Ask that question of Colby Chapman M.S. Ed, Founder of PennyUp, and she will tell you about money raised for her schools first prom, a historical black college tour, an anti-violence tour, a homeless feeding, a college readiness showcase with divine 9 sororities and fraternities, and a host of community events geared towards uplifting, awareness, and exposure through the power of pennies.
PennyUp is a non-profit with vision and a mission of striving to financially aide and educate youth in disenfranchised communities through financial literacy, job readiness, and entrepreneurship.
How did PennyUp get started?
On a brisk Monday winter afternoon, “January 6, 2014 to be exact,” Chapman created PennyUp as the result of waiting for her food in a Chicago favorite restaurant, Home of the Hoagy. While awaiting for her food, she saw some pennies scattered on the floor and proceeded to pick them up. When she asked why no one else picked up the change, the reply was, “Who wants a penny?” Chapman went home and asked her mother about the idea of collecting pennies.
Chapman’s Mom thought it was an amazing idea, to give hope to what seems hopeless and to show the power of unity. Her mother created the trendy slogan: “ When you see a Penny, pick it up that’s how you PennyUp”. After speaking with her “Hero” she knew she could birth a new belief. Within the concept of collecting pennies, she emphasize, “Everyone wants to be number one, but it takes a number of individuals to expand minds, achieve goals, and to process a vision.”
Chapman currently serves as a Career Education Coordinator at Chicago Excel Academy Roseland, where she activated her vision. “I have the opportunity to increase our students’ appetite for success daily, especially in a disenfranchised community where key resources such as workforce development opportunities and youth programming are not as prevalent. I have a passion for serving our youth, fostering growth, and molding our future leaders of tomorrow,” indicates Chapman. “I believe economic development is the key to change within a community.”
Currently, she is creating a 12 week curriculum for PennyUp, in which students ages 13-18 will focus on financial literacy, job readiness, and entrepreneurship. After completion of the 12 week course, ”Students will create a sole proprietorship, through the Illinois Secretary of State” explains Chapman. “They will earn money by searching for pennies throughout the city and using resources to assist them financially. Students are expected to collect and earn 417 pennies weekly, after 12 weeks, students will have collected $50.04, which will allow them to purchase a sole proprietorship and become a business owner.” In return, Chapman will match what they collect for their businesses, as well as provide a plethora of resources that will be effective for their business. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with Chicago companies, travel to private and public institutions / businesses, paired with business professionals in versatile backgrounds, acquire networking and communication skills, and develop their leadership skills. Other incentives students will receive are shirts, business cards, creation of a business logo, and a professional headshot.
Chapman also feels that it is pertinent for youth to learn the concept of value through PennyUp; that life is not a one-man show and to never count anything or one out. “We look to the deeper concept of unity.” Chapman feels that when participants of PennyUp embrace this concept, “the world is unlimited.” Her overall goal is to open a workforce development center that focuses on developing the student’s niche and researching creative ways to earn money. For example, “If they graphic design, we pair that student with organizations/businesses in need of that service within their community and abroad”. When we show students the path to their passion they will be inflicted with a cents of urgency to be the very best in business and continue their pursuit of learning! PennyUp has already impacted the Chicago community through activating its motto:
“CHANGE the world, it just makes CENTS.”
Make donations to PennyUP on www.GoFundMe.com.
Founder and Editor-in-Chief