Building Generational Wealth

This month’s guest blogger is Shari Oliver, founder of The Generational Wealth Foundation. Gen Wealth’s mission is to foster wealth principles among socio-economically diverse populations, drive wealth accumulation, and reduce the wealth gap. The ability to earn and accumulate wealth determines whether families can leave poverty and achieve economic security. Wealth building helps women and girls to go beyond self-sufficiency to economically thrive. Programs like Gen Wealth’s one-week summer camp to teach youths 14-18 about building wealth can help remove the barriers girls face. AWF provided funding for the girls who attended this summer’s inaugural camp.

Women’s economic contribution to their households has increased exponentially over the past forty years. In 1976, one in twenty women was the sole breadwinners in their households; by 2013, it was one in four; 1 and today, women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of families with children.2  

Women’s ability to earn, save, and invest plays a critical role in the well-being of their children,3  the strength of their communities, and the economic prosperity of our nation. Yet, today, private sector practices, public systems, and policy barriers are limiting the capacity of women— especially women of color—to reach their full economic potential. 4

Income inequality and a lack of work supports are key drivers of gender inequality, but other factors are at play. Today, the women’s wealth gap is far greater than the income gap. While women earn about 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, they own only 32 cents; and women of color own only pennies on the dollar compared to white men and white women.5

Wealth is different than income. Wealth is a store of resources to be used for emergencies. It includes savings for college or a secure retirement; resources to be leveraged into investments, like a home or a business; and it can be passed on to the next generation. 6

Alleviating this socio-economic crisis by exposing girls and women to “wealth” practices is the goal of The Generational Wealth Foundation, “Gen Wealth”.  Gen Wealth exposes serviced populations to financial literacy and other critical life/lifestyle skills that females aren’t often exposed to.  Programmatic elements include real estate, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, graduate degree opportunities, golf, etiquette, art, sexual education, philanthropy, rights & legal regulations, etc.  I founded the organization in 2018 after being inspired by a leadership development program at Delta Air Lines. 

Gen Wealth held its inaugural one-week program at The Booker T Washington High School, on June 24-28, 2019.  Participants included, 14 youth, ages 13 to 17, representing 9 cities across metro – Atlanta.  All-inclusive programming provided financial, social, and cultural principles implemented by presenters who are leaders in their fields.

Participants in Gen Wealth’s inaugural one-week wealth building educational camp.

Program results were impressive.  With each of the topic-based sessions, campers completed a pre-test and a post-test and, on average, campers demonstrated double-digit improvement in each.

Parents indicated that they are extremely likely to recommend this program as they provided a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90 and similarly, campers provided a NPS score of 82.

Parent and participant feedback on the program included:

  • “Her conversation has changed tremendously in terms of future goals and her interest in our family finances.”
  • A camper said, “I wanted to participate in this wealth camp because I wanted to understand how to make and manage money and be happy with and accept myself for who I am.”
Gen Wealth board member Brandi Thomas leading one of the sessions of the week-long program.

Shari Oliver is the founder of The Generational Wealth Foundation. Gen Wealth focuses on the application of wealth pillars to drive wealth accumulation among socio-economically diverse populations. After graduate school at NC State, Shari quickly grew through the ranks at Delta Air Lines. As a Strategic Sourcing Manager, in Supply Chain, she managed approximately $300M in airport operations and cargo supplier spend in Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA), New York, and Boston regions. She then transitioned to the commercial side of the business as the Manager of Transatlantic Alliances in Sales Development where her scope included UK and EU alliance partner and sales program management.  It was at this point in her career she was selected as 1 of 30 participants in Delta Air Lines’ premier 10-month leadership development program. Shari was inspired by what she was exposed to and couldn’t help wonder, what if she was exposed to this at 14, how would life be different?  That thought propelled her to take a leave of absence from her almost decade long career at the Fortune 100 she loved, and step into her purpose to create The Generational Wealth Foundation. Shari has a M.S. in Communication from North Carolina State University and undergraduate degrees in Communication Management and Tourism from St. Leo University. She is originally from Kingston, Jamaica.


1 “An American Role-Reversal: Women the New Bread Winners.” USA Today, March 25, 2013.

2 Glynn, Sarah Jane. The New Breadwinners: 2010 Update, Rates of Women Supporting their Families Economically Since 2007. Center for American Progress, April 2012.

3 See research by William Elliott, Associate Professor, University of Kansas:

4 McCulloch, Heather.  Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap:  What It Is, Why It Matters, and What Can Be Done About It, January 2017.

5 Chang, Mariko L. Women and Wealth, Insights for Grantmakers. Asset Funders Network, 2015.

6 McCulloch, Heather.  Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap:  What It Is, Why It Matters, and What Can Be Done About It, January 2017.

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