WELCOME

Welcome to my dfree® blog. I hope these thoughts will help someone think new thoughts and take new actions toward their financial freedom. The proverb says that "the borrower is slave to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7) I have dedicated the rest of my life to helping people obtain spiritual and economic freedom.

Living dfree®: Sustaining the Pandemic

Living dfree®: Sustaining the Pandemic

There’s a constant, overwhelming influx of information and updates: closings, precautions, warnings, etcetera on the Coronavirus a.k.a COVID-19 a.k.a. what the media has portrayed as our worst nightmare. Whether you’re watching the news or scrolling through social media, this information can for sure be overwhelming and quite frankly, scary.

Be reminded.

Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”

The reality is we don’t know how long this pandemic will last and affect our daily lives. However, instead of letting fear control us during this time of uncertainty, let’s proactively plan for our sustainability and future.

Here are some lifestyle and money tips to help you get control during COVID-19:

  • Cancel unnecessary subscriptions and memberships
  • See what free/discounted resources are available nationally, regionally and locally
  • Invest in yourself – maximize the time home to learn or create something new
  • Be aware of potential scam attempts
  • Don’t waste money on unnecessary things i.e. clothes, shoes, etc.
  • Contact your lenders and loan service companies
  • Keep track of credit reports
  • Look out for seniors
  • Don’t over-buy out of fear
  • Take advantage of lower interest rates/refinance
  • Keep some cash on hand
  • Look for opportunities to cut expenses – reevaluate your needs versus you

Remember this too shall pass. Be sure to keep up with us as we go through social distancing together.

Be sure to keep up with us on social media for updates – @mydfree.

Black Banking & Financial Empowerment

A Message from Our Partners at MoneyLion

The powerful movement of black banking has a strong message and a relentless mission to pursue excellence through financial empowerment.
This movement is aimed at providing powerful banking tools and accessibility of information to help provide a practical way toward financial freedom.

Banks Pushing The Movement Forward

Banks that care about empowering all communities, especially those traditionally underserved by the big banks, are leading the charge. Knowing which banks are pursuing this mission and what to look for in a bank can help individuals understand where to start.

What To Look For In A Bank

There are some key characteristics to look for when determining which bank is the best bank for African Americans. Before making a decision, do your research and consider the following aspects.
 
 

1. Join a Bank with Low or Zero Fees & Overdraft Protection

Overdraft fees and charges have in the past been generally just accepted as the norm. In recent years, these fees are being viewed as deceitful toward consumers. One banking CEO even went as far as naming his Yacht Overdraft and is now in deep water after some appropriate backlash from communities.

When researching banking options, ask up front about overdraft fees or hidden service fees that have the potential to harm you in the future. MoneyLion’s truly zero-zee banking solution in partnership with dfree eliminates overdraft fees completely and also has zero service fees.

2. Consider a Bank Without Balance Requirements

Balance requirements are often not a large concern until you realize that if you are to fall below a certain threshold, you can again be charged a fee. Senseless fees simply take the hard-earned money out of your pockets.

It’s good to use a bank without balance requirements, and it’s a trend some banks like MoneyLion are adopting. Having no minimum balance gives you more flexibility with your funds, and you can have peace of mind knowing you won’t see fees being tacked on to your account.

3. Banks Helping You Stay Connected on Mobile

Banking institutions date back for hundreds of years, and sometimes the way they conduct business seems dated as well. Technology-driven banking has led a new charge that puts financial comprehension and connectivity into the hands of all consumers.

Staying on top of your financial goals requires appropriate tools and access every day. Tools such as credit building offerings, cashback rewards while spending, and investing capabilities all built into one accessible mobile app.

4. Banks With a Large ATM Network

A bank needs to be able to provide access to your funds when you need it most. Having a large network of ATMs available gives you 24/7 access to your money when you need it, without surcharges for withdrawing funds.

MoneyLion’s network of ATMs includes over 55,000 locations throughout the US, all of which can be easily found here.

5. Partnerships With Banks & Community Leaders

Groups involved in helping to continue positive trends in black financial growth include black-owned banks and organizations like as dfree® that are focused on the financial health of the African American community.

With a mission on scaling financial freedom for black individuals and organizations, dfree® provides expert resources and strategic financial partnerships through their online community.

