A father and his 13-year-old son created a nonprofit that aims to decrease the Black wealth gap by training youth in financial literacy.

Kevon and Kamari Chisolm, the co-founders of Junior Wallstreeters, Inc., said due to the demand of their summer literacy camps, and issues as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many deserving students were not able to participate in the courses.

The Chisolms told Black Enterprise they felt compelled to help more families, so they leaned into the mission they set for the organization.

“Although we received support from several individual camp sponsors, there were several students that were interested but unable to afford the cost of the camp,” Kevon said. “We hope that by obtaining our non-profit status, we can obtain grants and sponsorships from corporations and organizations to fulfill our mission and reach more deserving families.” Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the average white household had a net worth nearly 10 times that of most Black families at $171,000 to $17,150, according to the Brookings Institute. With the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on BIPOC communities, the potential harm to the future of Black wealth is enormous.

The newly established nonprofit hopes to build a generation of savvy investors, who take charge of their financial futures.

“We say, today’s investors started yesterday because we as a group are behind,” Kevon said.

Junior Wallstreeters aims to decrease the racial wealth gap through programs and courses that cover topics like basic financial literacy, investing, stock analysis, real estate investing and a course in cryptocurrency.

Kevon, a native of Newark, New Jersey, is a 1997 graduate of Seton Hall University Law School. He holds a master’s degree with honors in African American studies from Yale and a baccalaureate degree in economics from Drew University. The Wallstreeters website notes that he’s been passionate throughout his life about “uplifting and forwarding the African American community through knowledge of self and wealth building.”  Last summer, the program had over 100 participants at the summer camps. This summer, the Chisolms aim to connect with more bright youth.

“The more campers that we are able to reach, the more likely we are able to decrease the wealth gap for future generations,” Kevon said.

Black Enterprise reported that the first program offered by the nonprofit was an online meet and greet on Feb. 20. The event served as an opportunity for interested parties to learn more about the nonprofit, its mission and its youth programming. It also presented an opportunity for donors and corporations to sponsor a camper or camp instructor. Parents interested in signing their children up for any programs in February will be able to do so at last year’s rates.

Impressed by their student's increased financial curiosity, a parent raved about how impactful the Junior Wallstreeters course has been for their family. 

“Thank you!!! We can never repay you for the gift of knowledge and financial life skills that […] obtained through your camp,” they said. “The camp was excellent!!! Our children are so blessed and fortunate to have you.”

Last year, the father and son teamed up with Kim, Kevon’s wife and Kamari’s mother, to debut a weekend series focusing on investments and the stock market, Black News reported.

“In addition to topics like budgeting, establishing and maintaining good credit, banking, and investing in the stock market, the weekend series teaches generational wealth building through investment clubs,” Kevon said.

To help grow the online series, the Chisolm family brought in educators Stanley Anderson and Isaiah Cromwell to develop the curriculum.