'Reducing The Gap': Urban Food Alliance To Increase Financial Literacy, Democratize Investing For Underserved Communities


Urban Food Alliance, a nonprofit organization helping reduce hunger in underserved communities, last week acquired Benzinga financial data APIs. Urban Food Alliance's Jayaraj Perumalswamy spoke with Benzinga regarding his organization's aim to use the data in empowering underserved communities financially.

Reducing Food Waste, Feeding Communities, Educating

Urban Food Alliance -- at its core -- is an organization centered around eliminating food waste.

“We go to underserved, less fortunate communities and supply them with what they need,” Perumalswamy told Benzinga.

The New Jersey-based organization prepares fresh meals for surrounding minority communities, in addition to collecting unused and leftover food from nearby events.

Perumalswamy pointed to examples like a Bloomberg event at which 2,500 ice creams were left over; Urban Food Alliance was contacted and sprung into action, helping distribute the food to nearby towns.

"Another thing we do is financial seminars; anyone can attend from the comfort of their home [via] any mobile device," he said. The firm simplifies investing and finance, helping individuals take control over their financial well-being.

"We educate them on how dark pools, options, money managers and market manipulation works."

Real-Time Connectivity, Professional Insights

"The main issue is that the less fortunate don’t have access to these premium tools and kind of feel scared because they think they will buy some stock which will fall down, or they don't know when to buy or sell," Perumalswamy said.

The organization acquired Benzinga Pro data APIs with the intention of helping its community make better financial decisions. Core features of the package include:

  • Unusual options activity
  • Real-time newswire
  • Price and volume signals

"By using Benzinga for data API, we are trying to push relevant information ... That way they can trade and invest just like any other rich person," Perumalswamy said.

What’s Next?

Perumalswamy said the company's goal for the next three years is expanding education to hundreds, if not thousands of students.

Perumalswamy said the development of an interactive investment and financial education app was in the works; the tool would provide all-encompassing access to the API package provided by Benzinga.

"We are also trying to set up a virtual trade desk and investment community, where people can pool money and have a board of people trade on [their] behalf."

Through these interactions, underserved communities are becoming more aware of economic and political developments, and will better be able to make an impact on their futures.

:This is a way everybody gets their skin in the game. This impacts how they vote in elections, whether it’s Democrat or Republican; they can start thinking about tax cuts, interest rates, equity valuations, treasury bonds [or even] reverse repo," Perumalswamy said.

To learn more on Urban Food Alliance and it's varying causes, visit urbanfoodalliance.org.

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Posted In: FintechExclusivesInterviewJayaraj PerumalswamyUrban Food Alliance
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