Founder of dfree® Reverend Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. set out to accomplish the mission of providing approachable wealth-building solutions for African Americans and their communities. Through their mission and in partnership with MoneyLion, African Americans have access to financial and lifestyle coaching as well as all of the relevant banking tools from MoneyLion that empower black communities.

How To Be A Part Of The Movement

Start with researching which aspects of banking are important to you. We covered factors that are most important for banking solutions, but you can do your own research and learn more about what is important to you.

If you are looking for guidance from the start, organizations like dfree® can help. They offer online courses, free resources, expert tips, live workshops or events, and their membership includes a 12-step program toward financial freedom.

Banking in 2020 is accessible for everyone, and with the right tools and guidance financial empowerment is within reach for African Americans across the country.

From Rhetoric to Reality: Financial Freedom Movement Issues a National Call for Black Economic Empowerment to Commemorate 15th Anniversary

Life-Long Activist of Improving the Black Community Dr. DeForest “Buster” Soaries and dfree® Kick off National Billion Dollar Challenge Tour with 2020 Vision

 

The global grassroots organization featured in CNN’s Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special, dfree®, celebrates 15 years of its financial freedom revolution this year. As the only faith-based nonprofit tackling the crippling wealth gap, dfree® has trained churches, community organizations, corporations and individuals to lead financially richer lives. dfree®’s Founder and CEO, renowned community development leader, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. has issued a challenge to black America to pay down $1 billion of consumer debt.

“It doesn’t make any sense to talk about closing the racial wealth gap or building wealth without focusing on the need to reduce consumer debt,” said Soaries, who also served as New Jersey’s first African American male Secretary of State. “Getting out of debt is the first step to achieving financial freedom. If we shift $1 billion of debt payments to savings, investments and insurance, we can create over $10 billion in wealth.”

To date, 10,000 individuals have accepted Soaries’ challenge and have paid down more than $23 million of consumer debt using the dfree® Billion Dollar Challenge tool. Since 2005, dfree® has touched more than 4,000 churches and 200,000 individuals around the world.

“We are on a critical mission to annihilate the wealth gap statistics that have been placed on us as a race,” said Soaries, who has written books and given speeches about how he overcame his own struggles with paycheck-to-paycheck living. “We’re flipping the script and changing the model of ministry in the black community. We are providing solutions beyond slogans!”

To commemorate the dfree® 15-year anniversary, the organization will conduct a national tour, which kicked off on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New Jersey.

“The wealth gap is a major barrier that needs to be dismantled in this post-civil rights era,” said dfree® Executive Director Tamika Stembridge. “It’s the only way we’ll truly move forward and so dfree® is leading that charge!”

With stops in Tulsa, Flint, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Charlotte, New York City, and more, the goal of the Billion Dollar Challenge Tour is to garner more people to take the challenge to make financial wellness a priority on its 50-city tour.

dfree® Partners with NJ’s Largest Health Care System RWJ Barnabas Health to Bring Financial Wellness to its More Than 34,000 Employees

Employees to Be Offered Free Resources and Strategy to Achieve and Sustain Financial Stability

 

This article appeared on NJBiz.com.

 

This week, dfree®, the financial freedom organization that has unprecedentedly aided 10,000 individuals nationwide in paying down more than $23 million of consumer debt through its Billion Dollar Challenge initiative, has announced its partnership with RWJ Barnabas Health (RWJBH) to provide content and curriculum for the health system’s more than 34,000 employees. Founded by former New Jersey Secretary of State Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., dfree® uses a variety of tools to educate, motivate and support people who make the choice to achieve and sustain financial freedom.

 

“The opportunity to help this magnitude of people free themselves from financial burden and reclaim their lives is truly remarkable,” said Soaries, who has written books and given speeches about how he overcame his own struggles with paycheck-to-paycheck living. “The dfree® Program perfectly pairs with businesses to empower people economically on all pay scales.”

 

New Jersey is among the top ten most expensive places to live in the country. In fact, according to a 2018 NJ.com report, 41 percent of New Jersey households are considered among the “working poor,” meaning they struggle to afford basic necessities like food, healthcare, transportation and housing. As the largest private employer in the state of New Jersey, RWJBH is committed to ensuring that its employees are equipped to manage their lives, families, and create financial stability at all levels.

