A young Indian American woman is doing everything in her power to make a difference to those in need.
Somya Munjal, a graduate of Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s in accountancy, as well as an M.B.A. from John Brown University, moved to the nation’s capital in 2012 to work for a corporation and discovered a litany of inequality.
Munjal, who now lives in Los Angeles, worked for a corporation while in Washington but lost her job over whistleblowing. That opened the door to a whole new journey for her, she said.
“While in D.C. I got frustrated with the levels of inequality existing in our nation's capital. I was surprised to see so many homeless people in a city where some of the most esteemed ‘leaders’ reside and serve,” Munjal told India-West in an email.
“I realized that you can't outsource change, you have to do it yourself. I also learned that the government, and those that buy the government through lobbying, were actually creating a lot of systematic oppression through inadequate education and financial systems in the nation's most underserved communities. My need to create socioeconomic change through fiscal and monetary policy reform started there,” she said.
So Munjal launched Youthful Savings, an education technology company dedicated to eliminating poverty and violence through the power of education, entrepreneurship and emotional resilience.
“Youthful Savings got started at Martha's Table in 2013. I taught the youth how to start a business and then partnered with PNC bank in order to get each of the youth a bank account by working with their parents,” Munjal explained to India-West.
From there, she said, the social enterprise began organically.
“Then, my journey to create change through fiscal policy reform led me to form CPA for the People LLP, which seeks to empower all with the financial and tax knowledge that they deserve,” the Indian American entrepreneur added.
The social enterprise seeks to empower the next generation with education products and entrepreneurship training. More information on it can be found by visiting www.youthfulsavings.com.
Other projects that Munjal launched include Learning Marketplace, Youthful Savings Foundation, CPA for the People, and Audacious Endeavors.
Learning Marketplace is a technology tool under the Youthful Savings umbrella, and is the premier provider of enrichment curricula and tools. The platform provides teachers, parents and communities access to innovative learning products and experiences from educators all over the world.
Subjects span from history, business, sustainability, technology, self-growth and many more unique subjects. More information can be found by visiting http://thelearningmarketplace.com/giving-back/.
Youthful Savings was incorporated in New York in 2013 with the help of Ted Ullrich, founder of Tomorrow Lab NYC.
“He was a guest speaker at our program in D.C. and really pushed me to create products. Once we saw success in D.C., it was time to really make our mission into a product business, and that's what we are busy doing,” she said. “Our latest technology tool, Learning Marketplace, is a hub for enrichment education products that parents, teachers and schools can utilize to reach youth.”
Youthful Savings Foundation is a private foundation under Youthful Savings. Ten percent of every dollar earned from Youthful Savings is allocated to youth investment through the foundation. The nonprofit provides scholarships and investments for socially conscious businesses. More information can be found by visiting www.learningmarketplace.org/giving-back.
CPA for the People, which launched in 2014, is a social good finance firm with a mission for fiscal and monetary policy reform through the empowerment of people. The company is committed to educating people about their finances and on money management as a tool to live life fully. More information can be found at www.cpaforthepeople.com.
“We go beyond just preparing your taxes to actually teaching you what each deduction is so you can utilize that learning into your daily lives and thus be more economically empowered. Additionally, we partner with banks and finance firms in order to provide additional financial products such as bank accounts, life insurance and investment accounts.”
Audacious Endeavors, found at www.audaciousendeavors.com, is a social change agency founded in 2015 dedicated to solving the world’s most pressing issues through the power of artists and their work. The organization features artists who create from their heart and soul. A percentage of art sales generated from the Audacious Endeavors website and related events are donated to a cause of the purchaser’s choice.
“We believe that art can be a good investment, and if we can help our artists sell more then it's a win-win for both the artists and my other clients that are looking to expand their investment portfolio,” Munjal noted to India-West.
Despite all her projects launched and the successes that have come from them, the one that remains a soft spot in her heart is the first one she launched.
“Youthful Savings is a true expression of my soul. I believe the youth deserve the best of us and too often adults project their issues on to children versus celebrating their soul and allowing them to shine and be better than the adults,” the Indian American entrepreneur said.
“I was a tough kid to raise and went through a lot with authority. I was once told by a teacher that she would move out of the country if I was president after a classmate said that I would be the first female president,” she added. “I then threw something at the teacher and almost got expelled. As a child, we don't need adults to put us down but to lift us up. I spend a lot of time doing restorative justice work with the youth because I think just because adults are older doesn't mean they should punish kids.”
Munjal stressed that society needs to understand where they are coming from and how best to support them, and most importantly, allow them to be the best versions of themselves and never place doubt in children.
“They are the most powerful souls on this planet and come directly from God. As adults, we get more into our ego and away from God, and spending time with children allows me to be closer to God in my mind,” she added. “So for me, Youthful Savings is everything. All the other work I do just capitalizes the mission I have to uplift the youth.”
Going forward, Munjal told India-West that her goal is to reach as many youth as possible through her education products, and work on policy reform on a global scale so the change it creates for the youth is actually sustainable. The systems of government in the U.S. aren’t working and weren’t built on integrity and fairness for all, she said. “Change is needed, and I would like to be a part of that.”
Additionally, she has a book coming out called “Audacious Endeavors: 8 Steps to Social Consciousness that Will Spark Your Inner Fire,” which is about her journey starting Youthful Savings and an interactive guide for others to create socially conscious businesses as well.
Munjal is also working on another book called “Pray for Dollars: The Dichotomy of Money and Spirit and How to Prepare for the Economic Revolution,” about how to become a more values-based society and create better industries that help people and don't harm the earth.
With over 7 billion people on this planet, it's time to work with the planet and with each other versus against each other, she said simply.