ALC Session Spotlight: Racial Wealth Inequality

In just five weeks, 1,400 asset builders will descend on Washington for the 2016 Assets Learning Conference. Over the next week, we'll be highlighting several of the 80+ sessions from which attendees will have to choose. If you want to get in on the action and participate in these sessions, it's not too late! Register for the ALC by Friday, September 2 to guarantee your seat at the table and save $100!

If you're interested in solving racial wealth inequality, here's your personalized ALC agenda:

  • Bridging Economic Inequality with the Racial Wealth Audit (Wednesday, September 28, 10:45 am)
    The Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University, along with Demos and Prosperity Now, are developing a racial wealth audit that assesses which asset-building policies will have the greatest effect on bridging racial economic inequality. Experts in this session will discuss design features of policies that affect racial wealth inequality and the importance of a racial wealth audit for developing the best possible policies to create opportunity for all.
  • Creating Opportunity and Financial Well-Being in Native Communities (Wednesday, September 28, 10:45 am)
    This session will explore the challenges/obstacles to building financial well-being in Native communities. Participants in this session will hear from experts about programs, strategies and solutions that are building financial well-being in Indian Country and will have the chance to engage in discussions about how to create long-term, scalable opportunities to build financial well-being and economic opportunity.
  • Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom: Nurturing Racial Equity in Our Networks and Nonprofits (Wednesday, September 28, 10:45 am)
    How can nonprofits take on the racial leadership gap and the racial wealth divide within our own sector? How can grassroots community-based organizations led by people of color gain access to and influence the asset-building field? How can organizations and funders deepen their commitment to racial equity internally and within their coalitions? In this session, we will share findings from Building Movement Project's 2016 Nonprofits, Leadership & Race Survey. We'll explore how organizations can advance the inclusion of people of color in our sector though strategic hiring, mentoring and leadership development. We'll discuss strategies and best practices for funders and coalitions to increase influence and access for organizations led by people of color, and for building internal opportunities for employees of color within our own organizations.
  • What Does It Take to Support African-American Financial Capability? (Wednesday, September 28, 10:45 am)
    Participants in this session will hear from African-American-led organizations that are working collaboratively in six communities to improve financial capability and inclusion. Panelists in this session will share information about the African-American Financial Capability Initiative, an exciting investment the Northwest Area Foundation is making to encourage collaboration, foster peer learning and support collective impact strategies.
  • Pennies on the Dollar: How Racial Wealth Inequality Factures the Nation, and Why We Must Act (Wednesday, September 28, noon)
    Despite the success of many asset-building programs and policies, the level of income and wealth inequality has increased to historic levels not seen since the Great Depression, and households of color are suffering most. This honest, thought-provoking conversation about addressing the racial wealth divide will feature a panel of leaders representing organizations of color.
  • Immigration and the Path to Financial Well-Being (Thursday, September 29, 10:15 am)
    Historically, immigrant communities across the US have struggled to be part of the financial mainstream and have lacked the resources to achieve full financial inclusion. In this session, experts and leaders in the field will focus on the programs and services their organizations are offering to alleviate challenges while highlighting their present and future work to boost financial well-being among immigrants. This session will also explore ways that innovative programs and state and federal policies can help immigrants get ahead.
  • Broadening the Tent: Engaging Communities of Color in Our Coalitions (Thursday, September 29, 10:15 am)
    This session will examine how engaging communities of color in coalition building can lead to positive outcomes that benefit diverse stakeholders. Practitioners will share their effective coalition-building strategies and practices at the national, state and local levels. Participants will have a chance to think about their own coalition-building challenges, including getting feedback and input on how to resolve these challenges.
  • Entrepreneurship and the Racial Wealth Divide: Challenges and Opportunities for Black-Owned Business in the South (Thursday, September 29, 10:15 am)
    African-American entrepreneurs in the South face a unique set of challenges as they work to transform their businesses into assets for themselves and their communities. Prior research suggests that cash flow difficulties are a particular challenge for low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs and that the greatest disparities in business outcomes are experienced by African-American entrepreneurs in the South. The racial wealth divide puts African-American entrepreneurs in an even more precarious financial position from the beginning. This session highlights new research drawn from conversations with practitioners in 9 states and in-depth interviews with 30 African-American entrepreneurs in North Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi about the underlying drivers of cash flow inconsistency. Panelists and participants will share their reactions to these findings and consider their implications for program, policy and service-oriented solutions that might help entrepreneurs achieve financial security through business ownership. This session is sponsored by Capital One.
  • Race and Homeownership: How Housing Contributes to the Racial Wealth Divide, and What Should be Done about It (Friday, September 30, 10:15 am)
    Housing is the single greatest contributor to the racial wealth divide in this country, and this session will explore what can be done to create more parity in this space. Discussions will include how we got here (what policies produced the divide historically) and what the housing policy landscape looks like today, including how it helps or exacerbates racial wealth disparity. This session will also explore what needs to be done in the future to reduce racial wealth inequality.
  • Closing the Women's Wealth Gap (Friday, September 30, 11:45 am)
    This panel discussion will focus on the causes and effects of the women's wealth gap, with a focus on emerging policy and practical strategies to narrow the gap by expanding savings and investment opportunities for low-income women and women of color.
  • Closing Plenary: The Price of Hope (Friday, September 30, 1 pm)
    Our closing plenary, The Price of Hope, will reflect on all that has been shared and discussed over the previous three days, and leave us with a sense of renewed direction and purpose. The plenary will feature a performance and remarks from actor Anna Deavere Smith, whose recent efforts to document the "poverty to prison" pipeline etch into sharp relief the urgency and importance of creating pathways to prosperity for all children and families. In this final session, leaders from some of the nation's most respected foundations and public agencies will share their vision for promoting equality and financial security for all U.S. families, including highlighting the unique role philanthropic institutions play in advancing prosperity for all.

These are just a small sampling of all this year's ALC has to offer. Check out the full agenda here.

We hope to see you in Washington, DC, September 28-30! Learn more and register today at

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