 

“We are excited about our partnership with dfree and look forward to our continued efforts to build more equitable, economically stable, and healthier communities together,” said Michellene Davis, executive vice president and chief corporate affairs officer at RWJBarnabas Health who drives the system’s Social Impact and Community Investment Practice.

 

Available confidentially online through the dfree® Online Academy, RWJBH employees will have a customized experience of the dfree® 12-Step Course in which they’ll be able to take at their own pace with complimentary access to the core dfree® content, materials and additional resources.

 

Based in Somerset, dfree® is a transformational lifestyle movement that promotes financial freedom through value-based principles and practical approaches to financial management. Since its inception in 2005, the dfree® movement has grown globally and is used by more than 4,000 churches and 200,000 individuals. dfree® empowers churches, community organizations, corporations and individuals to lead richer lives by improving how they think about and manage money.

 

The course is available now to all RWJ Barnabas Health employees and is completely free. For more information about dfree®, please visit mydfree.org.

 

 

dfree® In The News: Dear Fall…Don’t Miss Me

Dear Fall…Don’t Miss Me: Tips for Making Your Dollars Stretch The Extra Mile This Fall

Tamika Stembridge, Esq.

Date: Oct. 29, 2019

 

This article was originally posted on HopeforWomenMag.com.

 

Last fall for me was all about staycations, selling stuff, and saving the proceeds. While these things are still very appropriate as one makes their way to financial wellness, I’m looking forward to being much more active this year.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m just as committed to stretching my coins as I am about stretching my social calendar, so here goes… Tamika’s Tips for a memorable fall while managing your money!

Less is More

The temperatures are dropping so it takes a lot more to do the most when it comes to fashion and style. With the fall social scene heating up, it can be very easy to click and ship, snag and swipe, and grab and go every time you get ready to head out. Believe me, this way of life is a one-way trip to seasonal sadness for your bank account. Give your wallet a break and your closet some room to breathe. Pick your fave pieces and style around them.

“Pool” Your Resources

Literally. I love a good afternoon at the pool, but tolls, parking, admission, private memberships, cabana fees, towel rentals, etc. can add up. I made it a point this year to be strategic about my water-wandering ways. My friends and I have agreed to never go at it alone. We always invite at least a plus one when we visit the pool club, and we carpool if we’re headed “down the shore.” Also, the super friends that have pool access with their apartment, condo, or community have already agreed to be the designated hosts for gatherings. We bring the food and other amenities in exchange!

Speaking of food…

What’s Cookin’?!?

Or should I say, “Who’s cookin’?” If you’re anything like me, you lovvvvve a good meal, especially one that someone else is serving, preferably on a rooftop deck, an umbrella’d patio, or in a cozy, heated oasis. But let’s face it, one too many mornings, afternoons, or nights on the town can wreak havoc on your wallet. As a first line of defense, scope out all of the restaurant weeks, happy hour discounts, and holiday specials you can find. Check your budget, mark your calendar, and make your way. Should the deals run dry, there’s nothing like a good ole gathering of friends at someone’s home. Prep or purchase a dish, prep your favorite playlist, and make a party out of potluck!

To read more of this article, subscribe to this season’s digital issue of Hope for Women!

Tamika Stembridge, Esq. is the executive director of dfree® Global Foundation, an organization dedicated to the wellness of the African American community.

Revolutionary Financial Freedom Movement Releases All-New Supplement Book for Black Millennials in Midst of Student Loan Crisis

Revolutionary Financial Freedom Movement Releases All-New Supplement Book for Black Millennials in Midst of Student Loan Crisis

 

New ‘Your dfree® for Young Adults’ to Serve as a Roadmap to Financial Health and Wellness, Available Now

 

In its new supplemental guide for young adults, available now, dfree® provides concrete, laser-focused strategy for Black Millennials to avoid and rid themselves of invasive consumer debt and become financially empowered. dfree® is a transformational lifestyle movement that promotes financial freedom through value-based principles and practical approaches to financial management. It was founded by pioneer of faith-based economics, Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., who is a pastor, community developer, civil rights advocate, husband, father and served in state and federal government. With a proven track record, dfree® has unprecedently assisted more than 10,000 individuals, of all ages, in paying down nearly $23 million in debt.

