African American Organizations Are Working to Narrow the Wealth Gap
The median wealth for a white family was $188,200 in 2019, compared to $24,100 for Black families, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, released in September 2020. And while 72% of Whites own their own home, that number is only 42% for African Americans. This wealth gap is leaving behind generations of Americans. Our Money Matters (OMM), a free financial wellness platform, is committed to making a difference.
We know equity can’t exist without financial parity, and parity begins with knowledge. OMM’s goal is to enable as many people as possible to access our platform so they can eliminate debt, save for their future, and build familial wealth. That's why collaborating with universities and community organizations to spread the word is so crucial. Their members can take advantage of financial tools that will help them manage their money at every stage of their life with access to an extensive library of online courses, thousands of articles, videos, infographics, and other resources.
OMM is proud to work with groups such as the National Community Banking Alliance and the National HBCU Alumni Alliance, enabling members to use the platform free of charge to increase their financial knowledge. Churches in the black community are also playing a significant role in addressing economic inequities with their congregants. That’s why OMM was so pleased to begin our partnership with Berean Church-Gwinnett in January 2022. With over 2,000 parishioners, this collaboration provides an enormous opportunity to increase platform usage. Pastor Kevin B. Lee has led the congregation since its inception in 1995; Berean Church-Gwinnett plays an essential role in the lives of its members spiritually and through providing resources such as counseling, college scholarships, mental health awareness, and now financial education.
In a sermon by Pastor Lee, he talked to his parishioners about the importance of financial knowledge and that without access to information, people often make choices that can negatively impact their future. He also spoke about some of the decisions he and his wife made early in their marriage and expressed how helpful it would have been if they’d had access to tools like the Our Money Matters platform. Berean Church-Gwinnett has 222 congregants currently using the OMM platform to improve their financial future, and more are joining each day. As Pastor Lee continues, " We thank God for the Our Money Matters program. We are blessed to offer our congregants this excellent financial literacy platform.” Some of the top concerns for users are getting out of debt, saving more, and learning what they can do to improve their credit score. Fortunately, the OMM platform includes tools to help with all of these concerns.
At a recent financial wellness council on CNBC, black leaders also reiterated the need to increase financial literacy to bridge the racial wealth and income gap. Akbar Gbajabiamila, a former NFL football player and now the host of American Ninja Warrior, states, “The knowledge isn’t there, and there's this lack of trust.
Yet to become more knowledgeable about money, there need to be available resources.” We couldn’t agree more, and we intend to provide those free resources through the OMM platform to as many people as possible. But we can only do that through our generous support from the Wells Fargo Foundation and our essential collaborations with universities and organizations. By working together, we can transform lives.
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