Insights

2021: Coalitions for Equity in Wealth Policy Leverages Efforts to Address Inequity

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The Chicago Community Trust launched the Coalitions for Equity in Wealth Policy funding strategy in 2020 just prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic’s resulting economic impacts took hold across the globe, country, state, and Chicago region and laid bare the very economic disparities in communities of color the Trust intended to address through this funding strategy. It also dramatically shifted the policy climate and continues to challenge us all to address the profound and acute impact of the health, economic, and racial justice crises most felt by residents of color while seizing on the opportunities for structural change, particularly as we move to shape a more equitable economic recovery.

In 2020, the Trust funded 11 organizations that are involved in nine established policy coalitions with demonstrated track records of advancing equitable wealth and economic justice reforms. Applicants who received funding from the Trust for the 2020 Coalitions for Equity in Wealth Policy grant cycle were all renewed for a second year given their tremendous work and accomplishments during what was one of the most challenging and active policy reform years we have seen in our lifetime.

We saw many successes advanced in part because of the work of these coalitions. There was the passage of the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), part of the Illinois Black Caucus’ economic pillar and signed by Governor Pritzker. Alongside policies that seed wealth such as the CRA, our coalition partners have also successfully advocated to end harmful predatory policies. In March 2021, the governor signed important reforms like the elimination of driver’s license suspensions due to inability to pay parking tickets in the License to Work Act, which will reinstate up to 500,000 licenses across the state, removing a significant barrier to employment for those residents. We also saw the capping of the payday loan lending rate in the Predatory Loan Prevention Act to 36 percent, a significant reduction from the previous average of 316 percent.

We’re happy to see policies that promote wealth building, curb extractive practices and support community driven investment gain steam and become a reality in Illinois. The sooner we sign these laws into policies the faster we will close the racial and ethnic wealth gap and see the benefits of a stronger, more equitable economy for everyone.

In 2021, we set out to support policy efforts to build household and community wealth in three areas.

  1. Increasing Income and Postsecondary Education Success: Coalitions advancing these issues include the Illinois Higher Education Network, Equity Working Group for Black Student Success, Illinois Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition, Illinois Skills for Good Jobs Agenda, Illinois Paid Sick Days Coalition, Illinois Cash Coalition, Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition, and Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund/Making Earned Income Work Coalition.
  2. Growing Assets and Reducing Debt, Fines and Fees: Coalitions advancing these issues include the Housing Choice Voucher Working Group, Housing Policy Task Force and its Appraisal Equity and Lending Equity working groups, Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, CRA Coalition, Payday Lending Coalition, Transit Table, Fines, Fees and Access Collaborative, and Fighting for Affordable Utilities Coalition.
  3. Catalyzing Neighborhood Investment: Coalitions advancing these issues include the Transportation Equity Network, Campaign for Transit Justice, and City of Chicago Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) Working Group.

The Trust’s Coalitions for Equity in Wealth Policy Request for Proposals was designed to recognize the various roles coalition members need to play towards contributing to strong and effective policy coalitions and effective policy change efforts, whether that be community organizing and leadership development, communications, research, legislative engagement, legal and policy expertise, and coalition leadership and staffing.

The Trust is proud to work with and support nine new organizations that have advocated for years for the kinds of policy changes that will increase economic prosperity for Black and Latinx households. These new Trust-supported organizations expand the Coalitions grant recipient cohort to 20 high impact organizations that work in and across more than 21 active policy coalitions. Each organization is highly valued in the field and within the coalitions to which they belong.

 

CENTER FOR NEIGHBORHOOD TECHNOLOGY (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $150,000
Coalition Participation: Transportation Equity Network (TEN), Elevated Chicago, and Campaign for Transit Justice

CHICAGO AREA FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE (First Year)
General Operating Grant: $75,000
Coalition Participation: Housing Choice Voucher Working Group

CHICAGO JOBS COUNCIL (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $125,000
Coalition Participation: Transit Table, Illinois Skills for Good Jobs Agenda, Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition

CHICAGO REHABILITATION NETWORK (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $60,000
Coalition Participation: Appraisal Equity Working Group

CHICAGO URBAN LEAGUE (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $95,000
Coalition Partnership: Transit Table, Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, Payday Lending Coalition, Housing Policy Roundtable, and CRA Coalition

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING AND FAMILY ISSUES (COFI) (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $125,000
Coalition Participation: Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, Transit Table, Fines, Fees and Access Collaborative, Fighting for Affordable Utilities Coalition, and Cost of Living Refund Coalition

ECONOMIC SECURITY FOR ILLINOIS (ESIL) (Renewal)
Project Specific Grant: $150,000
Coalition Partnership: Illinois Cash Coalition and Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition

ELEVATED CHICAGO (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $125,000
Coalition Participation: City of Chicago Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) Working Group, Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge, and Convergence Partnership

Housing Choice Partners (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $50,000
Coalition Participation: Housing Choice Voucher Working Group

HEARTLAND ALLIANCE FOR HUMAN NEEDS & HUMAN RIGHTS (Renewal)
Project Grant: $150,000
Coalition Partnership: Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, Transit Table, and Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition

HOUSING ACTION ILLINOIS (HAI) (Renewal)
Project Specific Grant: $100,000
Coalition Participation: CRA Coalition

ILLINOIS COALITION FOR IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEE RIGHTS (ICIRR) (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $120,000
Coalition Participation: Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition

ILLINOIS PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP EDUCATION FUND (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $75,000
Coalition Participation: Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition, Illinois Payday Lending Coalition, Fighting for Affordable Utilities Coalition, Consumer Advocates Table

NEIGHBORHOOD HOUSING SERVICES OF CHICAGO (NHS) (First Year)
Project Specific Grant: $80,000
Coalition Participation: Housing Policy Task Force, Appraisal Equity Working Group, and Lending Equity Working Group

ROGER BALDWIN FOUNDATION OF ACLU INC. (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $50,000
Coalition Participation: Transit Table and Fines and Fees Coalition

SHRIVER CENTER ON POVERTY LAW (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $150,000
Coalition Participation: Transit Table, Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition, Housing Policy Roundtable, Illinois Domestic Workers Coalition, and Responsible Budget Coalition

SMALL BUSINESS MAJORITY (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $75,000
Coalition Participation: CRA Coalition, Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, and Illinois Cost-of-Living Refund Coalition

WOMEN EMPLOYED (First Year)
General Operating Grant: $150,000
Coalition Participation: Illinois Paid Sick Days Coalition, Illinois Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition, Equity Working Group for Black Student Access and Success, Family Values at Work, and Illinois Higher Education Network

WOODSTOCK INSTITUTE (Renewal)
General Operating Grant: $150,000
Coalition Participation: CRA Coalition, Payday Lending Coalition, Financial Inclusion for All Illinois, Transit Table, and Housing Policy Roundtable

YOUNG INVINCIBLES (First Year)
General Operating Grant: $75,000
Coalition Participation: Illinois Higher Education Network