Philadelphia Financial Scholars

We believe access to financial and entrepreneurship education is critical to overcoming systemic economic barriers. Philadelphia Financial Scholars aims to provide Philadelphia high school students, teachers and families with the tools needed to develop financial skills, build greater wealth and achieve financial empowerment.

Philadelphia Financial Scholars’ roots date back to 2016, when the FS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of FS Investments, partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to create a financial literacy program for high school students. Since that time, the program has expanded significantly and now includes in-class financial literacy education, after-school entrepreneurship workshops, a summer business accelerator program at The Wharton School, and a nights-and-weekends curriculum for teachers, families and adult members of participating school communities. The program has reached more than 1,500 students since its inception.

Building on this proven model, other companies in the Philadelphia financial services community, as well as several law firms, accounting firms, entrepreneurs and civic organizations, have come together to expand the program and reach more teachers, families and students with these critical financial literacy and entrepreneurship programs.

Our team

Kerry Wagner Woodward is the founding Executive Director of Philadelphia Financial Scholars.

Kerry began her career on Wall Street, gaining valuable experience and training in corporate finance, M&A, and capital market transactions. In 2012, Kerry pivoted to the Education sector by working at the Philadelphia School Partnership, serving as Portfolio Manager for the $100 million philanthropic fund.

Prior to joining Philadelphia Financial Scholars, Kerry served as Deputy Chief of Institutional Advancement at Mastery Schools and the Chief Operating Officer at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia.

Ms. Woodward earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and a Certificate of Business Excellence from Columbia Business School. She resides in Wyndmoor, PA with her husband and three sons.

Ashley Yvonne is the Program Director of Philadelphia Financial Scholars. As a Baltimore native, she migrated to Philadelphia to pursue her dream of being an educator and began her career as a preschool teacher. 

In the fall of 2013, she joined the Mastery Schools as a teacher. Within a 7-year timeframe, Ashley advanced to the K-2 Assistant Principal of Instruction, Assistant Director of Early Elementary and ultimately concluded her tenure at Mastery as the principal of the Wister campus. 

Ashley has a variety of experience with new teacher coaching, teacher training, leader training, data analysis, and inspirational speaking. She earned her BS from Temple University, her MS in Organizational Development and Leadership from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and a principal certification from the Philly PLUS  program. She resides in Wyncote, PA with her two children.

Our Board

Mike Gerber, Chair
FS Investments

Marc Bryant, Secretary
FS Investments

Kelly Davenport
Freire Schools

Mimi Drake
Permit Capital

Ryan Oswald
EY

William Sasso
Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Brian Gildea, Vice Chair
Hamilton Lane

John Coyne
Spouting Rock Capital

Steve DeAngelis
Orion Advisor Solutions

Mia Fioravanti
Hilco Redevelopment Partners

Sulaiman Rahman
DiverseForce

Jeff Wicklund
The Enterprise Center


Brendan Clark, Treasurer
Clark Capital

Toni Damon
Cherry Hill School District

Josh Deringer
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

Keith Leaphart
Philanthropi

Sarah Roth
Argosy Capital

Rob Zion
TIFF Advisory Services

TITLE SPONSORS
SPONSORS

“We expect young people to succeed after high school without teaching them how to balance a checkbook or understand what interest rates are and why they matter. In today’s world, we need to better equip our youth.“

Mike Gerber
Chair, Philadelphia Financial Scholars
Executive Vice President, FS Investments

The current landscape

Young Americans are faced with high-stakes economic decisions, yet financial literacy standards in the U.S. are disappointingly low. With the rise of economic inequality, our nation’s unpreparedness for retirement and the proliferation of student debt, our programs aim to equip our young people with the tools needed to make smart, early financial decisions.

Education

Only

16%

of students nationwide are required to take a personal finance class to graduate high school.1

The U.S. is ranked

7th

out of 15 countries surveyed for student financial literacy knowledge.2

Savings and Retirement

26%

of Americans save nothing for retirement.3

30%

of Americans have no savings, in addition to their retirement savings.3