Robert F. Smith, Stackwell, and Prudential Financial Launches First Ever Student Investment Program

Robert F. Smith, Stackwell, and Prudential Financial Launches First Ever Student Investment Program

The average college student spends about $2,270 per month on living expenses. Unfortunately, between the demand of coursework, extracurriculars and social activity, there’s little time left for many young adults to carve out working time.

Student Freedom Initiative (SFI), Stackwell, and Prudential Financial have partnered to fill that income gap.

In a news release, the launch of the Student Investment Program (SIP), a multi-year strategic partnership granting $500,000 in funding for HBCU students, was announced. The program will give $1,000 grants to each participating student’s investment account on the Stackwell platform and offer access to investing educational resources.

“This program uniquely provides the tools, capital, education and community support necessary to equip the next generation to take control of their financial futures,” said Robert F. Smith, Founder and Board Chairman of Student Freedom Initiative, and Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners in the news release. “This partnership with Stackwell and Prudential shows what the power of intentionality and collaboration can do to create long-term solutions to combat the racial wealth gap. Together, we can eliminate barriers to entry and drive greater representation of the Black community in the financial markets.”

This is just the latest initiative Smith has deployed in furthering Black wealth equity through his deep ties with HBCUs. In 2020, he made headlines when he told the 2020 graduating class at Morehouse he would pay their outstanding tuition costs, which was an estimated $34M. The billionaire also launched an income-based financing program for Black students that year as well, allowing rising juniors and seniors to borrow up to $20,000 per year after they’ve exhausted federal subsidized and unsubsidized loans, grants and other scholarships offered by their colleges, Edsurge reported.

The investment is yet another sweeping tactic aimed at closing the racial wealth gap and helping shoulder some of the financial burdens Black students face.

“At Stackwell, we are proud to partner with Student Freedom Initiative and Prudential Financial to invest in the future and advancement of current HBCU and MSI students,” said Trevor Rozier-Byrd, Founder and CEO of Stackwell in a news release. “Increasing Black participation and representation in the financial markets is critical to addressing the historic economic and social inequities that have disproportionately impacted HBCU students for decades. Together we will support and empower these future leaders of the Black community by providing them with access to capital, investment education and tools to build long-term sustainable wealth for themselves and their families for generations to come.”

The program is aimed at also equipping graduating students with the tools they need to jumpstart their post-grad lives immediately, and focus on wealth-building as opposed to playing catch up.

“We’re excited to launch this pilot investment program with Student Freedom Initiative and Stackwell,” said Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions at Prudential. “Prudential’s vision is to expand access to investing, insurance and retirement security and the program creates wealth building pathways for HBCU and MSI students. This catalytic program will not only address generational and racial barriers to wealth building that Gen Z minority students face today but will also build a solid foundation of financial wellness and a clear future for tomorrow’s leaders.”

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