Stacie Whisonant is a social innovator, financial literacy advocate, and staunch proponent of educational equity. As founder and CEO of the DC-based fintech company Pay Your Tuition™ (PYT Funds, Inc.), Stacie’s made it her life’s work to disrupt the finance industry and offer a solution to the country’s student loan crisis. By connecting students with a platform that allows them to crowdfund, pursue philanthropic dollars, and use data science to reduce the burden of student loan debt, PYT Funds, Inc is bridging the gap to higher education for families across the US. In preparation for battle with the $1.6 trillion national student debt crisis, Stacie spent 13 years in the financial services industry utilizing her SEC license to manage mortgages, structured settlements, and annuities for both specialty finance companies and the world’s largest international banking and financial services organization—HSBC. Stacie is also a military veteran, having served eight years as a United States Army Reservist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Management from Longwood University. By entering in the sports wagering innovation industry, Stacie is excited to challenge herself to conquer another sector of the financial services industry. Stacie has risen to the top of every other field in the financial sector, and this represents her final progression. When she reaches the top of this industry, Stacie intends to put her profits back into closing the gaps and breaking down the barriers in this country. As a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, Stacie’s vision is grounded in service, and she is determined to use her resources to empower underserved communities with financial literacy. She believes everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education without digging a financial hole that could take a lifetime to escape. African Americans still represent the most underutilized group in our country. By founding All Bets, Stacie is progressing in her mission to continue closing gaps, and while she intends to break through barriers in all industries, Stacie is particularly passionate about the education gap. Historically, the African American Community has been presented with numerous barriers in attaining educational equality. Through education, the African American Community will grow more economically empowered. Malcolm X once said: “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Stacie joined the Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) in 2018 as the NextGen Innovation Team Leader, and she immediately set to work creating a hub for federal employees to incubate solutions that address the nation’s growing student loan figure. The FSA IDEA Lab is positioned to Innovate, Design, Execute, and Award from within the agency with lasting impact on higher education funding. Channeling her drive to further explore partnerships between the private and public sectors to achieve scaled outcomes more efficiently, Stacie earned a certificate in Social Impact Partnership Design from Georgetown University. Additional recognitions: 2016 Halcyon Incubator Fellow, 2018 Bertelsmann Foundation Fellow, Innovate Finance 2017 Women in Fintech Powerlist, PYT Funds is also a notable winner of the Partnership Fund of New York City FinTech Innovation Lab.