Winter 2021 Webinar Recap: Strategies to Close the Racial & Ethnic Wealth Gap

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Over late fall 2020 and early winter 2021, The Chicago Community Trust co-hosted a series of webinars to explore its strategies to close the racial and ethnic wealth gap at the household, neighborhood and community levels. The Trust also introduced Together We Rise: For an Equitable and Just Recovery at a panel discussion for the business community.

Below, you can watch full conversations from the series:

Together We Rise:
For An Equitable & Just Recovery

The economic impact of COVID-19 has been devastating to the entire Chicago region, from individual households to neighborhoods, to the business community. Yes, there is reason to believe the economy will eventually recover, as we have from past recessions. The question is, how. In past recoveries, we know that those most deeply affected by structural racism and entrenched segregation in our city and suburbs were still left behind.

Together We Rise: Why We All Win with an Equitable Recovery was a panel discussion to explore the region’s path forward to a just and equitable economic recovery. The conversation featured Gloria Castillo, director of Together We Rise: For An Equitable and Just Recovery, a multi-faceted initiative that will provide funding, encourage changes to business practices, and pursue policy reforms to ensure the region comes back from the impacts of COVID-19 better on the other side.


  • Gloria Castillo, Director, Together We Rise: For An Equitable and Just Recovery
  • David Doig, President, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives
  • Martin H. Nesbitt, Co-CEO, The Vistria Group
  • Anne Vela-Wagner, Executive Director, The Mars Wrigley Foundation

Hosted by The Executives’ Club of Chicago.
Moderated by Helene Gayle of The Chicago Community Trust.

Building Collective Power:
How to Mobilize the Black & Latinx Community to Advocate & Advance Their Civic Agendas

Creating conditions that lead to thriving Black and Latinx communities requires residents to be the architects – not passive recipients of economic and cultural resources that are allocated to their communities. Focused investments in resident-led agendas that are first acknowledged and then adopted by policymakers foster greater civic participation in underserved communities and shores up resident trust in the institutions that serve them.

This webinar focused on the need for, and strategies to achieve, a greater voice for people of color in the halls of power.


  • Cathy Cohen, Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago
  • Jawanza Malone, Executive Director, Wieboldt Foundation
  • Marc Morial, President, National Urban League
  • Cecilia Munoz, Vice President of Public Interest Technology & Local Initiatives, New America

Sponsored by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Welcome by Nykia Wright of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Moderated by Helene Gayle of The Chicago Community Trust.

Catalyzing Neighborhood Development:
How to Direct Public & Private Investment to Black & Latinx Neighborhoods to Scale

The conditions of a neighborhood affect the ability of a household to create wealth. Economic mobility is inextricably tied to proximity to job centers, transportation facilities and commercial enterprise, as well as quality-of-life necessities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, parks and cultural institutions.

This webinar focused on the need for, and strategies to spark, neighborhood investment that can create the necessary conditions and building blocks to make our communities and region places of opportunity for everyone.


  • Maurice Cox, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Planning & Development
  • Michael Fassnacht, Interim President & CEO, World Business Chicago
  • Robin Hacke, Executive Director, Center for Community Investment
  • Carlos Nelson, CEO, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation

Sponsored by World Business Chicago & WBEZ.
Moderated by Helene Gayle of The Chicago Community Trust.

Growing Household Wealth:
Identifying Effective Strategies in Black and Latinx Communities

While racial and ethnic income disparities are well known and reported, this only tells part of the story. In fact, it is wealth inequality that is at the core of the Chicago region’s most pressing challenges, from housing, to health disparities, to gun violence. This inequity is entrenched in racist systems that have been established for centuries that perpetuate unfairness, bias, discrimination and segregation. We will not be able to realize a vision of a thriving, equitable and connected region until we tackle this systemic issue and that must include growing wealth at the household level.

This webinar focused on how to build a foundation for people to understand the important role wealth inequity plays in everything from one’s life experience to the challenges that households, neighborhoods and our greater Chicago community are facing.


  • Horacio Mendez, President & CEO, Woodstock Institute
  • Shelley Stewart, Partner, McKinsey & Company

Hosted by The Economic Club of Chicago.
Moderated by Helene Gayle of The Chicago Community Trust.