These 3 MDs Have A Prescription For Curing Student Debt
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
You can download an audio podcast here or subscribe via iTunes or Google Play.
Three physicians who are appalled by the mountain of student debt in America have developed a plan to help students pay off their student loans early. Their plan would also provide free services to nonprofit organizations. The trio is now putting their plan into action in the form of a social enterprise.
NanaEfua Baidoo Afoh-Manin, a physician who describes herself as a “dancer of life” and simply exudes energy, generally abbreviates her last three names as B.A.M., pronounced bam! As CEO of the Shared Harvest Fund, she is joined by two other female African American medical doctors as co-founders. Briana DeCuir joined B.A.M. for a discussion you can watch in the video player above. Joanne Moreau is the third member of the founding group.
The plan works like this: “debtfreelancers” who are people with student loans willing to volunteer for nonprofits find those opportunities on the Shared Harvest Fund Social Impact Job Board. Both the nonprofit and the debtfreelancers pay modest subscription fees to the Shared Harvest Fund. Additionally, sponsors and donors contribute to the fund. The funds pay down the student loans of the debtfreelancers.
Briana DeCuir, MD
“Our mission is to drive down the burden of student loan debt for the 44 million Americans who carry the $1.4 trillion in student loan debt today while simultaneously having a significant impact in the world,” DeCuir says.
Acknowledging the scale of the problem, Afoh-Manin says, “We have a mission to give away $20 million in debt relief by 2020.” She explains that 80 percent of the revenue from subscriptions will go back to the debtfreelancers in payments on their student loans.
Today, the trio of founders are running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help launch the program. They’ve exceeded their modest goal of $7,833—a goal which corresponds to the average of one year’s student debt in America.
The launch is slated for June 19, 2018, celebrated in America as Juneteenth, commemorating the date that slaves were freed in Texas in 1865. Texas slaves were the last to be freed. The holiday is now observed in 45 U.S. states.
Student debt does not qualify as a modern form of slavery, but Afoh-Manin insists it could be described as a form of indentured servitude. She adds that student debt is making a college degree into a burden rather than an asset.
DeCuir notes that burden of student debt falls disproportionately on African Americans. A 2016 article in The Atlantic explores the ways in which that is true and why it is. It notes that African Americans find themselves with more debt four years after graduating—because interest and fees are piling up—than when the graduated. Whites, on the other hand, have reduced their debt by 10%. Black students end up with nearly twice the debt burden of white students four years after graduation.
The Shared Harvest Fund will operate as a for-profit business. It will keep just 20% of subscription fees and 10% of sponsorships as its revenue. The rest will be used to pay debtfreelancers for their service to nonprofits.
NanaEfua B. Afoh-Manin (B.A.M.), MD
Mehret Mandefro, co-founder of Truth Aid, has joined the board of advisors for the Shared Harvest Fund. She says, “Student debt can be a crippling burden that forces many to enter professions that they may not have otherwise as well as forego opportunities to do social impact work that they care deeply about. Both make our world less than what it could be, so I think their model is brilliant.”
If you share my passion for doing good with your money, learn how you can become an impact investor with my online course, 25% off with this link.
Never miss another interview! Join Devin here!
Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!
The post These 3 MDs Have A Prescription For Curing Student Debt appeared first on GoodCrowd.info.