BlackFem, Inc.: Building Opportunities for Women of Color

BlackFem,Inc
Young girls participating in the BlackFem, Inc. program (BlackFem.org)

Women of color have higher college completion rates than their male counterparts, but have zero or negative wealth. How is this possible? Well, the current sociopolitical system in America is structured to continually oppress women of color. Since 2007, the median wealth for Black and Latina women is between $100-$120, which is devastatingly low.

Based out of New York, BlackFem, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to building opportunities for women of color so, in the future, they can attain and build wealth. Chloe Mckenzie, the 24 year-old founder and CEO of BlackFem, started this organization after witnessing flaws and gaps in financial services while working as a trader at J.P. Morgan. “I felt as though I was not serving in such a way that I could feel as though I was truly helping those less fortunate,” Chloe explains.  Her organization has dedicated programs for girls as young as 3, and women through adulthood.

One of their programs, Money Does Grow on Trees, is centered around saving and compound interest and is taught from Pre-K to 2nd grade. Each participant in this program opens a savings account by the end. One participant, Azariah, left this program knowing how to make a balance sheet and plan out what assets she will have when she gets older. I am pretty sure she knows more than I do about assets and compound interest. The knowledge she is acquiring through these programs is both important and beneficial to her success as she gets older. You go, girl!

The goal is not to make women of color rich, but to provide the necessary tools to break this cycle of oppression and to empower women and girls of color to believe they can be wealthy. Gaining these tools and resources in order to obtain wealth and financial knowledge isn’t just a personal gain, but a generational one. Many women who have participated in the BlackFem programs continually reiterate that this lack of access to financial tools comes from years of denied access for their parents, grandparents, and so on. By gaining this access, they can then pass this knowledge down to their children, so they can utilize these tools and lead a successful life.

BlackFem, additionally, has an At School After School program with a school bank. This program has three essential components: 1) The school bank, where students create student credit reports for their peers at school, 2) the school currency, which students earn as their credit score increases, and 3) the the school store, where students can use their currency to purchase things like school supplies and movie tickets. This program is designed to give the students a hands-on experience with balancing and budgeting money and credit that they have earned through class attendance and homework completion. BlackFem will be partnering with 20 schools in high-poverty communities beginning next school year. To learn more about the after school programs and how you could help, please visit their school offerings page here.

BlackFem’s goal is to help 5,000 women and girls of color by the end of 2017, but they can’t do it without your help. Please visit their website to donate or get involved through volunteering, sponsoring, or bringing programs to your local schools. Help these women and girls out there succeed and gain the financial literacy they deserve.

Follow them on Twitter and visit their website today!

Twitter: @Black_Fem

Website: http://www.blackfem.org

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Women’s Information Network (WIN)

WIN-e1460927409398For pro-choice democratic women looking to connect with like-minded ladies, look no further than Women’s Information Network! WIN started in 1989 when a group of women who finished working on the Dukakis campaign came together to help each other re-enter the DC workforce. It started very casually at Karen Mulhauser’s home in the shape of a small dinner party. Ladies swapped stories, ideas, and plotted how to get jobs and expand their networks. The organization grew and today has two chapters: Washington DC and New York City.

WIN’s mission is composed of four parts: personal activism, professional development, political action, and pro-choice values. Every WIN event celebrates and elevates at least one of these arenas, whether it be financial classes, happy hours, sign making parties, or workshops supporting charity. As its title suggests, information is the biggest offering in this network. WIN members have access to shared google docs and email chains letting each other know about job openings, apartments for rent, political events, workshops, and other valuable opportunities in DC or NYC.

WIN is completely member driven and to become a member is simple! Go to the website (NY or DC) and fill out a short form asking about yourself, interests, and why you want to join. Upon approval you’ll have immediate access to shared google docs and emails with like-minded women.


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Caralie Chrisco

Caralie is a talent manager, entrepreneur, part time playwright, and newbie politico currently residing in Brooklyn with her husband and pup.