From foster care to university: How to secure financial stability

Here's how education can ensure foster care and low-income students go to college debt free.

ByNzinga Blake, Alexis Johnson-Fowlkes, CharNae Brown WTVD logo
Saturday, January 27, 2024
From foster care to college: How to secure financial stability
In "Our America: In the Black," we explore how education can ensure foster care and low-income students go to college debt free.

Studies show that people from historically disadvantaged communities, especially the Black community, struggle with obtaining and retaining wealth in America. The financial disparities have only worsened following the pandemic.

According to 2020 census data, the median net worth of Black households is only $18,430, which is the lowest among any race or ethnicity in America. In comparison, the median net worth of all U.S. households is about 7.6 times higher than Black net worth.

The racial wealth gap has widened in recent years, which has prevented many Black Americans from building generational wealth. However, there are nonprofits, companies, and individuals working to reverse these statistics.

ABC Owned Television Stations is joining forces with Microsoft Philanthropy to drive conversations about building wealth in the Black community in a new one-hour documentary special called, "Our America: In The Black."

The special will follow Microsoft Philanthropic specialist, Darrell Booker, who works to close the racial wealth gap through their inclusive digital programs.

"Within our philanthropies division, we're committed to leveling the playing field to put in the power behind the back of these organizations using our data and technology," Booker said. "And I hope all the nonprofits take advantage of our tech acceleration program."

"Our America: In the Black" follows Booker on a journey across the country to shine a light on nonprofits working to educate the Black community on how to attain financial liberation or, as the financial industry would call it, getting them in the black.

The expression, in the black, is used in the financial world when referring to a company's recent financial status. When a company is in the black, it is said to be profitable and debt-free.

In the first part of the special, Booker is introduced to Hannah, an excelling foster care student who is enrolled in the college access program, Educating Students Together, that empowers economically disadvantaged students to pursue and achieve their college education dreams debt-free. The program, founded by Yasmin and Greg Delahoussaye, utilized Microsoft's acceleration program to scale their business.

"Microsoft's nonprofit tech acceleration program was a real game changer for our organization," Yasmin said. "When we first met Darrell, our annual revenue was $80,000. This past year, our revenues were $800,000 which is a 900% increase."

Hannah has been in the Educating Students Together Program for the past two years and Yasmin and Greg instantly saw her potential, which is why they thought she would be a great student to feature in the special.

"I wanted Hannah to be a part of 'Our America: In the Black' because Hannah is a young woman with a bright future," Yasmin said. "Less than 3% of all foster youth ever attend college and Hannah is an inspiration."

Hannah dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer and attending the renowned HBCU, Howard University.

"I wanted to go to a university to get a degree because I don't have to worry when's the next time I get a meal or eating grapefruit with sugar," she said.

Programs like Educating Students Together has secured up to $11 million in scholarships for students like Hannah. Over the years, Yasmin and Greg have received hundreds of applications every year. However, due to lack of adequate funding, they are only able to accept a limited amount of students.

Start your journey in empowering your community to achieve generational wealth with Microsoft nonprofit resources at www.aka.ms/NTA.

Watch the full special of "Our America: In the Black" to see how Hannah's story unfolds.

Watch "Our America: In the Black" starting Feb. 1 online and wherever you stream this station on Roku, Apple TV, FireTV or Google TV. And on Feb. 2, you can also find the special on Hulu's "Black Stories Always" hub, the ultimate streaming destination for Black stories and storytellers all year round.