program, as outlined by Blackstar News, HBCU and Eagle Academy students, along with some Eagle Academy parents, will participate in a Stock Market game which “simulates real-world investment in the stock market to strengthen participants’ understanding of finances and investing.”
The implementation of the REACH program comes after an announcement in October 2021 that founder, Chairman, and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith, partnered with the Morehouse College Class of 2019 to donate nearly 15,000 shares of stock in Vista’s “publicly traded portfolio companies to each of the approximately 2,900 students, teachers, and staff members of the Eagle Academies for Young Men.” The gift was powered by Black female-owned investment and money management app, Goalsetter. The app not only hosts the shares, but also provides financial education tools and games to every recipient in the Eagle Academy network to help the young men learn how to become lifelong investors.
Learn more about how Goalsetter is filling the financial literacy gap for teens of color.