Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., former New Jersey Secretary of State and founder of the dfree® Financial Freedom Movement, announced that its Billion Dollar Challenge money management tool has aided more than 10,000 African Americans pay off $25,663,715 of consumer debt. The Billion Dollar Challenge is the lead marketing initiative of the dfree® Movement to help people pay off consumer debt in an effort to transfer those payments to build insurance, investments and savings. The organization plans to hit the $27 million debt pay down mark by the end of 2020.“We are on a critical mission. 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 has written books and given speeches about how he overcame his own struggles with paycheck-to-paycheck living. “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.”
At this point in history, it’s never been more crucial for Black Americans to have a strategy to progress as a people. To have true social justice and equality, healthy economics must precede. The Billion Dollar Challenge at its core basic level is an online tool that is used to help people manage their debts, make plans to pay them off using online calculators and planning tools as well as build our savings to establish a more positive financial position.
“The last few months have made it abundantly clear that we must control our own narrative,” said Soaries, who has worked on civil rights issues for the Urban League as a community organizer and Operation PUSH as the national coordinator. “Until we control what’s ours – our communities, our politics, our economics – we’ll never be truly free. dfree® is armed to combat social reform on behalf of Black people because real social justice is impossible without economic empowerment!”
A perfect way to introduce an economic conversation with its group functionalities, the dfree® Billion Dollar Challenge is used by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., National Baptist Convention of America, Prudential’s Black Leadership Forum, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and other national organizations. Recognized as a national initiative, members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated have paid down more than $6 million of consumer debt.
“The work that we do and the partnership we have with dfree® is vital because we provide it to our communities and also adopt it ourselves,” said Carmen McClendon, Chair of Economic Development Subcommittee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. “This is something we’re doing! We have nearly 200 chapters involved and have paid off more than $6 million in debt collectively.”
The free, confidential, easy-to-use tool helps users determine the date they will be out of debt, or they determine the date and the tool calculates payments to meet that goal. The Billion Dollar Challenge also works for savings the same way. On the site, users are able to create profiles and begin their debt/savings plan. From day one, users can begin tracking and monitoring their progress. As an incentive, dfree® has a rewards program that allows users the opportunity to get paid for paying down debt.
Featured by CNN’s Almighty Debt: A Black in America Special and iHeartMedia’s The Breakfast Club, dfree® has trained churches, community organizations, corporations and individuals to lead financially richer lives. dfree® is the premier financial freedom movement designed specifically for African Americans that focuses on cultural, spiritual and psychological spending influences. Through training, content, curriculum, tools and resources, dfree® offers solid strategy on how to become debt free and provides the blueprint to build legacy and secure a positive financial future. Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, the dfree® movement has grown globally and is used by more than 4,000 churches and organizations, and 200,000 individuals.
Learn more and sign up for the Billion Dollar Challenge here.