An emerging initiative to address inequality in our region.
Addressing the persistent racial wealth gap is perhaps one of the most important levers to advancing racial equity.
For centuries, systemic racism and oppression deliberately codified through policy and advanced in practice has prevented Black people and people of color from realizing their full potential for wealth creation in America. At the heart of centering racial equity is a recognition that we must address systems that have limited the creation of wealth in these communities. To do this, we are expanding the Barr Foundation’s grantmaking to organizations working to advance racial wealth equity in Greater Boston.
Our working definition of “racial wealth equity” is that an individual’s race does not predict capacity to deal with financial adversity or take advantage of economic opportunities, including those related to home ownership, business ownership, or other economic factors contributing to asset accumulation and wealth.
We aspire to a world where racial wealth equity is commonplace, and we believe that supporting activities to close racial wealth gaps in Greater Boston will help move toward this larger, ambitious vision. At the same time, we acknowledge that this vision will require concerted effort across many sectors. We see an important opportunity to help develop common language, facilitate collaboration, and catalyze steps toward coalition and collective action in Greater Boston.
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We estimate our 2022 grantmaking focused on racial wealth equity will be $15-20 million in 2022, allocated across a group of nonprofit organizations that have been deeply committed and engaged in addressing this issue.
Our strategy is three pronged. We will:
Empower leaders, organizations, and institutions through operating support to advance their agendas.
Engage in cohort-based convenings to share knowledge, learnings, and data to inform our ongoing efforts.
Elevate and reframe narratives in the public sphere, including using Barr’s platform to connect, influence, and partner with other funders on these issues, and explore opportunities to use our own voice to inform and advance racial wealth equity efforts.
Grants to Date
As of June 16, 2022, we have awarded $6.75 million in initial grants to the following organizations:
Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Inc.
$1,500,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.
Boston Impact Initiative Fund
$1,000,000 over 36 months to provide general operating support.
King Boston (A program of the Boston Foundation)
$1,000,000 over 36 months to provide core support to its King Boston program.
Visible Hands (Fiscally Sponsored by Possibility Labs dba Open Possibilities)
$1,000,000 over 36 months to support Visible Hands’ Boston educational programming.
Lawyers for Civil Rights, Inc.
$750,000 over 36 months to support capacity to monitor policy issues related to racial wealth equity in Greater Boston as well as additional capacity to provide legal infrastructure to organizations within the racial wealth equity ecosystem.
Foundation for Business Equity, Inc.
$1,500,000 over 36 months to support community and economic development programming.
Wealth of Two Nations
2022 report by The National Bureau of Economic Research
New research on the U.S. racial wealth gap with historical context post-1860.
The Color of Wealth in Boston
2015 report by Duke University, The New School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Eliminating the Black-White Wealth Gap Is a Generational Challenge
2021 report by The Center for American Progress
Closing the racial wealth gap is a generational challenge that requires new yet doable policies.
Examining the Black-white wealth gap
2020 article by Brookings
Just how large and persistent are these racial wealth gaps?
Boston's Booming... But For Whom?
2018 report from Boston Indicators
This report tells a high-level story of how Boston's economy is performing, looking specifically at trends in economic mobility and income inequality.
Boston Globe Spotlight Series
2017 reporting by the Boston Globe
That was no typo: The median net worth of black Bostonians really is $8