 

“In general, finances are something that are too rarely discussed, especially in the black community. It’s unacceptable,” said Soaries. “When you think about how Millennials were raised with parents sacrificing so much so they could be spoiled with luxuries, even when living in their parents’ homes, Millennials today are some of the most broke and lacking in knowledge about how to find and maintain financial freedom.”

 

According to Nielsen, Black Millennials have $162 billion in buying power and cultural influence like no other. However, based on a recent Forbes report, Millennials have $497.6 billion in outstanding student loan debt for this year alone.

 

dfree® understands many young adults have chosen a different adult lifestyle than previous generations. Although young adults are technically savvy, when it comes to financial management, many are in debt, delinquent and living in deficit. Many young adults feel they have not been provided with the information they need to make good financial decisions. However, financial awareness, at the most basic level, is crucial to living a life free of financial bondage. The ‘Your dfree® for Young Adults’ supplement details:

 

  • Credit
  • Spending
  • Goal Setting and Saving
  • Budgeting
  • Banking and Alternative Financial Services
  • Entrepreneurship, and more!

 

Your dfree® for Young Adults’ is the newest release from dfree®. The core dfree® books, Say Yes to No Debt book and workbook, were written by Soaries, who drew upon his experience as a pastor, public policymaker, community leader and former debtor to create a movement that everyone can join.

 

‘Your dfree®’ is a series of supplemental guides to compliment the ‘Say Yes to No Debt’ book. Each supplement addresses the particular circumstances, common issues, and concerns facing particular audiences. These supplements may be used as stand-alone tools and/or as companion guides to the dfree® Lifestyle 12-Step Curriculum. The organization also has supplements for entrepreneurs and senior citizens, with more to come in 2020.

 

Available now on Amazon for $17.95 each, the ‘Your dfree® for Young Adults’ supplement will launch at events nationwide this month including Karleen Roy’s ‘Owning the Block’ event in Memphis, Morgan State University and at Prudential’s Legacy Lives On private documentary screening in Atlanta.

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

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.

The Level Up: Financial Freedom Movement Heads to Indianapolis to Celebrate 10,000 Individuals Paying Down Over $22 Million of Consumer Debt

The Level Up: Financial Freedom Movement Heads to Indianapolis to Celebrate 10,000 Individuals Paying Down Over $22 Million of Consumer Debt

 

Media Mogul & Entrepreneur Yandy Smith, Former NFL Player turned Prudential Financial Professional Delvin Joyce, and Gospel Singing Sensations The Walls Group Join Pioneer of Faith-Based Economic Empowerment Dr. DeForest B. Soaries Jr. in Indianapolis for Level Up Retreat, Sept. 26-28.

 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – September 24, 2019 – Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr. and dfree®, the financial freedom movement that has unprecedently aided nearly 10,000 individuals in paying down more than $22 million of consumer debt through its Billion Dollar Challenge, is headed to Indianapolis for the ultimate financial freedom level up, September 26-28. The groundbreaking organization will host its dfree® Level Up Leadership Retreat in partnership with Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church where Reverend Darryl K. Webster is the senior pastor. Longtime dfree® partner Prudential Financial serves as the title sponsor of this event.

The retreat weekend will take attendees to the next level of financial freedom through live workshops and trainings, exclusive access to new dfree® Solutions, resources and tools, partnerships and offerings, panel discussions and new books on topics such as entrepreneurship, banking solutions, legacy and more.

“The first step to financial freedom is to free yourself from debt. We currently help our people do that with no problem,” says Dr. Soaries, Founder and CEO of dfree®. “We now have tools and resources for people after the burden of debt has been lifted. In 2020, dfree® will be able to get people the tools they need to do better, solve problems and achieve significant outcomes.”

dfree® is the leading financial freedom movement programmed to equip the African American community with the strategies and resources to live a financially empowered life. Founded in 2005 by Dr. Soaries, the movement has grown globally and is used by more than 4,000 churches and 200,000 individuals. dfree® empowers churches, community organizations and individuals to lead richer lives by improving how they think about and manage money.

