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Jan 31, 2017

Nearly 65% of Chicago families of Color Lack the Savings to Sustain a Job Loss or Other Emergency

New report calls for greater investment to address the city's racial wealth divide


Contact: Amy Saltzman, 301-656-0348 | Sean Luechtefeld, 202-207-0143

Chicago -- A new report from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) reveals a troubling racial wealth gap in Chicago. The Racial Wealth Divide in Chicago finds that 65% of households of color are "liquid asset poor," meaning they do not have enough savings to sustain themselves at the poverty level for just three months if faced with a sudden job loss, medical emergency or other income disruption. That compares to 28% of White households, according to the report.

Additionally, the report finds that households of color in Chicago are three times more likely to be unemployed and three times more likely to live in poverty. The greatest disparities are between White and Black households. The median income among Black households is $30,303, compared to $70,960 for White households, $56,373 for Asian families and $41,188 for Latino households.

With the release of the report, CFED's Racial Wealth Divide Initiative is joining with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy to announce the launch of the second phase of the Building High Impact Nonprofits of Color project, which will help strengthen the capacity of local nonprofits to expand economic opportunity in Chicago and across the country.

"We will be working in Chicago to build the capacity of local nonprofits led by people of color serving people of color, as these organizations are on the frontlines of addressing the most pressing needs of underserved Chicagoans," said Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at CFED.

JPMorgan Chase provided financial support to CFED to develop the report and conduct trainings to equip more than 20 organizations to launch, expand or improve wealth-building initiatives for communities of color nationwide.

"CFED's deep commitment to addressing racial wealth inequality is demonstrated by the quality of its work in this area. Progress requires a strong infrastructure of local, trusted nonprofit leaders of color who have the resources to take on this difficult issue. It is a privilege to support both CFED and this cohort of incredible organizations," said Naomi Camper, head of JPMorgan Chase's Office of Nonprofit Engagement.

Eleven nonprofits were competitively selected in two cities -- Chicago and Baltimore -- to participate in the initial phase of the project. In Chicago, the selected nonprofits include Chinese Mutual Aid Association, Gads Hill Center, Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, North Lawndale Employment Network and Spanish Coalition for Housing. In Baltimore, the selected nonprofits include Bon Secours Community Works, Center for Urban Families, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Inc., Latino Economic Development Center, Muse 360 Arts and Urban Alliance. These organizations join cohorts in Miami and New Orleans, the two cities that were part of the initial phase of the project.

Some of the report's other key findings include:

  • A third of Black households and 27% of Latino households in Chicago have zero net worth, compared with 15% of White households.
  • The average value of Black-owned businesses is $47,246, compared to $571,419 for White-owned businesses.
  • Rent is the largest expense for 62.9% of Black households in Chicago, 56.4% of Latino households, 48.3% of Asian households, and 41.6% of White households.

For more information on CFED's Racial Wealth Divide Initiative, click here.


CFED's work makes it possible for millions of people to achieve financial security and contribute to an opportunity economy. We scale innovative practical solutions that empower low- and moderate-income people to build wealth. We drive responsive policy change at all levels of government. We support the efforts of community leaders across the country to advance economic opportunity for all. Established in 1979 as the Corporation for Enterprise Development, CFED works nationally and internationally through its offices in Washington, D.C.; Durham, North Carolina, and San Francisco, California.

Copyright © 2017 CFED Corporation for Enterprise Development 1200 G Street, NW Suite 400 Washington, DC 20005 202.408.9788

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