Though we may be a relative minority in this country, African-Americans have the spending power of a small nation. A recent report by Nielsen, a consumer analytics company, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) predicts that in 2015, that buying power will amount to $1.1 trillion; at that point, we would be the equivalent of the 16th richest nation in the world. Currently 33 percent of us own smart phones, 23.9 million of us use the Internet and the percentage of us attending college or earning a degree has increased to 44 percent for men and 53 percent for women—stats also found in the report. Released on Sept. 22 at the 41st Annual Legislative Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Conference, the report also brings light on the need for positive messages by companies and the need to invest within the community. Scholars and economists have long waned about the perpetuation of spending money the minute it’s made in African-American homes, so are we really surprised by the numbers? Black money leaves Black hands almost as soon as it gets there, so how powerful are our dollars? And who benefits?  How can we leverage our spending power to make our communities better?