The Economic Stimulus in Communities of Color: Impacts and Opportunities

The economic crisis has reached a pivotal moment. Not only are major financial institutions and insurance companies having to face the consequences of predatory lending and fiscal mismanagement, everyday people are losing their jobs, homes, and community resources. As the federal government’s disbursemeconomic_recovery1ent of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act begins to land into empty state government coffers, and cities across the nation are ramping up to access funds to pay for projects on hold, we would like to encourage folks in the nonprofit sector to prepare for this opportunity to influence the movement of resources into their communities.

This economic crisis has impacted low-income communities and communities of color and will continue to disproportionately burden these communities unless activists, advocates, and policy leaders are able to pressure state and federal leaders to invest in them. The numbers are staggering. In “The Preliminary Report of the Impact of the Economic Stimulus Plan on Communities of Color” by john powell from the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at Ohio State University, it is noted that:

• African American homeownership gains were reversed after 2004; they have reverted to 2000 levels.
• The Economic Policy Institute asserts that black and Hispanic unemployment could reach as high as 18.2% and 13.1% respectively in 2010 if a recovery package is not implemented. Both of these figures are more than twice the unemployment rate the groups experienced in 2007 (8.6% for blacks, 5.8% for Hispanics).
• Between 2000 and 2007, median black family incomes dropped 1.0% for all families (down 1.9% for single female-headed families; dropped 9.1% for single male-headed families; married couples saw a modest increase of 1.9% median income). The overall decline is the first in a business cycle of this length since WWII.

As a Foundation committed to social justice work, we want to make sure our grantees and partners are aware of the consequences and opportunities presented by the crisis. Attached please find links to resources that might support your work and inform your understanding of how this crisis impacts the communities you are working with.

john powell: “Preliminary Report of the Impact of the Economic Stimulus Plan on Communities of Color”

Maya Wiley: “Talking Points Economic and Housing Recovery for Everyone: Racial Equity and Prosperity

Northern California Grantmakers: 2009 Relevant Articles on Philanthropy, Nonprofits, & the Economic Crisis