Ghanaian-born entrepreneur Jeff Badu became a millionaire by the age of 25. The now 28-year old is paying it forward by educating the city’s youth on financial literacy. Launched in April of 2020, Jeff’s Badu Foundation will target youth ages six through 18. Courses will be offered in saving, budgeting, and investing, with the opportunity for participants to receive $500 scholarships upon completion.
Participants of the Badu Foundation are also able to repeat the program until they turn 18. Each year they complete the program, they will be awarded an extra $500. Scholarship monies can be applied towards either college expenses or business ventures. There is also an opportunity for the youth to become instructors once they turn 18. Jeff Badu says, “Not only do we want to give a man fish, or in this case, youth fish, but we also wanted to teach them how to fish. Our purpose is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of independent resources to create an abundant lifestyle.”
Jeff Badu’s motivation for his Foundation is seeing disadvantaged youth from underserved communities. He says, “The youth desperately need this. Financial literacy is not taught in schools. I did not learn about financial literacy until after college. So I wanted to provide a platform for the kids to learn about the fundamentals of financial literacy.” Jeff Badu added, “We need this, especially in the city of Chicago. This is part of the solution for reducing gun violence. Of course, you can never 100% avoid the problem, but you can contribute to the solution. And this is by taking them off the street and introducing them to a legitimate career. ”
A “life-changing” trip back to Ghana is also one of Jeff’s motivating factors. After migrating to the U.S. at eight, he found himself getting mixed up in the wrong crowd. At the age of 16, however, Jeff turned everything around. While in Ghana with family, Jeff Badu says that it was there when he discovered his purpose.
“I saw a lady that had two babies wrapped around her back. She also had a huge basket full of oranges, apples, anything to make ends meet. It was at that moment that I realized I was meant to help that person. God allowed me to see this individual for a reason. Then the lightbulb came on, and I knew that I was meant to be a part of the solution and not the struggle. That’s why I wanted to learn more about financial literacy, abundance, and wealth-building.”
One of the areas where Jeff Badu feels the youth need the most education is investing. He thinks that it is one area that will help to break the cycle of poverty. Saying, “When I was growing up, I read stories about how to become a millionaire from stock market trades. That is where I learned about making your money work for you. You can take what you have invested and grow it over time. Or go to college. Or start a business. It’s just there for you to do whatever you want with it.”
As for acceptance into the Badu Foundation, youth must meet specific criteria. This includes age requirements and living in a low-income community. They are also asked if they are ready to create an abundant lifestyle, along with completing a 100-word essay on why they deserve to be a part of the program.
This year, 30 students will be accepted into the program, with a goal of 100 in 2022. Jeff Badu said, “While we’re expanding, we’ll also expand it to other cities and states as well. After that, we’ll go to 300, where we will expand it internationally.”
Jeff’s advice to the youth is, “Keep pushing. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Find your purpose. Also, try your best to identify with something that guides you spiritually because the spirit drives everything and moves you in the direction that you want to go in life. Lastly, whatever you do, make sure you perfect your craft by doing things such as reading books. Or having mentors. And see how they can help you get to your ultimate destination.”
For more information on the Badu Foundation or to apply, visit https://www.badufoundation.org/.
Contributing Writer Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer and journalist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Find her on social media @withloveracquel.