This 28-year-old Chicago millionaire is creating scholarships to fund financial literacy for the city’s most disadvantaged youth
April 28, 2021
Jeff Badu became a millionaire before he was 30 despite having zero financial literacy education growing up.
The 28-year-old Chicago resident’s latest venture is establishing a nonprofit – The Badu Foundation – that will teach underserved youth throughout Chicago the value of saving, budgeting, investing and scholarships.
Badu recently launched an initiative in which he aims to raise $100,000 that will fund scholarships for youth ages 6-18, where $500 scholarships will be awarded to each participant on an annual basis. Prospective scholarship winners can apply here.
Badu, who became a millionaire when he was 25 and who owns several companies, said financial literacy for Chicago’s most disadvantaged youth will be a key for the city’s future moving forward.
“There is so much violence in Chicago because there is no economic abundance,” Badu said. “If you don’t have the resources to create abundance, then life is likely going to be tough. I’m watching so many people struggle, and America is filled with infinite resources. I want Chicago’s youth to think more abundantly.”
Badu, a resident of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, is a licensed CPA and founder of Badu Enterprises, LLC, a multinational conglomerate that owns several companies, including: Badu Tax Services, LLC, a CPA firm that specializes in tax preparation, tax planning and tax representation for individuals and businesses; and Badu Investments, LLC, which is primarily a real estate investment company that acquires residential and commercial real estate properties in areas such as the South Side of Chicago in efforts to restore traditionally underserved areas.
Badu moved to Chicago from his native Ghana when he was 8 years old. As a teen, Badu said he was headed down the wrong path, but a visit to Ghana in 2008 changed his mindset.
“I saw how people were living in Ghana, and I knew I just couldn’t have a life like that,” Badu said. “From then, I started going to church, and my goal became to help an infinite amount of people who have a profound desire to do better in life."
Badu said he’s envisioned having a nonprofit to help Chicago’s youth for more than 10 years.
“This is happening because of the experiences I’ve had through life as an entrepreneur,” Badu said. “People don’t know how to manage money, and a big reason why is because of how they grew up and how they were taught. … This is something we desperately need.”
Badu started his first business plan as an 18-year-old during his freshman year at University of Illinois, where he has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting from the Gies College of Business.
He formed a client base by volunteering to do taxes for family and friends while he went to school and built that base to 100 people by the time he was 24 years old working at PwC.
When he hit his 100th client, Badu quit his full-time corporate job to officially start Badu Tax Services, LLC in September 2016.
He said The Badu Foundation is the latest evolution to help change the world for the better.
“We can help children avoid poverty,” Badu said. “We’ll be teaching budgeting, saving and investing. This won’t only be the start of the journey. We’ll teach them how to fish and how to eat it, too.”