Highlights of the retreat weekend include a free celebration concert featuring gospel singing sensations The Walls Group and Tiffany Andrews of BET’s Sunday Best, sponsored by MoneyLion; a special documentary screening of Urban One’s Legacy Lives On, featuring dfree® and powered by Prudential; plus, special

programming for nearly 1,000 high school students featuring media mogul and entrepreneur Yandy Smith.

“dfree® is a strategy and a movement that seeks to mitigate the lingering effects of the legacies of denial and determination among African Americans,” continued Soaries, who is also a former New Jersey Secretary of State. “Although we faced systemic denials for all of these years, we can celebrate tremendous achievement against formidable odds that are worthy of celebration.”

dfree® participants and organizations from around the nation have proven that financial freedom is possible to overcome and achieve. Debt reduction, improved credit scores, homeownership, entrepreneurship and increased investing are just a few of the accomplishments achieved by dfree® graduates.

For more information and to register, visit mydree.org.

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.

dfree® Around the Country: Indy Ministry Reduces More than $230K in Debt

Class Hosted by Overcoming Church Reduces Debt by $230,000+, Saves $57,500+

dfree® Financial Freedom Curriculum Makes Impact on Indianapolis

 

On Thursday, Aug. 8, 49 Indianapolis community members walked across the stage and steps closer to a life-changing goal of financial freedom thanks to the 12-week dfree® class facilitated by Overcoming Church (OCC).  

 

Spearheaded by Senior Pastor Bruce Farr and Executive Pastor Loretta Farr, OCC exceeded its 2019 combined debt reduction goal by more than 203 percent—resulting in approximately $230,643 vin debt reduction. The class also accomplished a combined increase in savings of $57,595. This was OCC’s fourth year hosting the program.

 

“dfree® revolutionized how I feel, think and act as I revamp financial management and stewardship for my life,” said Lillie Skipwith, a former dfree class participant.

Participants also commended the class’ collaborative environment and support from classmates.

“dfree®’s learning environment is very conducive to self-improvement,” said Dalaun Williams. “Being surrounded by others with similar goals is inspiring and helps you to better focus on your own.”

Also during Thursday’s ceremony, attendees heard of the program’s impact from the graduates themselves. Several community leaders were on hand to recognize the dfree graduates including Gloria Crawford, vice president and office manager of Lake City Bank’s Indianapolis Clearwater branch, Willie Roper, Indianapolis Urban League Board Chair, and SBA Indiana Deputy District Director Martin Anderson.




 

Church leaders shared that this success wouldn’t be possible without community partners including Lake City Bank and the Marion County Prosecutor’s office.

 

Class Structure

OCC’s dfree 12-week class began on Feb. 7 and was divided into four levels: “Getting Started,” “Gaining Control,” “Getting Ahead” and “Giving Back.” In the first level, participants addressed their current financial state and clearly defined their life goals.


In level two, participants put these goals into action with the guidance of skilled facilitators. They created a spending plan, set milestones to financial freedom and were held accountable by their community of classmates.

 

“The presenters excel in their particular areas,” said Skipwith. “They come with valuable information, incentives and additional opportunities to aid in the dfree journey.”      

In level three, participants learned how to “maximize the margins” with methods that allow participants to build wealth, savings and an investment plan, while also minimizing stress through estate planning and other practices.


Level four brought OCC’s dfree class full-circle with the “Giving Back” level. In this final and pivotal level, participants invested in others through tithing, leadership/mentorship and community engagement. They were also charged to “Impact the Culture” by setting daily examples, pointing others to financial freedom and becoming a trained dfree class facilitator.

 

About Overcoming Church: Overcoming Church (OCC) opened its doors in December of 1992 in a downtown warehouse and has since expanded into a campus setting. Led by Senior Pastor Bruce Farr and Executive Pastor Loretta Farr, OCC is a thriving ministry growing to meet the needs of its surrounding community. OCC is a multi-cultural, non-denominational church with a passion to reach the lost and a commitment to equip and empower the believer through its 35 ministries along with discipleship groups and a variety of biblical foundational classes. OCC is located at 2203 Columbia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46205, and can be found on Facebook at Church Overcoming and Instagram @OvercomingChurch.

 

About dfree®: Founded in 2005 by DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., dfree® is a financial freedom movement that addresses the cultural, psychological and spiritual influences on financial wellness and offers practical strategies for achieving financial success. 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.