Goalsetter founder and creator Tanya Van Court Credit: Contributed

Tanya Van Court is the entrepreneur and engineer behind Goalsetter, an app founded in 2016 and created to teach historically disadvantaged people to secure their financial freedom. It is one of the first Black-woman-owned fintech and financial education apps in Apple’s app store. 

“I had a notion that if I didn’t do this, then who would,” said Van Court. “I had all of these experiences and I felt like this was my path.”

Goalsetter is a mobile banking, debit card, and investing app that focuses on educating Black and brown kids and their families, college-bound young adults, and women through fun games and quizzes. It uses pop culture references like GIFs, memes, and partnerships with celebrities to make learning about generational and personal wealth more entertaining. 

Van Court is originally from Oakland, California. Her mother was an elementary school teacher and a single mom of six children. She said that her mother was incredibly generous with her students. 

“She would bring home more kids on the weekends. My oldest sister would say, ‘Mommy, we have enough,’” joked Van Court. “That was really her way of closing gaps and building bridges for the people in our community and the kids in her school who she knew needed her most.”

Unfortunately, Van Court’s mother died of a brain aneurysm when Van Court was just six years old. Her mother’s sister took in her and her siblings to raise, a decision that taught Van Court an important life lesson about sacrifice. During the summer, her aunt would make the kids write Black history reports and attend Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) camps.

After receiving two engineering degrees from Stanford University, Van Court said she had a major job in Silicon Valley with stock options that she understood very little about. She said initially the company did well and she had stock worth millions, only to lose most of that when the tech bubble burst in the 2000s. “Nobody had ever taught me that,” said Van Court. “The African American community [has] largely have been left out of those dialogues, so that just wasn’t dinner conversation in our family.” 

Shortly after the financial crash, Van Court moved to Brooklyn. From there, she built a career in Cablevision leadership, ESPN, Nickelodeon, and Discovery Education. During that time, she was determined to teach her young daughter, Gabrielle, about money in a way she hadn’t been educated about. Gabrielle eventually inspired her to strike out on her own and create a platform in the financial sector that centered on children of color. “If I could bring my baby into this ecosystem, then I could bring those babies into it, too,” she said. “That was really my drive.”

Goalsetter Foundation, its non-profit arm, has partnered with several organizations with a mutual goal of getting 1 million Black and brown kids to begin saving. They are committed to changing the narrative and bridging the wealth gap in Black and Brown communities.

For more information, check out Goalsetter in the App Store or go to the website: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/goalsetter-invest-bank/id1440624866.

Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about politics for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting https://bit.ly/amnews1.

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