#HackFinLit is a immersion of experiential and project-based learning where students connect with mentors and industry experts, collaborate amongst teams in a hack-a-thon style format to create innovative or tech-enabled solutions to challenges related to Financial Literacy.

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Hack Financial Literacy

Addressing the Financial Literacy Gap for Teens and Young Adults


Percent of young Americans (ages 18 to 26) agreed that their high school education did a good job of teaching them healthy financial habits.


Percent of kids surveyed indicated that they talk to their parents frequently about money


Percent of kids stated that their parents are uncomfortable talking to them about money


Percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 34) surveyed could answer four out of five questions correctly in a financial literacy quiz.8 By comparison, 48% of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1962) were able to answer four out of five correctly.


The rapid innovations in technology like social media, mobile technology, digital media, artificial intelligence, and machine learning pose a threat to how we interact with our environment. Specifically, how youth received and interpret knowledge and information. Can this information be characterized as intriguing, entertaining, or culturally relevant? More importantly is a question of how they are applying and translating this information to real time situations and case studies. Our theory is that we can more efficiently reach today's youth using the adaptability and scalability of technology to inform, persuade, and drive them to action. We also believe that to truly promote more cognitive learning we must show the application of knowledge in a more engaging, interacting, and competition driven manner. Lets see if our theory hold true...

Impact Mentor and CEO of Cause Labs, Sheryle Gillihan provides her quick thoughts on the opportunity we're providing for youth through the Pathways to Innovation program.


Human-Centered Design is a creative problem solving process that involves centering the end user, benefactor, or customer experience into the process of addressing both business and social challenges. Using University of Stanford Design School and IDEO framework we use this methodology coupled with data research, outcome based programming, and cultural relevancy to address challenges faces in underserved communities. We believe designing with empathy is a crucial part of our process. We couple this innovative process with technology based solutions to derive at outcomes that are measurable, scalable, and noble in purpose.

Impact Mentors gather using human0centered design to create the most innovative, relative, and engaging program for students interested in STEM and Social Innovation.


We not only apply the design principal methodology to our program design but we teach and empower youth to design solutions to challenges that they face in their everyday worlds. Our world is changing rapidly, including how our youth adapt to learning and we believe this is the perfect methodology that both teaches social emotional learning skills and critical thinking skills but also involves the student in practice to increase chances of cognitive retention and comprehension.

Our Team

Our diverse team of entrepreneurs, designers, educators, creatives, and change agents bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and success in diverse industries across the private and public sectors. The common thread that binds us all to our mission is the idea that we can empower the next generation to be leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators within their own communities.

Benjamin J. Vann

Founder, Executive Director

Krystal Hargrove

Programs and Events Coordinator

Christopher Fisher

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Phillip Washington

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Sheryl Gillihan

Board Member

Amy Aughinbaugh

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Stephone Coward

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Sakeenia Reed

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Ayshea Warren

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Lauren Kelly

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Tiffany Bradshaw

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

David Reeves

Pathways to Innovation Mentor

Meet Our Youth Innovators

Impact In Action

Thank You to Our Amazing Partners

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