If there’s anything you learn growing up in a Black family, it’s the verbalized twinge of disdain that’s to be associated with an iteration of the term “broke.” You don’t have to know all the circumstance entails, but you never want to allow it to describe your financial situation.

Dasha Kennedy, the founder of the budgeting coaching firm Broke Black Girl (BBG), is as privy to the taboo as much as she is to the reality that it’s a situation in which many people find themselves. For the Black community, which tends to have less access to financial literacy resources, the fear of someday finding yourself broke is compounded.

“Growing up Black and growing up in a Black household, credit and finances is not something that parents talked about -- at least my mom didn’t, unless it was a struggle,” the 29-year-old entrepreneur told Blavity.

Finding herself broke, Kennedy not only wanted to pull herself out of a financial hole but also lift other women who found themselves in similar situations. BBG began as a Facebook group for Kennedy to offer free budget counseling and allow Black women to discuss their financial struggles with one another without fear of judgment.

“It creates a space to promote healthy conversation. There are a lot of financial groups, and it's more so teaching, not engaging,” the St. Louis resident said.

BBG, described as a sisterhood, launched in November 2017 and is now an established nonprofit organization which boasts over 54,000 members. Its ultimate mission is a testament to the kinship it proclaims.

“Although we do a lot of the land work, I want the community to be able to self-regulate to take what we are teaching and apply it to their lives,” Kennedy continued. “So we can ultimately not end the org, but end the stigma of being a broke Black girl.”

The “we” she is referring to is the partnership between herself and Kiara Martin.

Martin was one of the early members of BBG and now owns the credit consulting business Credit with Kiara. The two women became quick friends and realized they could help one another in their pursuit of helping other people.

“From our first conversation, it was explosive,” Martin said.

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Now, back to that taboo around being broke, the two focused on putting an end to that.

“One of the topics I don’t think people like to talk about is the word ‘broke.’ When in reality, that’s something that all of us face or have faced as African-American people,” Kennedy said. “Just being able getting the girls comfortable with saying, ’yes, I messed up’ and being in a room where it’s other girls who messed up as well, then we all learn collectively.

“To me, broke can be a lot of things a lot of times,” she said. “When people first hear the word, they think of it financially. We have been broken mentally, we have been broken spiritually, we have been broken physically. I think that having a healing space to say, ‘yes, I am suffering with those things that I want to come out of.'”

The two women, who were both able to quit their corporate jobs once their businesses took off, are often able to refer their clients to one another.

“And that’s what I love about our partnership, it’s not a race to see who gets to be in the spotlight,” she said. “I can step back and say that’s not my area of expertise, you need to talk to Kiara and vice versa.”

“We live in the same city, we’re both brown girls, we’re ending so many stigmas. Not only can we work together, but we can showcase each other’s businesses and not step on each other's toes...we broke so many barriers in one year,” Martin added.

The two refer to themselves as the budget besties.

“To partner with someone who says we in this together sink or swim … the girls in the group feed off of that,” Kennedy added.

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