Chloe McKenzie crouches on the floor, a gaggle of children sitting criss-cross applesauce around her.
“What do you do with an apple seed?”
“Water it!” the preschoolers chorus.
McKenzie, the founder of BlackFem — a nonprofit focused on teaching financial literacy to disadvantaged students — nods in response. The kids gazing up at her are bright and curious. But they aren’t here for storytime. This is an introductory economic lesson, and the students — from financially disadvantaged households in the D.C. area — will leave the classroom with an understanding of compound interest.
McKenzie hopes this lesson will lay important groundwork for the children to grasp the concepts of financial literacy, wealth and economic power, three categories that fall under the umbrella of “wealth justice.”
“A lot of people in [the financial industry] continue to think that wealth is just something that you put on a balance sheet, but there is [a] much deeper, more humanistic meaning,” says McKenzie, 27. This ethos is built into BlackFem, as well as McKenzie’s consulting company. While she earns a living by partnering with institutions on finding ways to close the wealth gap, she also provides $5 wealth coaching sessions for women of color . . .