Wealth –what you own minus what you owe– is critical to basic economic security and also creates economic opportunities. It is a nest egg to draw on during hard times. It acts as the fence between temporary setback and economic catastrophe that families have been building for generations. Wealth allows people to retire with dignity and security. Perhaps most importantly, wealth allows your children the freedom to dream big, work hard, and become all they truly can be.
The nation’s continuing economic recovery from the Great Recession shows why wealth is so important to the stability of households. Without even modest assets—such as land, savings and retirement accounts, homes, and small businesses—economic stability is built on a house of cards that quickly crumbles when income is cut or disrupted. Building wealth over a lifetime and then passing it to later generations is the most effective means to secure personal and family well-being and to increase community economic growth. Given the roles of intergenerational wealth transfer, and past and present barriers that have kept many families of color from building wealth, private action and market forces alone cannot be expected to address wide-scale racial wealth inequality. Public sector intervention is needed.
Insight works to advance strategies that build family and community assets and to ensure that public policies address racial economic disparities and create economic opportunity for all, regardless of race and ethnicity. Insight also reframes public policy debates to recognize the importance of wealth building.
Over the course of the initiative, we have embarked on five strategies to realize our vision and meet our longer term goal of creating the environment for the enactment of new wealth-related policies that are targeted and universal:
- Produce groundbreaking research that helps us better understand dimensions of the racial wealth gap to help inform policy and practice;
- Build and support an Experts of Color Network to inform policymaking to ensure asset policies reflect the leadership of people of color and are sensitive and respectful of diverse ethnic cultures;
- Implement a comprehensive and strategic media approach to educate the public about the racial wealth gap and reframe discourse on race and wealth;
- In conjunction with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, create the environment for policy development and advocacy to ensure policies reflect the needs of communities of color; and
- Increase the capacity of state coalitions to address the racial wealth gap by working with them to account for racial disparities in their asset building policy efforts.