Jonathan Abdullah

Degree: Ed.D. in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

College/School: School of Education and Human Development, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jonathan Abdullah’s parents were a great source of inspiration. His mother Theresa Josephine Lovelady instilled in him a passion for education. Despite being the son of poor sharecroppers from Arkansas, his father, John Madison Brown, earned a master’s degree in engineering and patented technology for a company that would eventually be bought out by AT&T. He retired with a net worth of $5 million. By the time his father died, however, he had lost it all.

For all his education and workplace accomplishments, Jonathan’s father lacked financial literacy. At FIU, Jonathan sought to understand why many black men lacked the financial resources to maintain themselves or their families. Few had set up reserves to cover the cost of emergencies like repairing their cars or damage in their homes. Others fell into the trap of hyper masculinity – making questionable purchases and taking on burdensome debt to show off their success or make it look like they were successful.

Armed with this knowledge, Jonathan is designing a series of workshops to improve the financial literacy of black men in Southern California, where he now lives. They are designed for small audiences of up to 15 people and address the underlying issues affecting black men, not just the basics of opening bank accounts or balancing a checkbook. As a banking executive, Jonathan is determined to end what he views as a multi-generational problem and help black men improve their financial literacy.

By Chrystian Tejedor
Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education