How the 100 Black Men of America empowers youths by investing in their future
Young people are learning lifelong financial skills and how to build wealth via the stock market as part of a Wells Fargo Junior Investment program that pairs students with mentors from the 100 Black Men of America.
For 14 weeks, Jada Rabun eyed the stock market like an investment professional. She’s one of many students across the country who took part in the Wells Fargo Junior Investment program, a simulation game that teaches young people how to invest.
Paired with mentors from their local 100 Black Men of America chapter, the young people are primed to take what they’ve learned and grow multigenerational wealth later in life.
Using the SIFMA Foundation’s Stock Market Game program, student teams are given a virtual $100,000 to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and learn the value of capital markets as they work together to maximize the return of their portfolios.
The competition recently culminated in Las Vegas where five finalist teams competed at the 100 Black Men of America’s annual conference. Since 1963, the Atlanta-based organization has mentored young Black people to prepare them to be future leaders.
“Just being in [the competition] after four years, and going on to my fifth year, I really see the benefits of it,” Jada said. “I would have never imagined in eighth grade for me to be at a national conference.”
Making generational change
Now in its fourth year, the Wells Fargo Junior Investment program is delivered to students by mentors like Moses Harris, a senior Black and African American Segment leader for Wells Fargo who’s been a member of the Los Angeles chapter of 100 Black Men for eight years. Harris covers stock market fundamentals and its risks with young people each Saturday morning as part of the program.
“We like to give our students the education, and with education comes confidence. When you’re confident, you’re able to perform and participate.” — Moses Harris, Senior Black and African American Segment Leader for Wells Fargo
“Early on, our students are a little timid on what they should do and how many shares they should buy,” Harris said. “We like to give our students the education, and with education comes confidence. When you’re confident, you’re able to perform and participate.”
The 100 Black Men of America and programs like the Junior Investment program aim to not only help kids learn to create long-term wealth, but also foster mentor relationships between generations.
“We see the parents are very engaged and interested,” said Bonnie Wallace, head of Financial Health Philanthropy for Wells Fargo. “So, it’s really extending the learning not only with the youth, but with the older generation as well.”
Jada is the third generation in her family to be involved with the 100 Black Men. Her father, John Rabun, was brought to the group’s Los Angeles chapter by his own father as a high school student.
“Generation to generation, it means a lot,” John said. “[The organization] has had a profound impact on me and my family, and so I wanted to introduce [it to] my daughters.”
Carrying financial lessons through life
The 100 Black Men of America and Wells Fargo have worked together for 34 years, from sponsorships to supporting programs like Pathways for Success, which provides workforce readiness to mentees across the nation. This collaboration is part of Wells Fargo's broader commitment to increase pathways to economic opportunity for historically marginalized communities as The Bank of Doing.
“Generational wealth gives you the opportunity to have a better life. Not only for you, but for your kids.” — Lester Owens, former head of Operations for Wells Fargo
“Generational wealth gives you the opportunity to have a better life. Not only for you, but for your kids,” said Lester Owens, former head of Operations and Operating Committee Member for Wells Fargo. “The more that we can give somebody the opportunity to be successful, the more they can carry that with them for generations for others to be successful as well.” Owens is also a member of the 100 Black Men of America.
Jada is beginning to see doors that the Junior Investment Competition and the 100 Black Men could open. She’s already looking at colleges, including some historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Her current plan is to pursue a medical or business degree.
“[The 100 Black Men] has really helped spark my interest in the business field,” she said. “I’m going to continue the program probably for life.”