ABC Owned Television Stations is joining forces with Microsoft Philanthropy to drive conversations about building wealth in the Black community in a new one-hour documentary special called "Our America: In The Black."
The special will follow Microsoft Philanthropic specialist, Darrell Booker, who works to close the racial wealth gap through their inclusive digital programs. Part of the special examines how non-profit sports programs are working to improve financial outcomes for youth and young adults in underserved communities.
"Sports play a huge role in the conversation around financial health," Booker said. "So many of the athletes are looked up to as role models and the majority of them increasingly, a number of them, are giving back to their communities and want to use their influence to be able to improve the lives of those in those communities."
RISE is a national nonprofit led by CEO Diahann Billings-Buford that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations.
"I really wanted to highlight the nonprofit RISE because their work is committed to working with all types of sports teams and individual athletes on all forms of civic engagement and leadership," Booker adds. "Whether it's them working with rookies or veterans, they're working with them on how they can give back within their communities, work with nonprofits, other nonprofits, or work with individuals themselves."
RISE partners with community organizations to ensure that racial competence is in place to have an inclusive sports culture. Some of their goals are to promote the importance of mentorship, decision-making, finances, and more.
"RISE's whole foundation is that we are partnering with community groups to address their points of weakness" Billings-Buford said.
RISE is partnered with Good Shepherd Services, which works to create opportunities that help our participants realize their fullest potential at home, at school and in their community.
"Mentorship is so critical," Booker said. "It really takes a supportive network, especially with our young people. So to have Ray, who you'll see in this special, supporting Angel, is just an example of how our adults are contributing to our young people's success."
Good Shepherd Services is working to close the generational wealth gap by mentoring youth with career exploration.
"The last few years," economic mobility manager Raymond "Ray" Reinoso explained, "One stat that's been revealed is the generational wealth gap for Black families. We're looking at a net zero by 2053. And for Latino families, we're looking at net zero just two decades later. It's very obvious that there's an inherent inequality in the way our Black and Latino families are being impacted. And one way that we really want to challenge that is through career exposure and career exploration."
Many young people, especially those of color who pursue a career in the sports industry, often don't have knowledge on how to manage their finances.
"Hopefully, 'Our America: In The Black' will be able to put a dent in those kinds of statistics, where we're now allowing people to have a fighting chance and learn how to budget appropriately," said financial literacy expert Dr. Jatali Belanton. "So where they can help their community but make sure that they're not financially in the red."
Start your journey in empowering your community to achieve generational wealth with Microsoft nonprofit resources at www.aka.ms/NTA.
Watch "Our America: In the Black" starting Feb. 2 online and wherever you stream this station on Roku, Apple TV, FireTV or Google TV. Also on Feb. 2, you can also find the special on Hulu's "Black Stories Always" hub, the ultimate streaming destination for Black stories and storytellers all year round.