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Black Bay Area high schoolers complete Haas, PG&E economic equity, financial education

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PG&E and Haas’s program, The Economic Equity and Financial Educational Pilot Program, has awarded scholarships to Black high school seniors around the Bay Area for their completion of a financial program intended to address the racial wealth gap.


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MAY 17, 2023

Twenty-four Black high schoolers from around the Bay Area were individually awarded $8,000 in scholarships Saturday after the completion of a financial and investment literacy program, according to a joint press release from PG&E and UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

The Economic Equity and Financial Education Pilot Program was created and funded by PG&E and Haas, according to the press release. The program is meant to provide “wealth creation tools,” support post-secondary education through scholarships and address the racial wealth gap.

Jason Miles, the founder and managing director of Amenti Capital Group, played a key role in developing the curriculum alongside Haas professor Panos Patatoukas, the press release noted.

Miles said the curriculum included topics like savings, investment decisions and economics, among other topics, to create a “broad but detailed” curriculum.

During the program, Miles added that he had the chance to sit in with students during their classes.

“It was interesting to see and hear their questions and learn about the things they were most interested in,” Miles said. “This was an opportunity for them to gain exposure really early on to some of these topics so they don’t have to wait until they’re in college, or have to get a finance degree. It’s really beneficial.”

Due to “societal, governmental and individual” factors, as noted in a 2019 survey of consumer finances on racial wealth disparities, a typical white family has eight times the wealth of a typical Black family.

The program is PG&E’s racial justice initiative as a result of the murder of George Floyd, and so far, in partnership with the PG&E Foundation, it has provided $500,000 in funding through its Better Together Giving Program.

Students were recruited by the Mills College at Northeastern University TRIO program as part of its Upward Bound program, which aims to help underserved high school students and first-generation college students succeed in higher education, according to the press release.

“Students and communities generally get opening up bank accounts, credit cards, but using them responsibly and to their advantage is missing, especially in the Black community,” Miles said. “I think folks have access to these tools but don’t know necessarily how to or the importance of using them.”

Miles hopes that the program continues to expand. He noted that he looks forward to doing the program again with a few added improvements.

Miles said the students in the program are some of the “top-performing” students in the Bay Area, and hopes that once they have more information on financial literacy, they can spread that throughout their own communities and households.

“It was a way for me to pay things forward,” Miles said. “When I was a junior in college, an alum came to me and gave me some of this info and it inspired me to build my career around it … I think giving students these kinds of tools is helping to prepare them — even if they don’t go into finance as a career, they should have tools moving forward and that was the inspiration of trying to help and build this curriculum.”

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MAY 21, 2023