Commonwealth, a nonprofit focused on financial security and opportunity, announced a partnership with Public.com, on an investing app.
The cross-sector partnership will combine Commonwealth’s deep research with financially vulnerable people and Public’s approach to investing in a community of more than 1 million members, made up of 40% women and 45% people of color.
The pilot will focus on developing product innovations that will empower women of color, an underserved segment, to invest as a channel towards closing the racial and gender wealth gap and making wealth building accessible to all.
Commonwealth and Public will have a pilot group of more than 300 women of color for six months, primarily new investors who have experienced financial vulnerability but now feel financially secure. The program will provide the investors with $250 to invest in the stock market through Public, test the effectiveness of group chats and compare the benefits and outcomes of participants with and without mentor guidance.
Mentors include Jannese Torres-Rodriguez (Latina Money Expert & Podcast Host of Yo Quiero Dinero), Nadia Vanderhall (Marketing and Money Strategist, Brands + Bands Strategy Group), Kevin Matthews II (founder, Building Bread: Investing Made Simple), and Millana Snow (Founder of Wellness Official).
Pilot participants will also have the opportunity to earn more stock slices based on their actions during the pilot, such as using chat groups to learn and consistently saving via the app.. The tests will inform the user experience and lead to effective changes in investing products that make them more accessible to a group that has faced some of the highest barriers to entry.
“It is clear that labor income alone will not close the gender and racial wealth gap. It’s essential we unlock many pathways to make wealth building accessible to all. We are focusing on investing in the stock market through this partnership because of a lack of participation from women of color – and the opportunity to change by innovating fundamentally more inclusive product design,” said Commonwealth Co-Founder and Executive Director Timothy Flacke.
The gender and racial wealth gap is significant: The median wealth of white families is 10x that of Black families and 8.2x that of Latinx families, and white men’s median net worth is 100x higher than Black women’s, according to the Federal Reserve. Only 26% of women invest in the stock market, and they invest less aggressively than men.