Investing in Our Communities: New Program Provides Financial Education, Mentorship, and College Scholarships to Help Close Racial Wealth Gap
PG&E and The PG&E Corporation Foundation, UC Berkeley, and Mills College at Northeastern University Team Up to Support 25 African American Oakland and Bay Area Students
OAKLAND, Calif. — In an effort to address wealth inequality and the racial wealth gap affecting African Americans, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and The PG&E Corporation Foundation (The Foundation) are partnering with the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and Berkeley Executive Education, Mills College at Northeastern University, and Amenti Capital Group to prepare African American Oakland and Greater Bay Area high school students for future financial success and academic leadership.
The Economic Equity and Financial Education Pilot Program is a two-semester course on advanced financial education taught at the Haas School of Business. The 25 students who successfully complete this rigorous academic program will be awarded college scholarships of at least $7,000.
“Opportunities such as the PG&E scholarship are essential, especially for Black Oakland students that are underserved within our community. I’m really excited for this program as it can be a stepping stone for fellow young Black youth from my West Oakland community who are striving for post-secondary education, just like myself,” said Ward, who attends McClymonds High School in Oakland.
PG&E created the program, and together with The Foundation is providing $500,000 in funding through its community charitable Better Together Giving Program.
Students will take courses taught by Haas School of Business professors and financial industry professionals on topics including personal finance, capital markets and wealth creation, financial data analysis and investments. African American Haas undergraduates also will offer mentorship opportunities to the students.
Mills College at Northeastern University TRIO Programs recruited the 25 student participants as part of the Upward Bound program — which helps underserved high school students and first in their families attending college to succeed — and the Mills Educational Talent Search — which supports high school students so that they can achieve their higher education goals.
The curriculum was developed in collaboration with professor Panos N. Patatoukas from Haas School of Business and Jason Miles, an African American venture capitalist with more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry and founder of Amenti Capital Group.
Both Patatoukas and Miles note the unique opportunity of this program for participating students.
“While technology has been transforming education in profound ways, access to financial education remains within the reach of only a few. Mitigating the problem of access inequality and addressing the wealth gap in the African American community has been the driving force of our joint efforts with PG&E,” Patatoukas said. “We are excited to make financial education more accessible, and we are committed to continue to foster diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments. I am looking forward to welcoming the first group of Oakland and Bay Area students as part of this impactful program.”
“There is a tremendous pool of talented students who represent shining examples of future African American leaders. They must be empowered with practical investing tools and knowledge about risk-return trade-offs early in their lives. We are energized by this unique opportunity to catalyze generational wealth creation alongside like-minded partners,” said Miles.
According to Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, the typical white family has eight times the wealth of a typical Black family. The survey cites a number of complex societal factors across generations, including how individual savings and investment decisions contribute to wealth accumulation.
PG&E developed the new program after two years of planning as a racial justice initiative following the George Floyd tragedy to help address economic challenges faced by African Americans.
“At PG&E, we are focused on our Triple Bottom Line of serving people, planet and California’s prosperity. However, we know that our African American customers and communities face significant challenges achieving economic parity in society, and the racial wealth gap contributes to inequality. This pilot program is a meaningful step to change that and help more African Americans achieve prosperity and generational wealth,” said Jimi Harris, PG&E Community Relations Chief and program creator.
While the program is designed to provide wealth creation tools through an advanced financial education curriculum for high school students, it is also designed to support post-secondary education achievement through scholarships for program participants, funded by PG&E. Additionally, if the program proves successful, it could serve as a model for other programs to be created including in high school education.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is a combined natural gas and electric utility serving more than 16 million people across 70,000 square miles in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and http://www.pge.com/about/newsroom/.
About UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
As the second-oldest business school in the United States, Berkeley Haas has been questioning the status quo since its founding in 1898. Berkeley Haas offers outstanding management education to about 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students from around the world to attend one of its six degree-granting programs and join the school’s network of 41,000 alumni worldwide.
About Berkeley Executive Education
UC Berkeley Executive Education serves leaders and organizations who aspire to redefine the future of business, delivering over 150 programs annually, to a global audience. Its immersive learning experiences, led by renowned UC Berkeley faculty, equip global executives and their organizations with the vision and capabilities to thrive in an evolving world.
About Northeastern University
Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a global research university and the recognized leader in experience-driven lifelong learning. Our world-renowned experiential approach empowers our students, faculty, alumni, and partners to create impact far beyond the confines of discipline, degree, and campus.
Northeastern’s comprehensive array of undergraduate and graduate programs—on-campus, online, and in hybrid formats—lead to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools. Among these, we offer more than 140 multi-discipline majors and degrees designed to prepare students for purposeful lives and careers.
About Amenti Capital Group
Amenti Capital Group is an emerging merchant bank that provides independent advisory services and venture capital to early-stage technology companies in high growth ecosystems. We leverage deep industry knowledge, operational expertise, and longstanding relationships to deliver attractive returns through our end-to-end model. We serve entrepreneurs and sophisticated investors while following our core principles of innovation, integrity and inclusion.