Impacting the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth in NYC Through Financial Literacy all while Making it Fun and Cool
Teaching Financial Literacy to inner city kids designed by an inner city kid with tools to learn simply wherever they are.
My interview with Devin Thorpe on the "Your Mark on the World" podcast last year
Kid interacting with our financial literacy app
Testimonial, kids keep it real.
Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.
Initiative's representative name
Initiative's representative date of birth
Initiative’s representative gender
Which eligible market are you based in?
Where are you making a difference?
USA, NY, NY
Website or social media url(s)
When was your organisation founded?
Financial skills and capability
Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)
Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?
1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed
My parents and I immigrated to NYC from Bangladesh. My dad did not understand the credit system so he messed up his credit score, my mom learned from this and build her score as well as a savings. Right around 2007 gentrification hit our neighborhood hard, so we got priced out of our hood in Queens. My mom mortgaged us a house and we finally had a home. I never forgot this feeling after moving around constantly as a kid. At same time I started high school at Brooklyn Tech where I met many New Yorkers from around the city experiencing same things and it was something we were not being prepared for. Then I started college at CCNY where I met my professor and Co-founder Glen who introduced me to social entrepreneurship and We founded Money Hub
2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?
The problem plaguing the low-income neighborhoods in NYC is that they are severely unbanked or underbanked so households are forced to turn to predatory lenders, check cashing places and liquor/lotto stores draining capitals from everyday people.
3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.
Our approach is to teach the kids so we bring our own innovative curriculum which prepares them for the economy of tomorrow all while showing them ways to build generational wealth in a culturally relevant way at organizations and schools in neighborhoods they are in so there are no travel restrictions, they can also reference our teaching tools online on our website, youtube, as well as our gaming app in the ios store. They can always reach out to us with questions, favorite among first generation college bound students on our social media pages where we are building an online community among generation z as the source for financial and entrepreneurial expertise. As well as our partnerships with innovative online banks to provide savings account, credit building accounts, and investing accounts to build wealth early on.
4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?
March of 2018 we conducted a workshop with college bound seniors and presented a challenge of those who can maintain a credit score above 700 by the end of the year will receive a gift from us. So come December and the first to reach out to us was Mya with a screenshot sent to our Instagram of her credit score above 700 and mentioning how prepared she felt going into college and how she's been able to use our online tools to stay sharp and keep learning through our gaming educational app. Then being able to share the resources with her friends in college as well. We reinforced her financial behaviors by rewarding her with an amazon giftcards in front of the new cohort at the Brotherhood/sister Sol in Harlem where she was in our workshop.
6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health
We created the first version on a very small budget of a gamified financial literacy app that teaches financial literacy based on feedback from the students we serve in our workshops, we are also creating a online community of generation z on our social media pages and becoming the hub for financial literacy expertise, all while providing tools they can apply straight from their phone to create their financial footprint on the right foot.
6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.
We are focusing on fostering developing a different relationship with money so it becomes a tool they can utilize as oppose to being an obstacle or and end result while pursuing their dreams. We plan to measure progress by helping them acquire assets, build savings and stay out of bad debt. We plan to measure this through building credit scores, racking up savings and keeping debt as low possible as well as having students that go on to being happy adults in careers they always wanted to be in.
7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?
There are the nonprofits that have been around for ages using archaic tactics to not fully engage youths to teach them about the economy of yesterday, but they are very well funded. The app based learning tools that fail to engage all the students that don't fit into their algorithm. Or the programs created by an outsider coming in as the savior with no cultural context or a true desire to improve the lives of the participants. Just a perceived notion of what they might need.
8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?
So far we've impacted 4,000+ students on a very small budget while building partnership in 4 out of the 5 boroughs in NYC. With near perfect approval from participants that want to take more workshops, 90% learned something new. We applied to get Department of Education vendor license this year which would permanently put us in schools across the city and state.
In March, 2018 we conducted a workshop for first generation college bound seniors at Brotherhood/sister Sol in Harlem where we presented a challenge, maintain credit score above 700 until end of year and we will reward. So in December Mya DM'd our instagram a screenshot of her credit score about 700 along with message on how our online tools helped her prepare and go into first year with confidence. She also shared our resources with her friends, so then we presented her with a 50$ amazon giftcard in front of the new cohort.
9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?
When we started the organization the first two years we were self funded and little bit from a small grant our goal was to make impact and build relationship. By our third year those relationships turned into paid opportunities. Last year those opportunities turned into long term partnerships. So the last two years we were sustained through fee for service. Last summer we received our 501c3 status so now we are looking to apply to foundations, grants, governments and corporation funding. These fundings would help us build the infrastructure for scaling. From our inception a lot of young professionals donated their time and skill set to help build us as they believed in our mission so we believe we can build upon that with funding raised.
Mohammed Faisal Co-founder/Chief Executive Officer, Bachelor in Economics lived experience of the topic that led to formation of program and a passion for justice, full-time
Natalie Alcide Director of Communication, Masters of Graphic Designs, full-time
Shean Hinds Program Director, experience managing similar youth organization of larger scale, full-time
Joshua Varghese CTO, founded and operates digital marketing company, part-time
Glen Patterson Co-founder/ Board President, MPA, professor
Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)
Disability (including: physical, intellectual, and/or mental disabilities)
If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?
Nationality because Bengali are underrepresented I believe their categorization as Asians erases their struggles in the U.S. The income statistics for asians as a whole fails to acknowledge the poverty suffered by bengalis in NYC. Disability, physical I was in a car accident last year which hospitalized me for 3 months and in a coma for 2 weeks and left me with a TBI which affected my motor functionality as well as speech, I can talk now, no longer wheelchair bound, but my right arm paralyzed.
How did you hear about this challenge?
Participated in previous Ashoka challenges