Racial Wealth Divide Initiative: One Year Later

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Director, Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, CFED
Naomi Camper, CFED Board Member & Executive Director of JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Office of Nonprofit Engagement

Racial wealth inequality is growing. We see it in data. We see it on the news. We see it in our communities. Ferguson, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Dallas . . . no matter where we live, we confront stories highlighting the consequences of a society divided deeply by race and opportunity. And we all struggle to find ways to make a difference.

A year ago, CFED launched the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, with initial funding through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

One year later, we're excited to share an update on how this initiative is making a difference.

First, the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative began "at home" by ensuring that all of CFED's work--programs, policy, advocacy, staffing and leadership--is examined through a equity lens. CFED is known for its rigorous, data-driven approach, so a key first step was strengthening racial inequality analysis in all of CFED's core programmatic and policy areas.

Second, the Initiative focused on launching specific projects to support and advance best practices in addressing racial wealth inequality. The Initiative's inaugural program, the African-American Asset-Building Initiative, has provided technical assistance and program support to five local nonprofits to create strong and effective financial capability programming in African-American communities. This past January, with an additional round of support from JPMorgan Chase & Co., CFED launched the Building High-Impact Nonprofits of Color project. Over the course of a year, 10 organizations of color across New Orleans and Miami will receive intensive organizational training, subject-matter support and network-building guidance so they can not only help their clients build wealth, but also effectively encourage community-wide solutions to racial wealth inequality. In 2017, we will expand the project to Baltimore and Chicago--building the capacity of approximately ten additional nonprofits led by people of color.

Third, the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative team has worked to identify and elevate local, state and national solutions that address the challenge of racial wealth inequality and to get the word out about these solutions to a wide audience. The Initiative launched the Race & Wealth podcast to promote discussion about issues and solutions related to racial economic inequality. To date, the Initiative has published 18 op-eds and presented on racial wealth inequality at eight conferences across the country, while Initiative Director Dedrick Asante-Muhammad co-authored a recent report, The Ever-Growing Gap, with CFED's Emanuel Nieves and Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie of the Institute for Policy Studies.

There is much to do to help bridge racial economic inequality and no one person or organization has all the answers. But one year into the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, we are optimistic about the impact we can have by strengthening nonprofits and advancing best practices and solutions to move our country forward.

To get more information on the Racial Wealth Divide or to stay up-to-date on the team's work, please sign up for the Race & Wealth newsletter.