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Harlem Children’s Zone Wealth Builds Featured in The New York Times

Above: Harlem Children's Zone CEO Kwame Owusu-Kesse was featured in a story about HCZ's Wealth Build initiative in The New York Times. (Photo/The New York Times)

Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ) Wealth Builds — an audacious new initiative that aims to end intergenerational poverty and close the wealth gap by empowering young people and families to build successful financial futures — is featured in The New York Times.

The story, “A Plan to Help Harlem Students Build Wealth: Start Them Off With $10,000,” explores Wealth Builds’ Youth Opportunity Fund (YOF), one of nine research-backed pillars the initative deploys. Through YOF, our scholars receive an investment fund they can withdraw from in adulthood for wealth-generating activities, such as paying for college, trade school or other post-secondary programs, buying their first home, or starting a business. These activities can be pathways to life-changing social and economic mobility — and the American Dream.

In addition to YOF, Wealth Builds features robust financial literacy classes and workshops, career support services, entrepreneurship and employment programming, and additional scholarships and financial investment opportunities for scholars and families.

At HCZ, we are proud that we have successfully eliminated the Black-white achievement gap in our schools and sent thousands of our scholars to college. However, as our CEO Kwame Owusu-Kesse acknowledges in The New York Times story, “Education alone cannot bridge the gap in wealth that has been growing along racial lines for decades.”

“What good is financial education, if you don’t have the assets to apply said education to?” he asked. “It’s the next logical step.”