2022 Grants Challenge

Suma Academy: Fun, In-culture, Financial Education for Latin@s

Idea by SUMA Academy

SUMA Academy (a program of the Acevedo Foundation) provides FREE culturally relevant content and virtual experiences that reimagine financial education. Through entertainment and culture, SUMA Academy helps Latin@s overcome dinero challenges and better prepares them for a more prosperous future as individuals, families, and communities.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Did you know that for every dollar a white family has, Latin@ families only have 20 cents? Latin@s are also more likely to lack the resources to fund an emergency, with approx. 45% of them having less than $1,000 dollars saved. There are 60 million Latin@s in the U.S., yet over 60% of them have limited access to financial services. Nevertheless, U.S. Latin@s continue to be an economic powerhouse, contributing $2.7 trillion to the U.S. GDP over the last ten years. SUMA Academy is changing that by empowering Latin@ youth with financial education delivered in inclusive, easy-to-understand formats.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Acevedo Foundation's commitment to closing the educational gap is rooted in the belief that when a community is equipped with the right knowledge and technical abilities, their opportunities are endless. Recognizing that financial literacy is critical to creating generational success for Latin@s, the foundation launched SUMA Academy; the first platform to offer Latin@s curated, in-depth financial information and resources through culturally relevant content that is easy-to-understand, and completely FREE. The Academy's goal is to create measurable positive impact on the financial wellbeing of Latin@ youth, and, through them, the future of their entire multigenerational households. Operating on demand, the multi-week Dinero Bootcamps for LA Latin@ Youth have built a solid foundation of financial literacy among current participants. By building a healthy 'dinero' mindset, these Latin@ youth are empowered to harness long-term financial growth strategies including budgeting, savings growth, long-term investing, retirement planning, and credit building/management. Participants who successfully complete the program receive a SUMA Dinero Bootcamp ASU Learning Enterprise Certificate and are also encouraged to share their actionable "dinero" mindset insights with family and friends, multiplying the impact in the Latin@ community.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The SUMA Academy launched and focuses on LA County as it represents the greatest number of users. 4.8MM Latin@s make up 48% of LA county's largest ethnic/racial group (2020 Census data), making it home to the largest Latin@ population in the U.S. To date, the SUMA Academy has had 2,500+ unique platform visitors with a goal to reach 1000 youth certified by Fall 2022. The LA2050 grant will support the engagement of an additional 500 youth and train and provide 200 completion certificates. In addition, the grant will support the continuous curriculum and delivery iteration where participants will continue to learn about personal finance and be guided to a series of fundamental trainings that will deliver Latin@ youth a financial guide for their families, and at least three other individuals in their network. Post module and overall program surveys will be conducted strategically throughout the course to gauge learning, retention and sharing of information throughout the community.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Course Success Metrics are measured as follows: ● WEEKLY: At the end of each educational module, surveys will assess information retention and increased financial knowledge/actions including: ○ Learning to create a budget, reduce debt, increase savings, acquisition of financial assets, credit/credit scores and confidence in managing finances. ● END OF PROGRAM: Capturing the overall experience of the participant, confidence level, and intent to act on new skills. ● ANNUALLY: 12 months post program survey to assess knowledge retention, habit changes, and mindset changes, to include participant’s: ○ Increased savings, reduced debt, established first credit file/score, acquired financial asset, intent to save, increased financial knowledge and confidence in managing finances. Measuring and optimizing impact is at the core of SUMA's model. To date, SUMA has engaged 1250 unique participants, with an projected 80% completion rate by September 2022.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 200

Indirect Impact: 500