A crowdfunding platform focused on 529 college savings plans is partnering with a North Little Rock charter school to close the financial literacy gap for young Black and minority students.
Sootchy, a Los Angeles-based platform, has selected Arkansas Lighthouse Academy’s Capital City campus in North Little Rock to test-drive its beta app. The company has “hand-selected” teachers and parents of students at the school to use the app, which is designed to enable family and friends to contribute to a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan.
Through this partnership, Sootchy will provide students will a matching grant into their savings accounts.
According to founder and CEO David Adefeso, Sootchy is aimed at creating financial freedom for students, particularly for Black students facing financial gaps and obstacles.
“Education has the ability to be a great equalizer and eliminate the wealth gap that exists in our country – but only if it’s accessible. When I started Sootchy, it was with the goal of ensuring everyone has access to debt-free higher education. That’s why I’m so excited about our partnership with Lighthouse Academies! It’s a major step toward achieving that goal. These children have unimaginable potential, and I’m very proud to work with the LHA teachers and parents to help them realize it,” Adefeso said in a statement.
Sootchy executives reportedly plan to adopt all Lighthouse Academies’ campuses as part of the beta app program.
“Closing the achievement gap in America is our focus and financial literacy is a key component at play,” Arkansas Lighthouse Academies deputy director of innovation Wendall Scales Jr. said. “This partnership with Sootchy enhances our ability to provide resources to help our students succeed.”
While Sootchy is based in California, the company’s chief operating officer, Emma Willis, is based in Northwest Arkansas. Willis previously served as the executive director of Arkansas 529 and launched the nation’s first state-run 529 plan app during her tenure.