Pioneer of Faith-Based Economic Empowerment Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. and dfree® Accelerate Movement to the Next Level of Financial Freedom for Black Community
Organization’s National Leadership Retreat Gave Attendees Tangible Strategies, Tools and Resources to Further Transform Lives by Debt Reduction and Wealth Building
NATIONAL – October 11, 2019 – Last month dfree® took to Indianapolis for the ultimate financial “Level Up” for its Leadership Retreat, September 26-28. Designed specifically for the African American community and used by more than 4,000 churches and 100,000 individuals around the world, dfree® gave nearly 700 attendees strategy for elevation to the next level of financial freedom through live workshops, trainings and panel discussions, plus exclusive access to new dfree® solutions, resources, tools, content, partnerships and offerings for things such as entrepreneurship, banking, homeownership and more. Prudential was the title sponsor of this event.
The weekend kicked off with a welcome dinner and documentary screening of Prudential and Urban One’s critically-acclaimed Legacy Lives On that features dfree®, which has unprecedently aided nearly 10,000 individuals in paying down more than $22 million of consumer debt. Legacy Lives On examines the legacy of money in the black community as told through the stories of three millennial women – from Tulsa, Detroit and Atlanta – who, despite historic and present-day barriers, are discovering the path for financial wellness for themselves and creating a legacy for their families and communities. After the screening, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., dfree®’s CEO and founder, moderated an inspiring panel discussion that featured one of the stars of the film, Onikah Asamoa-Caesar; Delvin Joyce, former NFL player turned Prudential Financial Advisor; and Tuwisha D. Rodgers, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Urban One’s One Solutions.
“We wanted to get to the heart and emotion of where our community is regarding economic empowerment and we couldn’t have that conversation without going back to talk about how we got here, who we are and the circumstances our communities faced so that we can lean forward and take action to change what that looks like,” Rodgers said, describing Legacy Lives On. “This film was a very bold move and we could not have done it without Prudential.”
“Legacy means that those who come behind me can benefit from my assets and my ideas,” said Dr. Soaries. “We’re talking about empowering our people to redevelop our old neighborhoods, to build our own institutions and to protect own our legacies and that’s what dfree® stands for.”
Bright and early on Friday Morning, September 27, dfree® simultaneously hosted programming for nearly 500 high school students at Indy’s Thomas Carr Howe High School and held live workshops and training for retreat attendees looking to get to the next level of financial freedom.
Media mogul and serial entrepreneur Yandy Smith of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop New York stopped by the coined “dfree® Young Money Building Billionaires Live” event to discuss the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship and the importance of smart financial decisions at an early age. Between student performances and dance contests, fireside chats were enmeshed to emphasize the vitality of basic financial awareness and wellness.
“Entrepreneurship is taking everything you’ve learned and then really putting on your ‘hustle hat,’ your ‘moral and integrity hat,’ and your ‘wanting to leave a legacy hat.’ And, with all those attributes you have a real entrepreneur,” Smith told the students. “It’s all about being diligent and finding opportunities to put yourself in positions for success.”
Karleen Roy, former executive assistant of hip-hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and founder of The Vanity Group boutique creative agency, and Cayla Cousins of Capitol Records also stopped by the event to share insight with the students. As a part of its dfree® Young Money initiative, dfree® partners with high schools, colleges, churches and community organizations to awaken and educate young people about the importance of finances and incorporating financial freedom as a daily lifestyle.
Concurrently, more than 150 dfree® leaders and teachers gathered to learn about new strategies and updates, tips and tools to further inspire, motivate and lead them in changing their communities in 2020. Led by the dfree® Training and Engagement Team, attendees learned strategy for the newly-updated Billion Dollar Challenge website, best practices to introduce and incorporate dfree® into sororities, fraternities and community organizations, and an overview of MoneyLion banking solutions. The team also introduced and launched the all-new dfree® EDU platform – the learning segment of dfree® all pulled into one location.
On Friday night, sponsored by MoneyLion, dfree® and Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church hosted a free celebration gospel concert featuring singing sensations The Walls Group and Tiffany Andrews of BET Sunday Best. During the concert, in between serenades, dfree® awarded its top pastor, ministry, financial professional and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority chapter for exceedingly excelling in the journey to financial freedom.
The dfree® Leading Pastor of the Year, Pastor Bruce Farr of Overcoming Church in Indy has led his congregation in paying down approximately $230,643 of debt in 2019 using the dfree® strategy and curriculum. His church congregation has also increased its saving to a combined $57,595.
To wrap up the weekend, Saturday’s programming featured a diverse lineup of speakers and panelists including discussion around banking solutions,
homeownership, entrepreneurship, plus dfree® in Greek organizations, churches and in corporations for employees.
About the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement:
As the only faith-based, wealth-building system specifically designed with the black community in mind, dfree® delivers access to financial freedom. dfree® uses a variety of tools to educate, motivate and support people who make the choice to achieve and sustain financial freedom. dfree® began as a faith-based initiative to help stem an epidemic of overspending, particularly in the African-American community. dfree® has grown into a movement that gives participants the: ability to handle their own financial responsibilities; willingness to help others do the same; and, capacity to leave assets for future generations.
In the tradition of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., dfree® also is 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.” dfree® emphasizes controlling money matters so that individuals have the freedom to focus on more purposeful pursuits.