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This new nonprofit wants to help high school students build financial literacy

Philadelphia Financial Scholars grew from a program offered by FS Foundation and University of Pennsylvania's Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Philadelphia Financial Scholars. (Image via twitter.com/fsinvestments)

Technical.ly is one of 20+ news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push toward economic justice.

Philadelphia is statistically the poorest major city in America. One idea to fight that: financial literacy and entrepreneurship education for Philly youth.

Philadelphia Financial Scholars (PFS) launched this week to help high school students develop “wealth-building tools” via lessons on budgeting and saving, as well as building a business plan.

The nonprofit grew from an existing in-class financial literacy program for high school students started in 2016 by FS Foundation, the Navy Yard-based asset management firm FS Investments’ philanthropic arm, in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania’s Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

As that program expanded to include after-school entrepreneurship lessons, a Wharton School summer business accelerator, an annual Financial Scholars Business Pitch Competition, and added curriculum for families and teachers, its organizers moved to formalize the program within its own nonprofit entity. The goal is to increase programming and reach more students.

PFS partners include other local financial service companies, law firms, accounting firms and community orgs, the nonprofit said in a statement Monday.

“We are so pleased to now have such a terrific collection of partners working together to address Philadelphia’s most significant societal issue, systemic wealth inequality,” PFS board chair and FS Investments exec Mike Gerber said. “The Philadelphia financial services community has always been generous, but this is the first time we’ve all coordinated on such an ambitious mission.”

Programming has reached more than 1,500 students across 15 public and charter schools, according to the org. School leaders interested in getting their students involved can learn more and apply on PFS’s website.

Michael Butler is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.
Companies: FS Investments
Series: Broke in Philly

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