Publication Date

November 2010

Author(s)

Jess Dorrance, Tim Lohrentz

Client/Funder

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Introduction

The economic and foreclosure crisis has highlighted the alarming gap in wealth and assets between people of color and whites in the United States. Research has shown that the racial wealth gap, which exists independently of the income gap, was 16 cents to the dollar between people of color and whites in 2007, and has since widened significantly due to the recent and ongoing foreclosure crisis. Policy makers have begun to realize that closing the wealth gap is even more important than addressing the income gap as a way to end poverty and create an equitable society.

The Insight Center for Community Economic Development was asked by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation (ZSR) to study strategies to overcome the wealth gap that could be used by ZSR locally in North Carolina. Researchers found few, if any, examples of initiatives or organizations that were deliberately attempting to overcome or reduce the racial or gender wealth gaps at the local level. Nor did they find research or outcome data on how effective various asset building strategies may at reducing the wealth gaps. Instead, they began with a framework of principles to overcome the wealth gap and move on to strategies and practices.

This report describes an innovative framework and set of strategies the team developed to help close racial and gender wealth gaps.