A Bank Supports a Black Women’s Tech Startup Focusing on Personal Finance

These days, everybody loves hearing success stories about women in tech and women entrepreneurs, especially if these are women of color. And clearly, funders love these stories too as many focus on closing the equity gap in key sectors of society and creating new ladders of opportunity for historically marginalized groups. 

As we’ve been covering regularly, JPMorgan Chase is one of the top financial inclusion grantmakers on the national scene. So it’s really no big surprise that a group like WealthyLife caught this funder’s attention in a big way.

WealthyLife is a black women’s tech startup that’s focused on financial literacy as a means to end poverty. The JPMorgan Chase Foundation just gave this group a $10,000 grant to develop a financial literacy mobile app as part of a financial inclusion innovation competition at the 2016 Color of Wealth Summit held by the Center for Global Policy Solutions.

Right now, WealthyLife’s project is an online app called CreditStacker, but with this new money, the app will go mobile. The app has a game-style format that features pieces that look like credit items that accumulate throughout your life and impact your credit score and net worth.

Financial literacy isn’t necessarily the most enticing topic for many people to learn about, not to mention that there's a big learning curve for underserved groups who haven’t been exposed to financial education in the past. Which is where WealthyLife comes in, with its effort to turn financial literacy into a game with animations and interactive user experiences. The goal is to make these money matters more accessible and draw in a wider array of people. 

Upon the announcement of this grant, Janis Bowdler, managing director for financial capability, community development, and small business at the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, reiterated the funder’s mission like this:

JPMorgan Chase’s philanthropic work supports a range of programs to help people, particularly those from low- and moderate-income communities increase savings, improve credit, reduce financial shocks, and build assets.

To step back for a moment and take a broader look, another group in the running for JPMorgan’s support as part of the financial inclusion innovation competition was PayActiv. This is a cause-driven company helping businesses and workers break free from a system that pushes people towards predatory short term lenders for basic needs like rent, groceries, and essential bills. The Latino Economic Development System, an organization that equips Latinos and D.C.-area residents with financial tools to create a better future, was another recent finalist. JPMorgan Chase has a keen eye on supporting minority groups with its financial inclusion efforts lately, and especially likes entrepreneurial minority-led organizations that are taking on this challenge in low-income communities.