In the United States, many have been taught that if you simply “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” with hard work and a goal, you will achieve financial success. While there is truth to this mindset, it excludes the role that race plays in the disempowerment of some and the advancement of others. It doesn’t allow for the generational impact that centuries of trauma, mental conditioning, and disenfranchisement have played out in the lives of countless of black and brown people around the globe.
Snapshot of the racial wealth gap according to Urban Institute:
- Wealth is determined by the value of assets owned by an individual, family, or business.
- With age, Whites grow in wealth at a faster rate than Blacks and Latinx.
- Blacks and Latinx have less in real estate assets and liquid retirement income.
- Income disparities lead to wealth disparities.
- Earning differences add up over an individual’s lifetime, widening the racial-financial gap.
- Blacks carry higher student loan debt than their White counterparts.
- Federal policies do not currently encourage asset-building by those experiencing poverty.
Since the racial wealth gap looks different across the country, it is important to have non-profit organizations on the ground to lead financial discussions and help make legislative decisions. Without intervention, African Americans and Latinx in the U.S. won’t match White wealth for centuries.
These five non-profits are doing their part to change that:
Prosperity Now – Led by President & CEO Gary Cunningham, this organization supports the belief that prosperity begins when individuals no longer struggle to make ends meet. Currently, it offers two initiatives meant to stem the tide. The African American Financial Capability Initiative, which funnels funds to six non-profits dedicated to the development of programs offering innovative, community-focused solutions. Building High Impact Non-Profits of Color supports the creation of high impact non-profits of color.
HBCU Seed Foundation – Provides mentorship, service, resources, and opportunities to small business owners who are affiliated with HBCUs. The foundation is headed by Executive Director Janna Peterson, who implements the organizational objective to raise and invest $10.7 million to change the entrepreneurial ecosystem in HBCUs.
The Chicago Community Trust – A fund that stewards the funds of donors and non-profits meant to create lasting change in the Chicago region. Its current focus is to use discretionary funds to dissolve racial wealth inequality. The organization, led by President & CEO Helene D. Gayle, has carried out its mission to improve the lives of residents for 100 years.
Inequality.org – Provides insight and information for readers around the world. The organization seeks to track inequality-related news and views and has been doing so for more than 20 years. The organization is a project of the Institute for Policy Studies headed by John Cavanagh.
Ford Foundation – For more than 80 years, the Ford Foundation has been an advocate for social justice and equality around the world. The organization, founded by Henry and Edsel Ford, invests in individuals, builds institutions, and supports new ideas meant to inspire social change.
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