IN the News
Bridges to Wealth co-founder testifies before the Retirement Security Task Force
On October 26th, B2W founder Professor Keith Weigelt was asked to testify before the Retirement Security Task Force, convened by Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella.
Keith spoke passionately about the structural barriers that impede desirable savings behavior, and meaningful solutions to the problem of woefully inadequate retirement savings activity. He illuminated the need for education and opportunity, and the power of the kind of public-private partnership through which B2W programming has flourished. Our partnership brings together the University of Pennsylvania, the financial firm FS Investments, and the B2W social enterprise to provide much-needed education and opportunity in a low-cost, scalable way.
The Treasurer’s Office thanked Keith for his important contribution:
“The changes you proposed that must be made to solve the problem of woefully inadequate retirement savings activity will probably be of most value as we continue our work. Your suggestions will be invaluable when we reach the point of imagining commonsense and effective reforms that Pennsylvania should implement to address the crisis.”
"Bridges to Wealth,” which has been featured on CNN, The Huffington Post, and other news outlets over the past six years, aims to reduce the racial wealth gap within underserved Philadelphia communities, through financial literacy and education. The program consists of three modules: financial literacy, leadership, and entrepreneurship. Weigelt began Thursday’s presentation on entrepreneurship with a summary of the extreme racial wealth gap in the US, pointing out that the "health gap” is proportionate to the wealth gap – revealing the importance of correcting this systemic problem.
~ Tim Legnani for University City Review August 2017
BBTW is an innovative program based at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business that teaches business literacy to grammar and high school students and to adults. Classes are free and are held either in the evening or on weekends. Over 900 adults have taken the adult business literacy program. BBTW’s program is unique because it offers participants the opportunity to form communities of wealth after graduation. The communities are composed of peer-to-peer savings groups, mutual fund investing groups, and a microloan fund. Over 400 participants have contributed roughly $60,000 to investing groups as of April 2014. The current savings group has over 60 members and will generate a lending pool of over $30,000. Developed by Dr. Keith Weigelt of Wharton, BBTW is currently offered in communitybased locations and high schools in West Philadelphia. 
~ City of Philadelphia, Shared Prosperity 2014
In the sessions, students learn the basics of managing finances, and Weigelt also covers how to make investments. Instead of keeping funds in a bank account, he suggests mutual funds and stocks.
“Unless you educate people and give them a vehicle to invest with, they’re not going to accumulate wealth because they’re putting their money in assets with low returns,” he says.
After the adults complete the class, they’re invited to join the program’s investing group, which meets twice a month at Wharton. Weigelt starts off the session with a short lecture on a financial aspect of investing. The group then discusses the stock market before members choose the investments they want to make.
~ Jeanne Leong for Penn Current December 2014