Sequoia Clay Rejoins CFFL As Program Coordinator

In February 2018, Sequoia Clay rejoined the CFFL as a Program Coordinator responsible for managing collegiate initiatives and outreach on the campuses of the Atlanta University Center. Sequoia graduated from Spelman College in 2015 with a B.A. in Economics/Management and Organization. She recently shared details of her experience with the organization as a student and why she decided to give back to help current students now that she has started her professional career.

How did you first hear about the CFFL and what was your initial involvement as a student?

I was a sophomore in college looking to be a part of a financial literacy organization. It is not surprising that I first heard about CFFL through a simple google search. I reached out to the email provided on the CFFL website and immediately received a call from the director, Rod Batiste! He happened to be working on trying to facilitate a financial literacy session on a college campus, so I jumped on the opportunity to help! Since then, CFFL has remained a Spelman organization that continues to engage students with personal finance workshops. It is crazy how things come together when you just take that leap of faith!

What impact do you feel your program participation had on you and your classmates at Spelman?

I feel CFFL has made a HUGE impact on me as well as my classmates at Spelman, because before there weren’t any personal finance organizations/outlets on campus. I was raised by a single black mother and growing up, I was never exposed to investing or building credit. CFFL has allowed me to build my financial awareness and gave me the confidence to help my peers in understanding the concepts of budgeting and building credit.  

What prompted you to reengage with the organization now that you have started your career?

I moved back to Atlanta to pursue a career in healthcare consulting. As my personal finance knowledge learned from being a part of CFFL has been very useful, I have realized that I have even more learning to do in order to take advantage of my new job and salary. I believe that this translates for many students who enter into the work force post-graduation. Many graduates like me want to maximize on their savings and quickly build wealth to potentially “retire” early (versus waiting until the “retiring age” of 65). These factors fueled my desire and interest to reengage with CFFL. I am a financial independence advocate and CFFL provides an excellent platform to create programs that expose young people to the benefits and opportunities of financial awareness.  

What would you like to see the program become in the future?

I would like for CFFL to continue to build and expand its reach, because this platform has the potential to affect positive change for the black community. According to The Survey of Consumer Finance Data created by the Federal Reserve bank, more 1/4 black households have a zero or negative net worth, compared to less than 1/10 white families without wealth, which explains the large differences in the racial wealth gap. My hope is that CFFL continues to strategize, grow, and do the work necessary in building a new generation of financially empowered people!  

American Explorers Partnership

In March 2018, the Community Foundation for Financial Literacy (CFFL) began its partnership with the Atlanta American Explorers program. American Explorers provides a collection of year-round programs and hands-on learning experiences for selected high school students to deepen and refine their leadership skills and put their talents to use in meaningful ways. As part of its MyRightPath suite of programs, the CFFL will conduct workshops on the basics of credit management, financial goal-setting, and other pertinent personal finance topics.  

The CFFL partners with many Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) throughout the year to conduct financial literacy workshops. If your CBO would like to include financial literacy workshops in your programs, please contact us at connect@myrightpath.org. 

My MoneyLife! Inaugural Event A Success

My MoneyLife!, our newest financial literacy program, hosted its inaugural event at Benjamin E. Mays High School on March 9th. Over 50 students participated in the Personal Finance Simulation event where they learned the importance of financial decision-making and the many factors that can affect your financial success. 

The participants began the Simulation with a profile that defined their salary, number of children, marital status, level of debt, and their credit score. They then navigated through a series of stations where they had to make decisions on the major expense categories that must be addressed in life: including housing, utilities, transportation, entertainment, food, child care, and others. At the housing station for example, students had to choose between more expensive housing downtown with limited space and less expensive, more spacious, housing in the suburbs. Students with low credit scores had to add an additional $50 to the cost of all financial decisions. Students with children had to select housing, transportation, and child care options that would accommodate the size of their family. The stations were designed to highlight the role that life decisions can have on your financial independence. 

Partnership

The event was a collaboration between the Mays Chapter of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), the Community Foundation for Financial Literacy (CFFL), and the Mays High School Alumni Association. Alumni Association President Joshua Gray noted that "the students learned skills that many alumni did not learn until adulthood, myself included." The CFFL is exploring ways to expand this program and bring it to other schools in the Fall 2018 semester as part of its MyRightPath suite of programs. If you work with a local Atlanta area high school and would like to bring this program to your students, please contact us at connect@myrightpath.org.