Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Brooklyn, New York, to announce a new administration-wide effort that will bring together public, private and federal partners to “address economic disparities and accelerate economic opportunity in communities of color and other neglected,” according to a White House announcement.
What You Need to Know
Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Brooklyn, New York to announce a new public-private effort that aims to address persistent economic disparities in the United States.
According to a late Premiere 2021 of the Federal Reserve, black and Hispanic/Latino households earn only half as much as white households
The Biden-Harris administration will launch a new economic opportunity coalition that will, in part, “develop and deploy products that solve the challenges of getting resources where they’re needed most.”
Some of the companies that signed on to the coalition include Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, Google, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Netflix and PayPal.
Harris visited the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s first community economic development corporation, where she was introduced by President and CEO Blondel Pinnock, who noted the announcement’s symbolic location, saying that Bed-Stuy is “a of the most emblematic of our country, historically black neighborhoods”.
“From Shirley Chisholm to the Notorious BIG, the community has produced countless artists, activists and industry leaders,” he said.
Since its inception in 1967, the corporation has launched a series of programs aimed at closing the racial wealth gap in the United States by helping clients gain knowledge and resources on issues such as budgeting and credit repair, providing housing affordability and pathways to home ownership, connecting people to community jobs and more.
Harris herself called the company “a model of our nation’s capability,” and said the visit will serve to “show the people of our country what’s possible when you bring together people from all walks of life who understand the the capacity of communities, the talent. of communities, which is there, and it just requires a little bit of support.”
Thursday’s announcements aim to similarly address the nation’s persistent racial wealth gap. According to a late Premiere 2021 of the Federal Reserve, black and Hispanic/Latino households earn only half as much as white households, and also have only 15-20% more net wealth than their white counterparts.
The Fed also noted that the global wealth gap has “widened markedly over the past few decades.”
“There are still too many people in our nation who lack access to the capital and financial services they need to thrive,” Harris said Thursday. “And I believe that given the breadth of financial disparities in our nation, the public and private sectors must join forces to take on these challenges.”
To bridge the gap, the Biden-Harris administration will launch a new Economic Opportunity Coalition, a partnership of 21 corporations and three foundations, to coordinate cross-sector efforts that “develop and deploy products that solve the challenges of getting resources where most are needed and drive outcomes for meaningful action.”
Some of the major companies that signed on to the coalition include Bank of America, Capital One, Citi, Google, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Netflix and PayPal. The coalition has, so far, identified four areas of focus: investing in and strengthening community financial organizations; support entrepreneurship and minority businesses; improve financial health and literacy and address community wealth-creating infrastructure needs.
“Together, these organizations with us will invest tens of billions of dollars to provide capital to community lenders, to support entrepreneurship, particularly for women- and minority-owned businesses, and to expand access to financial services and create affordable housing and protect. affordable housing,” Harris said.
“In the coming months, our administration will work closely with all members of this coalition to ensure that we are maximizing the impact of every dollar that is spent,” he added.
Coalition members have already committed more than $3 billion in investments to both minority depository institutions and community development financial institutions, and at least six participating organizations will provide “technology and staff to CDFIs and MDIs through programs of subordination, pro-bono consulting and pro-technology pro-bono.”
The coalition has also agreed to purchase more than $6 billion in products and services from “diverse suppliers” with an initial investment of more than $500 million in black and Hispanic-owned equity funds.
“At Citi, we recognize that closing the racial wealth gap is imperative not only for communities but for businesses,” said Citi CEO Jane Fraser about the company’s involvement in the effort. “We need collective action from both the public and private sectors to address systemic socioeconomic issues and increase economic mobility.”
In addition to partnering with nearly two dozen companies, six government agencies (the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture and Small Business Administration) collectively agreed to pool and allocate resources in a way that addresses disparities in historically underserved communities.
The six agencies will form a new Interagency Community Investment Committee focused on expanding four specific efforts:
Agree on definitions and procedures for programs that will direct capital and other financial resources to underserved communities
Work together with local implementing partners to better deploy resources
Seeking flexibility, where possible, in deploying federal funds to “enhance impact and increase private capital support”
Identify additional opportunities to enhance technical assistance and other resources that support capital programs in underserved communities
“The ambition and aspiration to make dreams come true, including the aspiration and dream to start a business, own a home, get an education, is the energy and ambition that has always been the driving force of America moving forward,” Harris said Thursday.
“It creates jobs. Awaken innovation. It expands the economy and makes our nation more competitive,” he added. “But achieving that success requires a number of very specific things. And in particular, it requires access to capital.”