Bevon Joseph, executive director and co-founder of the Greenwood Project — along with his wife, Elois Joseph — is a victim of his own success. The program has boomed, and he is thrilled.
“The impact has been crazy,” he said. “We didn’t see this coming, but we are happy.”
In a video interview with John Lothian News at FIA Expo 2021, Joseph said the program, which introduces high school and college students in underserved communities to the financial services industry, has seen especially dramatic expansion in 2020 and 2021 with the attraction of new talent and the extension of the project to new cities.
The Greenwood Project has served more than 200 students since piloting its first program in 2016 with five interns. It eventually plans to serve 500 or more in the summer program as it expands nationally. Joseph said 75% of the students have gone on to jobs in finance and they report 100% employment. Many of them end up at the same firm where they intern.
Support from various companies has also grown this year, Joseph said, “accelerating our growth in a big way.” The FIA is among the Greenwood Project’s newest sponsors.
He said the FIA heard about the Chicago-based program from a JLN MarketsWiki Education “World of Opportunity 2020” video interview with Joseph in which he explained the origins of the Greenwood Project.
“The FIA’s partnership has been huge for us,” Joseph said. The group’s backing spurred about 25 FIA member firms to sign up as corporate partners with the project’s 2022 program, broadening the field from about five or six firms this year, Joseph said.|
In addition, fintech has been a driver of growth for the Greenwood Project, which has attracted about 15 to 20 new fintech firms.
“The good thing about our growth is that it has been really organic,” Joseph said. “Students have been finding us. Kids come to our program and go back and tell all of their friends about it and all of a sudden I’m fielding [inquiries from] multiple from high schools and colleges a week.”