Long Island Community Foundation Along with National and Local Donors Join Collaborative Charged with Closing the Racial Wealth Gap on Long Island

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Long Island Community Foundation Along with National and Local Donors Join Collaborative Charged with Closing the Racial Wealth Gap on Long Island

Melville, NY (February 27, 2020) – At a press conference this morning, the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF), along with top financial and philanthropic institutions announced the release of the results of a landscape study conducted by the Urban Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, as well as the launch of an RFP (request for proposals) for Long Island nonprofits to apply for planning grants funded by the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative.

In an effort to address deeply-rooted racial inequities on Long Island, LICF established the Long Island Racial Equity Donor Collaborative in 2018 to pool resources and develop a grantmaking strategy to address the economic inequities experienced by Long Island’s black residents highlighted in Policy Link’s and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s studies. This research revealed a $24 billion gap in the Long Island economy as a result of the racial income gap.  Critical issues were found with respect to the financial inclusion, credit access, and financial stability of Black Long Island residents. This research was vital to establishing the need for a coordinated and long-term program of work aimed at addressing these systemic inequities.

In the spring of 2019, the Collaborative – currently consisting of 10 local and national financial and philanthropic institutions and one community foundation: Apple Bank, BankUnited, BNB Bank, Capital One, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Long Island Community Foundation, M&T Bank, Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union, Surdna Foundation, and William E. & Maude S. Pritchard Charitable Trust – engaged the Urban Institute to aid in the creation of a high-impact funding strategy. The Collaborative’s work with Urban Institute included a review of the literature on the drivers of the racial wealth gap and identification of evidence-based strategies that increase incomes and build wealth, and a community-informed landscape scan that identified key organizations working on economic justice and financial inclusion, and significant capacity gaps on Long Island and potential assets upon which to build.

Key findings include:

  • There is underdeveloped capacity in the non-profit sector, especially in areas related to employment. There is a need for greater synergy and improved access for Black Long Islanders to workforce development and training opportunities.
  • Perceptions of Long Island as a prosperous place of high opportunity poses a barrier to the development of much needed policy and programmatic change.
  • Geographic issues inhibit collaboration, and/or there is duplication across programs. These challenges are exacerbated by infrastructure constraints and a lack of connectivity to national and state-level partners who can help improve the quality of programming.
  • Several programs and initiatives exist on Long Island towards improving financial security on Long Island, however, there are significant capacity constraints, a lack of population focus, and in some cases a lack of integration of those programs.

The Collaborative will support programs and projects that improve the lives of Black Long Islanders. Based on Urban Institute’s research, which included interviews with Long Island stakeholders, the Collaborative’s initial priorities are to support projects/programs that endeavor to increase the number of quality jobs, by creating a pipeline to careers with growth potential; and improve credit access through community credit health programs, for Black residents on LI. Through a competitive RFP process, eight six-month planning grants will be awarded in the 2nd quarter of 2020, and from that group of eight organizations, several implementation grants will be awarded in the 1st quarter of 2021...

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