As a high school senior, Nitiya Walker, was met with a challenge that many students face—”I have dreams of getting a college education, but I can’t afford it.”
“I met a young lady who earned $150,000 in scholarships to Spelman College. Her mom assisted her, so I asked her mother to work with me. She helped me win $250,000 in scholarships. I thought to myself “What if I never met the young lady in my Girl Scout troop?” It sparked a desire to want to help other girls gain access to free money. From this experience, Seeds of Fortune was born.
Seeds of Fortune is a scholarship program focused on creating the next generation of financially empowered young women of color. With more than 40 young women enrolled in the program, scholars have garnered $6 million in scholarship offers from top universities across the country and accepted more than $1 million in scholarship offers.
Black Enterprise: When it comes to being successful, what do you think is the most undervalued skill?
Nitiya Walker: The ability for people to communicate their story and decisions behind their future goals and dreams. We help our scholars prep for interviews as well as intensive college essay development so they can share their stories with stakeholders. We also teach them critical thinking skills. This helps them decide which colleges are more cost effective, the career paths that align with their interest, and how money can be used as a tool to make it happen.
BE: Why did you decide to include an entrepreneurship component to your program?
NW: Entrepreneurship is the No. 1 way to build wealth in America. It is the third pillar of our values, as we believe that young women of color should be able to control their destiny and use their resources to create opportunities for themselves.
BE: Can you share one piece of advice to financially empower young women?
NW: It’s important to build savings, as savings brings security, and it will help to start your investment capital. In turn, investments build wealth. Also,
- Pay yourself first. Then divide your accounts between a short-term savings account and a long-term savings account.
- Select a second savings account that is difficult to access like credit unions, small banks, or digital banks.