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Advancing Economic Opportunity in Austin
By Lucy Weberlein / March 5, 2019 /   Loading Disqus...

Last month the Foundation convened nonprofit, local government and philanthropic leaders for a conversation on the wealth divide in Austin following the release of a new report, in partnership with Prosperity Now and JPMorgan Chase.

We were joined by Jeremie Greer, vice president of policy & research at Prosperity Now, Kazique Prince, senior policy advisor and education coordinator at the City of Austin; Yvette Ruiz, vice president of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan Chase; special guest Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence of PolicyLink; as well as leadership from Huston-Tillotson University for a conversation surrounding the data from Prosperity Now's latest profile, Racial Wealth Divide in Austin.

Austin is among the first Texas cities to pursue this data, which presents the economic inequalities in local communities and nationwide. The outcome of this report is to share the challenges of economic inequality and create space for our community to start conversations and identify opportunities to enact practices and policies that better address this national challenge.

  • Austin's thriving economy and population growth has not generated prosperity for everyone
  • Black and Latino homes are valued $150K less than White household homes
  • Over half of households of color in Austin are experiencing liquid asset poverty*

*Liquid asset poverty is a data metric developed by Prosperity Now, which measures whether or not a household has enough savings to replace income at the poverty level for 3 months - $6,275 for a family of four in 2018 -  if they experience a sudden job loss, medical emergency or other financial crisis.

"There are real people behind this data," Greer said, pressing those reading the report to remember. The data is striking, but the stories supporting the numbers are what drive this work.

Blackwell said it best in her conclusion on the importance of closing the racial wealth divide. "Wealth for what? It's so that if someone in your family gets sick, you don't go bankrupt trying to get them help."

The discussion does not end here. This profile serves as a resource for continued conversations on one of the most pressing concerns in our community. Download the full Racial Wealth Divide in Austin profile here.

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