MBU partners with Goalsetter to boost financial literacy

MARY BALDWIN UNIVERSITY has partnered with national financial literacy nonprofit Goalsetter Foundation and Citizens Bank on a new program designed to help close wealth gaps among young people of color.

The partnership with MBU and Citizens marks Goalsetter’s first foray into higher education.

As part of Goalsetter’s Share the Future campaign, the program will give 500 Mary Baldwin students one share of Citizens stock each in addition to access to Goalsetter’s award-winning platform and financial education content.

The program will give students access to Goalsetter’s award-winning platform, five years of educational financial literacy content, and one share of Citizens stock.

“I CAN’T EXPRESS how excited we are to be able to bring this opportunity to our students, and to continue to play a role in this extremely important work,” said MBU Vice President of Student Engagement Ernest Jeffries, who spent the past year working on the partnership. “This program aligns perfectly with our mission to equip students with the skills they need to lead lives filled with personal and professional success.”

“At Citizens, we believe that having strong financial knowledge is essential to each one of us unlocking our full potential,” said Yvette Vargas, Head of Development, Citizens. “We’re proud to partner with Mary Baldwin and the Goalsetter Foundation on this program that will empower and inspire young men of color with the confidence and tools they need to own their financial success.”

Vargas picked MBU because the university’s mission — and track record of achievement in its pursuit — mirrors that of their organizations.

Nationally recognized for its innovative approach to youth-centered financial education, Goalsetter is a goal-based savings and smart spending educational platform that provides the foundational tools of building wealth to families. Goalsetter puts students on the path to financial freedom by teaching them to be savers, investors and owners over consumers.

Its focus and success on helping to bring the financial education conversation to the forefront has garnered many accolades in the past year, including being named to Fast Company’s 2022 “Brands That Matter” list.

Clockwise from upper left: MBU Vice President of Student Engagement Dr. Ernest Jeffries posing with a student at Commencement 2022, the view from Page Terrace during Commencement 2022, a student studying in Grafton Library.

“PARTNERING WITH Mary Baldwin and Citizens on this effort was a no-brainer for us,” said Goalsetter founder and CEO Tanya Van Court. “With the school loan crisis and increasing wealth gap that is crippling American families, particularly in communities of color, it was clear to us that it was important to bring these students into the fold now so that they can be fiscally healthier, wealthier, and wiser as they move on into adulthood.”

U.S. News & World Report ranks MBU among the nation’s top colleges and universities — and number one in the Commonwealth of Virginia — for boosting social mobility.

About half of Mary Baldwin students come from families who earn less than $60,000 a year, a quarter are first-generation college goers, and more than 50 percent identify as people of color.

This is a university that excels at “empowering students to live lives of purpose and become the professional, civic, and community leaders of tomorrow,” Vargas told students. “I can’t tell you the honor of being able to work with you. We are confident in the fact that you’re going to be the change that you want to see in the world.”

“This is the wealth gap that Mary Baldwin is committed to helping close — and this partnership gives us a very strong tool in that fight.”

Vice President Student Engagement Ernest Jeffries

How does the new program work?

Participating MBU students claim their share of Citizens stock by attending info sessions and downloading the Goalsetter mobile app. The app helps them set up free savings and investment accounts, establish savings goals, and monitor their stock’s performance. Weekly learning modules, tutorials, and follow-up quizzes build literacy around financial terms, investment plans, and more.

MBU advisors and professors plan to reinforce in-app learning through personal check-ins and supplemental educational programming.

Jeffries points to national statistics that show such students typically suffer lifelong economic disadvantages compared to their white counterparts.

For instance, the Federal Reserve estimates the median and mean wealth of Black families in the United States to be about 15 percent of that of white families, with Latino families at about 20 percent.

More disconcerting are predictions that African Americans could have a negative net worth by as soon as 2043, and Latinos by 2063.

“This is the wealth gap that Mary Baldwin is committed to helping close — and this partnership gives us a very strong tool in that fight,” said Jeffries. “By the time these students graduate, they’ll be able to talk about things like stocks and bonds, asset allocation and diversification with confidence, as if these were simple everyday topics.”

Interested in learning more about MBU, campus life, and all of our amazing programs? Click or Tap HERE.