SOMERSET, N.J. — dfree® (www.mydfree.org) the global Financial Freedom Movement that is empowering organizations and individuals to lead richer lives by improving how they think about and manage money, is expected to meet its goal of helping African Americans pay down $1 billion in debt by the year 2020. Participants in dfree®’s Billion Dollar Challenge(www.billiondollarpaydown.com) have already collectively paid down more than $11 million in debt.
The Billion Dollar Challenge (BDC) is a strategy with a direct effect on the growing and widely discussed wealth gap in America. While recent studies suggest that African American households will have a median income of $0 by 2053, dfree® founder Reverend DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., knows otherwise. “This forecast can be changed. We can redefine the economic state of the African American community by taking action right now,” says Soaries. “If 125,000 people pay down the average $8,000of household debt, $1 billion of debt will be eradicated,” says Soaries, who is a former Secretary of State for New Jersey. “If those same people shift their former credit card payments to buying a $100,000 life insurance policy, we will be able to see an eradication of the estimated $100,000 wealth gap that exists between African Americans and white Americans. That is why I am so passionate about this challenge. We do not have to accept our current state of economic affairs, nor do we have to transfer it to future generations.”
BDC is the marquee initiative of dfree®. Through the challenge, participants have free tools and an interactive tracking system for paying down their debt, and ultimately join the movement towards financial freedom and economic strength in the African American community. BDC participants are enrolled as individuals as well as groups. Right now, there are more than 60 Chapters of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated enrolled in the Billion Dollar Challenge. To date, these chapters have collectively paid down more than $1 million in debt. Additionally, author and SiriusXM radio host Karen Hunter recently started a BDC group, contributing to the more than 5,000 people currently participating in the Billion Dollar Challenge.
2017 was a pivotal year for dfree®. The organization kicked-off a number of initiatives to broaden the dfree® movement. Some of the organization’s key 2017 milestones included:
- Certification by the FDIC’s Money Smart program to enhance dfree®’s youth curriculum.
- Launch of a weekly podcast, “In the Black”, which covers topics including wealth building, entrepreneurship, estate planning, finance basics, and more. The upbeat podcast also features inspiring
- dfree® success stories and interviews with personalities such as radio host Angela Yee of the nationally syndicated Breakfast Club, GRAMMY® Award nominated Gospel artist JJ Hairston and NAACP Image Award nominated author Sheri Riley.
- Redesign and relaunch of www.mydfree.org, which serves as an informational hub about the organization and financial topics overall.
- Expanded social media engagement through Twitter chats with notables including Miko Branch, Dee Marshall and Flex & Shanice Alexander, a day-long FB Live stream-a-thon with Soaries, and more.
- Streamlined dfree® Academy experience, offering more resources to participate in dfree® online.
- Immersive regional conferences and events in Newark, NJ; Atlanta, GA; Fairfield, CA; Indianapolis, IN; Detroit, MI and Milwaukee, WI.
As 2018 gets underway, dfree® will continue to take its transformative message around the country. The organization has a strategic focus on reaching young adults and women, and bolstering the conversation around generational wealth in the African American community.
“The dfree® belief is that if we manage our lives well, then we will use money strategically to reach our life goals,” says Soaries. “dfree® is a lifestyle, a journey, and a mindset that puts us in control of our financial lives, regardless of how much money we make. It is a process that begins by the way we think about ourselves, the way we think about our money, and the way we think about and plan for the future.”
Founded in 2005, the dfree® financial freedom movement is a transformational, lifestyle movement that promotes financial freedom through values-based principles and practical approaches to financial management. dfree® addresses the cultural, psychological and spiritual influences on financial wellness. In the tradition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dfree® is also a movement to help achieve economic justice in America. Rev. Dr. King once said, “We must never let it be said that we spend more for the evanescent and ephemeral than for the eternal values of freedom and justice.” Accordingly, dfree® emphasizes controlling money matters so that individuals have the freedom to focus on more purposeful pursuits. dfree® Founder Rev. Dr. DeForest B. “Buster” Soaries, Jr. is an active agent for change. He is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey and former New Jersey Secretary of State. Soaries is the author of Say Yes to No Debt: 12 Steps to Financial Freedom, which inspired the formation of dfree®.
SOURCE dfree Global Foundation
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.