The 35*2 Free Initiative
Taking America's Black women beyond debt-free.
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.
The 35*2 Free Initiative is designed to be a comprehensive solution to the aforementioned hurdles that place Black women at a disproportionate disadvantage.
Thus, the program is comprised of the following four components:
A "retroactive scholarship" that covers portions of the student debt incurred from degree program(s)
Personalized financial literacy coaching
Tools for entrepreneurial & professional development
Paying it forward to facilitate "generational generosity"
Part 1: Intake
Prospect applies to become a Prosperette (beneficiary) via intake form
Those who meet criterion selected for interview
Upon successful demonstration of need & lender verification, retroactive scholarship disbursed over 12 month period
The Bigger Picture
To us, helping Black women become debt free and more financially secure is simply scratching the surface of reaching our impact potential.
Beyond this, we're out to create long-lasting, self-sustaining change through facilitating two key cultural mindset shifts:
What's the single largest giving gesture you've made? How many people were you able to help? Do you wish you were able to help to a larger extent? How long did your gift last? These are the questions at the forefront of our programming because as we see it, investing in our Prosperettes is also investing in their ability to be of help and service to others.
Moreover, we avoid quantifying generosity solely in terms of monetary wealth, since we recognize that knowledge, time and other resources are just as valuable and effective change agents.
Because we live in a world that's long been domineered by a scarcity mindset (fear that there's never enough which leads to hoarding and stinginess), we're training our Prosperettes to instead embrace an abundance mindset and actively seek out opportunities to give to others. This is achieved through the pay it forward phase of our 35*2 Free Initiative, which involves giving not as a one-off measure, but a routine behavior that's well-integrated into everyday life.
One of the silent and most pervasive underlying contributors to the student debt crisis is reinforcement of the idea that education can only come in a singular, one-size-fits-all vessel.
While traditional four-year and advanced degrees do in fact make sense for some, the investment does not always translate into increased earnings and/or career advancement for graduates, and in the case of student debt borrowers who are on the hook regardless of whether their professional aspirations go according to plan, this risk can backfire severely and ultimately render the credential(s) earned a "net negative."
To prevent this cycle from continuing further, we encourage our Prosperettes and community members alike to be medium agnostic as it pertains to furthering their education—aka, caring more about the relevance and applicability of the knowledge they obtain and less about what form it takes.