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Lashea Reaves

Executive Director, 8 Cents in a Jar, Inc

Success stories often originate from challenging circumstances, illustrating the impact of resilience and determination. Lashea Reaves, the founder and executive director of 8 Cents in a Jar, Inc., embodies this principle. Through her journey of overcoming hardship and financial struggle, Lashea has carved out a path to personal success and has dedicated herself to empowering future generations with the tools they need to achieve financial independence.

Lashea resides in the beautiful city of Orlando, FL, and currently works as a Senior Vice President in the financial services industry. In 2007, she graduated from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a minor in Economics. Currently, Lashea is engaged in her community as a member of the Orlando Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc and previously assisted the Central Florida Urban League Young Professionals.

Lashea’s remarkable achievements led to an in-depth interview with VBD Magazine. From discussing her pivotal role in financial literacy for youths to shedding light on her community impact initiatives, Lashea shares candid insights and inspiring anecdotes. Her ability to articulate her experiences and vision underscores her position as a leader in her field.


Growing up below the poverty line in Riviera Beach, Florida, Lashea’s story begins with unimaginable loss at the tender age of 14 when her mother passed away due to hospital negligence, leaving her father to care for four daughters. Despite winning a substantial settlement from a malpractice lawsuit, financial stability remained elusive, and the family found themselves back in poverty within two years. The challenges only multiplied as Lashea became a single mother at 19, navigating college while raising her daughter and eventually adopting her younger sister after her father’s passing.

Despite facing seemingly insurmountable odds, Lashea refused to be defined by her circumstances. Lashea’s resilience was tested further during her college years at Florida A&M University as she navigated the challenges of homelessness and financial instability. “I was a college student deep in sorrow and a domestic violence survivor struggling to provide a decent life for my young family,” she reflects. During that period, she had a pivotal realization: the key to breaking free from the cycle of poverty lay in financial literacy.

Working multiple jobs while pursuing her degree, Lashea immersed herself in personal finance, determined to create a better life for herself and her family. “After working three jobs in college and becoming a financial junkie, I purchased my first home as a graduation gift. For the first time in my life, I was no longer a recipient of public assistance,” says Lashea.


Armed with the knowledge and experience gained through her journey, Reaves founded the nonprofit 8 Cents in a Jar, Inc. with a simple yet profound mission: to provide young people with the financial education and resources they need to thrive. Lashea’s vision extends beyond just teaching financial literacy; it’s about instilling a mindset of empowerment and possibility. Drawing from her struggles and triumphs, she established a comprehensive program to teach students the fundamentals of saving, investing, and building wealth, regardless of their socioeconomic background.

“I created 8 Cents in a Jar because of the financial lessons I learned, which saved my life,” Lashea explains. “I realized that the only limitations in life are the ones we place on ourselves. At 8 Cents in a Jar, we want to ensure you have the tools to be financially independent and thrive. We’re creating first-generation millionaires.”

Through workshops, programs, and mentorship initiatives, 8 Cents in a Jar equips students with the skills and knowledge needed for economic mobility. Lashea emphasizes the importance of instilling financial discipline and planning from a young age. “If any student is looking to get rich quickly, then we are not the organization for them,” says Lashea. “We emphasize slow and steady progress, saving money, acquiring assets, and making informed investment decisions.”

To read more about Lashea Reaves, visit Subscribe to VBD Magazine's April 2024 Issue (Free).

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Photo Credit: 8 Cents in a Jar



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