For all that black women have achieved professionally and personally, financial preparedness remains a critical issue. Data show that black americans — women in particular — save less than white americans and invest less aggressively than they should, particularly in terms of retirement. Particularly troubling is the fact that two out of five single black women over the age of 65 live in poverty.


When it comes to saving and investing, it’s critical to start early. In fact, in an ING/Essence poll, 72% of the Black women surveyed strongly agreed with the statement, “I wish I had learned more about money and investing growing up.” The challenge: how to engage underserved minority youth with investing when they have no experience — or dollars to invest. The answer: get them the dollars and give them the experience.

What We Did

Working with Tiller, the ING Foundation teamed with Girls Inc. to create the ING-Girls Inc. Investment Challenge, a groundbreaking initiative designed to empower minority girls by teaching them the basics of investing — and then giving them real money to invest. The Challenge launched with teams of teenage girls in four underserved communities across the US. After completing a 10-week financial curriculum taught by ING employees, the girls went to work investing $50,000. The best part? After three years, portfolio gains were divided among participants in the form of post-secondary scholarships.


The Investment Challenge was recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009 as one of “13 programs impacting girls and women around the globe.” High-profile media coverage has included CNBC’s “Wall Street Journal Report with Maria Bartiromo,” Fox Business News, and Forbes.com. The ING Foundation’s outreach to minority women and girls was recognized by the PR News CSR Executives of the year in 2010 with a Silver Anvil for Multicultural Public Relations, and ING Foundation president Rhonda Mims was named one of four CSR Executives of the Year in 2009.