The 35*2 Free Initiative
Our Case for Impact
As conferred by sources including Inc.com and Essence Magazine, Black women are the most institutionally-educated demographic in the U.S., pursuing advanced and terminal degrees at higher rates as a means for achieving new levels of success and ideally, opening more financial and professional doors.
However, because many Black women do not come from high levels of generational family wealth to lean on for funding their education, these pursuits leave them with staggering piles of student debt—a problem substantially furthered as they progress into the workplace thanks to a pay gap of 63 cents on every dollar earned by their white male peers.
Oftentimes, many Black women find themselves pursuing increasingly more advanced credentials as a way to assuage this deficit, only to continue to have their efforts undercut by disparity in being passed over for more lucrative, secure job opportunities and promotions due to widespread racial and gender biases, leaving them with both more debt (an estimated $35B to be more specific) and lower incomes than their colleagues of other racial and gender backgrounds.
Moreover, Black women suffer the most from lack of access to financial education, as substantiated by a 35% average financial literacy rate, a statistic derived from the Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC.)
Outlined above is the circular reinforcement of the racial wealth gap, which for far too long has limited the freedom of Black women and held them back from achieving their dreams and reaching their full potential.
That’s why The Prosp(a)rity Project has assembled the 35*2 Free Initiative as a first-of-its-kind solution that resolves the aforementioned pain points of burdensome student debt, low financial literacy rates and barriers to increased earnings.
Through this program, we’re serving Black women known as our Prosparettes by helping them achieve freedom from these obstacles so that they can go on to lead their most successful lives and in turn, pay their newfound advantages forward through a more virtuous cycle of generational generosity.
The Disparities We're Targeting:
In Student Loan Debt
Stemming from the overarching $1.7T student debt crisis, Black women collectively hold approximately $35B in student debt as a result of being the most institutionally-educated population.
Financial Literacy Rate
While statistics show that the Black community collectively has an average financial literacy rate of 38%, the percentage for Black women is even lower at just 35%, making them most socioeconomically vulnerable.
Multiple studies analyzing the wealth gap in the U.S. have been conducted, with findings revealing that Black women are paid between .61-.64 for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts.
A successful applicant fits the following profile:
Reside permanently within the U.S.
Bachelor’s degree completed at minimum
A graduate of at least one accredited predominantly white U.S. college or university
Between the ages of 25-35
Has at least two years full employment following college
Has at least two full years of student debt repayment history
Owes at least $40K in student loan debt
Earns an annual income of less than $80-$100K (salary cap prorated based on city of residence)
Demonstrates a strong motivation to improve their financial situation
Has a strong interest in paying it forward to help the next generation
Seeking more career satisfaction and fulfillment
The strength of our program relies on the following three pillars working together:
1) Retroactive scholarships of $10,000, earned through participation in our program over 12 months and paid out directly to the corresponding lending institutions
2) An outcome-based financial literacy curriculum and coaching that helps Prosparettes learn and embody new financial management skills, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and habits so they can effectively plan and make progress to get out of debt and work toward their bigger goals
3) 1:1 and small group financial and career coaching to provide personalized assistance and accountability in progress toward their goals, and career acceleration support for those who are seeking higher levels of satisfaction through their work
The Prosp(a)rity Project will also provide ongoing opportunities for additional coaching, workshops and career advancement resources for the Prosparettes after they graduate from the 35*2 Free Initiative, along with fee-based educational opportunities and resources to Black women who are not eligible for our primary program.
Our measure of success is that 100% of Prosparettes in the 35*2 Free Initiative will report in a self-assessment that our program had a significant positive impact in their lives. And in objective metrics, their credit scores, earnings, savings and investments will all steadily improve over the long term as well. We define success as steady, measurable progression out of debt and toward financial freedom.
"When Black women win victories, it is a boost for virtually every segment of society."