With April being Financial Literacy Month, now is the perfect time to start taking control of your finances and create a plan for achieving financial freedom. Unfortunately, this may be challenging for many Black and Brown households across North Texas, especially those who’ve been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So many households are still trying to put the pieces back together due to unemployment or crippling debt, which is why the Chris Howell Foundation is presenting a free financial empowerment event that will provide participants with practical skills to help shape critical financial decisions.
On Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Chris Howell Foundation will host its inaugural “Health Dollars Financial Literacy Symposium” at Dunbar High School, 5700 Ramey Avenue, Fort Worth. This event, which is open to the general public, aims to help attendees tackle financial concerns such as family budgeting, credit management, banking relationships and affordable housing. While this event is free, registration is required. Please visit chrishowellfoundation.org to register.
The Howells – Chris and his wife Dominique – hope people walk away from the symposium with a healthier, wealthier money mindset that shifts from simply surviving to thriving. Why is this so important? The average Black family’s wealth is eight times lower than the wealth of an average White family. A lack of financial literacy has led to the racial wealth gap in the U.S., and the Chris Howell Foundation would like to change the narrative.
“We believe the best way to serve the Metroplex is to help Black and Brown families realize their financial goals,” said Chris Howell, author and co-founder of the Dallas based non-profit. “The Chris Howell Foundation is grateful for the support of NBC 5, State Representative, Nicole Collier, and Dunbar High School as we promote financial literacy and encourage families to create brighter futures for themselves and their communities.”
Many communities in the Dallas-Fort Worth area struggle with food security, income, unemployment and other life issues that can have a long-lasting impact on families.
The Howells expect the April 23 event to help people develop strategies for pursuing financial independence.
“Attendees will get the opportunity to learn more about our B.E.T. On Yourself, The Ultimate Money Management Course,” an outcomes-based program that features four modules: Building a House-hold Budget, Elevating Your Savings, Taking Action in Credit Management and Building Banking Relationships. One of the program’s key benefits is the live 1:1 mentoring, which helps to keep people engaged and motivated. Having a mentor who not only “talks the talk” but also “walks the walk” through the coursework with the attendees, is the Foundation’s secret weapon to teaching financial literacy.
More than 250 people have participated in the financial literacy program since its 2018 launch. Coursework has been delivered through the Dallas Veterans Treatment Court, UNT Dallas, a State Rep. Nicole Collier Town Hall, and throughout the Metroplex.
The goal, according to the Howells, is to make financial literacy a “core value” in Black and Brown communities throughout North Texas. That’s because Chris and Dominique are not that far removed from the poverty of their childhood.
Chris is the last of six children that grew up in a single-parent household in West Dallas. Dominique, the last of 11 children, grew up in what would become a single parent household after her mom passed away when she was nine-years old. Chris and Dominique were teenage parents with their first child at 16 and their third at 18, so they understand the importance of budgeting and saving.
“It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what matters is how you manage the money that you make,” said Dominique Bryant-Howell, who is President/Executive Director of the Chris Howell Foundation and a financial advisor. “As Black and Brown people, it is vital that we truly understand the power of our dollar.
The Howells understand that financial literacy isn’t being taught to those most in need, and there is an audience for their programming. While serving families at food drives during the pandemic, the Chris Howell Foundation has been able to hear from families firsthand about a willingness to change their situation, but simply not knowing how to do so.
“We have served right at 100,000 families over the last 18 months, providing roughly 3 million pounds of food,” said Howell. “Our financial literacy symposium is just another way to help those families and countless more.” The Chris Howell Foundation’s programs and services empower individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency through skills development, increased knowledge, and access to necessary resources.
According to recent media reports, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is poised to become an economic powerhouse by 2030; however, the story for people living in South Dallas and southeast Fort Worth is very different.
For example, research shows that 80% of African Americans are more likely to say that they live paycheck to paycheck and are 2.5 times more likely to overdraft on a bank account. Overdraft fees take a heavy toll on families living paycheck to paycheck. African Americans in the Dallas-Fort Worth area make up the second largest group of unbanked individuals and are twice as likely to utilize prepaid debit cards that include additional fees. Furthermore, Latinos and African Americans are 74% of pay-day loan customers, meaning these borrowers are trapped in a debt spiral.
To combat this obstacle to wealth creation, the Chris Howell Foundation strives to make impactful, quality financial literacy education available to as many people as possible, free of charge. Since launching in 2016, the Chris Howell Foundation’s work has been recognized by multiple entities for its work.
In addition to financial literacy education, the Chris Howell Foundation offers programming focused on health and wellness, HIV prevention, male empowerment and food insecurity.
The organization has partnered with area food banks and other community partners to host food drives at multiple sites throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“If there was ever a time to hit the reset button, and put some sound practices in place on how to manage your money, the time is now,” said Bryant-Howell. “Meet us at Dunbar High School on April 23rd, we want to take this journey with you.”
Visit chrishowellfoundation.org for details on how to donate, volunteer or to view upcoming events
Healthy Dollars Financial Literacy Symposium
Saturday, April 23 at 10 a.m.
Dunbar High School
5700 Ramey Avenue
Fort Worth, TX
Registration is free at chrishowellfoundation.org.