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BWI reaches a milestone: 50 winners and $100,000.

Nearly five years ago, we embarked on an ambitious plan to make building wealth one of our legacies. The platform we created to accomplish this mission is the BLACK ENTERPRISE Black Wealth Initiative. We kicked off the 21st century with an ongoing campaign aimed at challenging you--our readers--to join the financial empowerment movement by committing yourself to principles such as disciplined saving and investing, educating your children about business and finance, owning a home, and using wealth to strengthen your community. Our goal was to arm you with the tools, motivation, connections, and information you would need to follow through on these commitments by breaking down the complexities of finances in the BE Declaration of Financial Empowerment--10 principles of wealth accumulation. We explained that building wealth wouldn't be a sprint; it would be a marathon.

As an added incentive to participate in our Black Wealth Initiative, we launched the BE Financial Fitness Contest. By entering, you get the chance to win $2,000, an introductory session with a certified financial planner, and a chance to be featured in BE. This issue marks a significant moment for our BWI marathon race. Shirley Malone, a service representative at SBC Communications, is our 50th winner. To date, the total amount of money we've given away is $100,000. Malone, a 52-year-old single mother of a 14-year-old adopted son and caregiver for her 79-year-old mother, lives in Inglewood, California. She exemplifies why it is important for African Americans to actively manage their finances. (See "Getting it Right the Second Time Around," this issue.)

"Shirley Malone, and the hundreds of thousands of people like her, is the reason we've kept our Financial Fitness Contest going long enough to reach this tremendous milestone," says BE Personal Finance Editor Matthew S. Scott. "Ms. Malone has an older parent who may need special care in the future, a bright son who has college aspirations, and her own retirement to find financial solutions for. We've helped 50 contest winners and their families manage financial challenges like these, and we hope to continue to provide this type of valued assistance in the future."

As a magazine, we are committed to helping you build wealth. Our January 2002 contest winners, Aleas and David Hammett (No. 23), were advised to convert two traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs and invest $1,000 of their contest winnings into each account. Alton Moss (No. 28) was advised to invest his contest winnings in his Roth IBA, but because he had already maxed out his yearly contribution, he put the money toward his $5,000 student loan debt. Our first contest winner, Nicole Scott, was advised to reduce her debt. By the end of that first year, she had paid off $3,000 in debt and invested in a mutual fund.

We encourage you to enter the Financial Fitness Contest. You can apply for it by visiting us at or calling 877-WEALTHY. You will also receive a BE Wealth Building Kit. Take advantage of the advice we offer our individual winners and apply it to your own financial situation. If you want to leave something significant to your children, our Wealth Building Kit will help you get started.

--The Editors
COPYRIGHT 2004 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:About This Issue; Black Wealth Initiative
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Previous Article:A picture of black entrepreneurship?
Next Article:Omarosa's agenda.

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