It is now widely recognized that current racial economic gaps are the product of generations of both overtly racist public policies and more hidden biases embedded in choices, policies, and norms inside companies. The racial wealth gap is now so large that small incremental actions are not going to make up enough ground. Large, expansive, intense actions by every sector of our society is necessary.
The business community has a clear and present mandate to play a leading role in closing racial economic gaps in America. As a wealth generator, product designer and employer, corporate America has enormous leverage. There are few sectors of society that can move as much capital and change the future prospects of so many – but doing so will require more than traditional philanthropic corporate giving.
The public now expects business leaders to help solve our most important societal challenges. To tackle the racial wealth gap, business will have to bring to bear operational, systemic and financial choices to directly address the roots of inequality, without falling back on the need for ‘policy to come first’.
In the face of such high expectations and such a massive challenge, what should companies do? What should they prioritize? Here, we present a series of responses about what organizational leaders can – and should – be doing to drive change from within to address racial wealth gaps:
- Get capital flowing to Black, Latinx and Indigenous founders
- Use all of the tools available to address the racial wealth divide
- Reconstruct corporate accounting around what matters most
- Apply investment principles to bolster the effectiveness of corporate pledges
- Invest in Black communities
- Invest in Latinx communities
- Use collaborative inquiry to drive racial equity
Read the full article about the racial wealth gap by the Business and Society Program at The Aspen Institute.
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