Who We Are

D.R.E.A.M. (Developing Responsible Economically Advanced Model-Citizens) is a cutting edge, financial education and advocacy 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to empowering underrepresented, urban youth by equipping them with the essential knowledge for life’s challenging financial decisions. D.R.E.A.M. is training the next generation of citizens who will foster change within America’s urban communities, which will result in a radical shift in the financial practices of America’s low-income, urban citizens.

Founded in 2009 by Jaleni Thompson and Femi Faoye, two individuals born and raised in urban areas of New York City, D.R.E.A.M. aims to provide youth with financial skills that will eventually lead to the eradication of the current wealth gap between low-income, urban citizens and the broader American population. Although this task may seem daunting, D.R.E.A.M.’s unique curriculum develops and engages students through relevant, hands-on education. Upon completion, graduates of the program will begin leading financially prudent lives and share this newly acquired knowledge with members of their community, thus inspiring change.

Here’s a look at reality:

  • A 2008 national financial literacy exam for high school students showed that Caucasian students were more financially literate in comparison to their counterparts by correctly answering 52.5% of the questions (Compared to 45% for Hispanics and 41.3% for African Americans)
  • Only 16.8 percent of high school seniors feel that stocks are likely to have higher average returns than savings bonds, savings accounts and checking accounts over an 18 year period.

Source: The Financial Literacy of Young American Adults: Results of the 2008 National Jump$tart Coalition Survey of High School Seniors and College Student, By Lewis Mandell, Ph.D. University of Washington and the Aspen Institute

The situation is dire amongst our youth and radical action needs to be taken. Our youth need to engage in financial literacy education in a way that is transformative, captive, and encompasses the essence of their culture.

Why D.R.E.A.M.?  Unlike its counterparts, D.R.E.A.M. delivers comprehensive, specialized programming focused on developing personal finance skills and investment expertise in a culturally-enriched manner. Targeting low-income urban youth, participants have the opportunity to learn the essential skills for leading successful, financially responsible lives. D.R.E.A.M. is leading the movement towards the improvement of financial literacy in U.S. urban communities through our principal program, “Invest in Success”- a three year institute designed for high school students.

Our Mission

To empower underrepresented, urban youth by equipping them with the knowledge to become prudent, financially literate, adept individuals.  


D.R.E.A.M. envisions an American economy in which underrepresented, urban communities have meaningful knowledge and experience about personal finance, investing, and the financial markets.

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