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 first Executive Director of Philadelphia Financial Scholars. She oversees curriculum and professional development, school partnerships, corporate sponsorships, program expansion, mission advocacy, and collaborates with the Board of Directors on the strategic vision of the organization.

Kerry began her career in investment banking at Deutsche Bank, gaining valuable experience and training in corporate finance, M&A, and capital market transactions. She then moved to the Philadelphia region and worked as the Director of Investment Analysis at Preferred Unlimited.

After spending two years volunteering with students at KIPP Philadelphia and Girard College, Kerry pivoted to full-time work in the Education sector by joining the Philadelphia School Partnership in 2012. Kerry served as Portfolio Manager for the $100 million philanthropic fund and was privileged to develop strong and lasting relationships with school leaders across the city.

Next, Kerry served as the Chief Operating Officer at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia, where she began an afterschool program teaching financial literacy before working as the first faculty liaison with the Philadelphia Financial Scholars program beginning in 2016. Prior to joining Philadelphia Financial Scholars, Kerry worked as the Deputy Chief of Institutional Advancement at Mastery Schools where she was responsible for development, communications, and other special projects for the 24-school and 14,000 student network.

Ms. Woodward earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and a Certificate of Business Excellence from Columbia Business School.

James Meng is serving as Program Coordinator for the Spring 2022 semester. James is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he received a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School with concentrations in Finance and Statistics. James also graduated summa cum laude and as a Joseph Wharton Scholar. At the University of Pennsylvania, James was involved with the Wharton Investment and Trading Group, Wharton Undergraduate Private Equity and Venture Capital, and Penn International Impact Consulting. James is passionate about sharing financial literacy and entrepreneurship education with students and families across Philadelphia. In his free time, James enjoys swimming, running, and exploring national parks.

Teacher partners & schools

Ronald McGee

Belmont Charter High School

Anthony Edmond-Pinckney

Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia

Brittney Whitehead

Building 21

Brian Dutill

Carver High School of Engineering & Sciences

Larry Fain

Cristo Rey

Kadjijah Hankerson

Dobbins Technical High School

Tim Calenza

Benjamin Franklin High School

Chris Cantanno

Freire Charter School

Spencer Engel

George Washington High School

Corrida Tutt

KIPP Dubois

Maria Pishko

Lincoln High School

Jamcy Philips

Martin Luther King High School

Nirali Patel

MaST Community Charter School

Robert Brown

MaST Community Charter School

Alex Santomarco

MaST II Community Charter School

Matt Milligan

MaST II Community Charter School

Kimberly Jones

Simon Gratz High School Mastery Charter

Marcus West

Mastery Hardy Williams High

Hurann Cooper

Mastery Lenfest Campus

Danielle Hernandez

Preparatory Charter School

Jonas Harris

TECH Freire

Our Board

Brian Gildea, Chairman

Hamilton Lane

Brendan Clark, Vice Chair

Clark Capital

Ryan Oswald, Treasurer


Marc Bryant, Secretary

FS Investments

John Coyne

Ategenos Capital

Toni Damon

Cherry Hill School District

Kelly Davenport

Freire Schools

Steve DeAngelis

Villanova University

Josh Deringer

Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath

Mia Fioravanti

Hilco Redevelopment Partners

Michael F. Gerber, Founder & Chairman Emeritus

FS Investments

Keith Leaphart


Shawn Lytle


Chiwuike Owunwanne


Sulaiman Rahman


Sarah Roth

Argosy Capital

William Sasso

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young

Jeff Wicklund

The Enterprise Center

Rob Zion

TIFF Advisory Services

Title 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

Founder & Chairman Emeritus, Philadelphia Financial Scholars

Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, FS Investments