By Robert Hansen | OBSERVER Correspondent
The City of Sacramento has received a $75,000 grant that focuses on racial wealth equity, specifically in the African American communities.
Sacramento is among eight new cities and counties participating in the CityStart initiative with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to focus on addressing wealth equity, according to a city press release.
Lynette Hall, the city’s community engagement manager, said the grant, received in April from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, will fund creation of a visual project that educates people about racist laws, policies and regulations that helped boost white wealth while systematically and intentionally blocking Black wealth.
Hall wants to see the city create a visual documentation of the historical oppression of building wealth that African Americans have struggled with.
“You will be able to visually see how redlining, Federal Housing Administration loans and the G.I. Bill limited where African Americans could buy homes,” Hall said. “I want it on the City of Sacramento’s website. I want it in our museum so people can really identify what that is.”
Hall cited as an example the construction of Highway 99 through Oak Park in the 1960s, which divided the neighborhood and cut off access to many jobs.
To address the gaps in financial wealth, banking needs to be addressed now, Hall said. Partners from the CFE Fund in New York are coming to Sacramento in late June, she added, to hold multiple stakeholder meetings, one of which specifically addresses banking.
“If we can’t get banks to develop policies that allow for equitable access for African Americans, it defeats the purpose,” Hall said. “We will be having a conversation with our local banks too.”
The Greenwood Initiative aspires to accelerate the pace of Black wealth accumulation with the design of a financial empowerment blueprint identifying the financial needs of Black residents.
“This grant will help us continue building stronger partnerships … as we develop a strategic blueprint together to identify and address key challenges to building wealth and financial stability for our Black community,” Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in the release.
Sacramento joins 32 other cities and counties that have completed the CityStart CityStart financial empowerment blueprints.
Not every city has the same plans on how to use the money.
Leon County in Florida is part of the fifth cohort of CityStart partners for the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund overall and the second to focus its blueprints on racial wealth equity strategies.
“This competitive nationwide grant highlights the county’s continuous efforts to improve our community’s economic vitality, while also investing in the growth of our neighborhoods and families,” Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long said in a press release.
According to a spokesperson, Leon County will hold a financial empowerment summit in the fall to enhance collaboration and maximize efforts to spur economic growth in neighborhoods in Tallahassee-Leon County that have historically experienced racial inequities.
The grant will go towards the launch of Bank On Tallahassee to increase access to financial institutions and capital to low-income residents and neighborhoods, the spokesperson said.
“The lasting impact of systemic inequities in our economies and financial system is glaring, with the typical Black family holding one-eighth of the wealth of the typical white family. Without immediate and innovative interventions, Black people will continue to have less economic power and fewer opportunities to thrive,” Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads the Greenwood Initiative, said in a statement. “Local investments like this one are needed to move towards racial wealth equity.”