Growing Household Wealth

Addressing the wealth gap at the household level by increasing incomes, building assets, and reducing debt.

People walk past a brick residential building.

Overview

Growing household wealth is about much more than income equality. It’s about leveraging opportunities over the course of a lifetime—from paying for a college education to buying a house and saving for retirement—that allow individuals and families to build assets, have financial security, and pass wealth along to the next generation.

The Opportunity 

Research shows that homeownership and entrepreneurship are the building blocks of wealth generation for households of color. In fact, homeownership is the single largest source of wealth for Black and Latinx families in the Chicago region, and the median net worth of Black entrepreneurs is 12 times that of peers who don’t own a business.

However, historically and to this day, people of color have encountered barriers to accessing the tools to become homeowners and business owners. To close the wealth gap at the household level, we must address the policies and practices that have expanded opportunities for white families to generate wealth while excluding Black and Latinx families.

Our Approach

The Trust’s Growing Household Wealth strategy is organized around this simple equation: income plus assets, minus debt, equals wealth.

How It Works

The racial and ethnic wealth gap is pervasive, affecting people across income and education levels. Recognizing how critical it is for families to stabilize their income—and that such stability often comes through educational attainment—the Trust supports organizations and initiatives that translate income, education, and work, into wealth. Some examples of this include affordable post-secondary options and entrepreneurship.

From redlining and contract buying to predatory lending, Chicago has a uniquely troubled history of perfecting discriminatory practices that prevent people of color from building wealth via homeownership and entrepreneurship. The Trust supports equitable opportunities for people of color to grow their own businesses and purchase and sustain homes as key tools for generating wealth.

Because communities of color lack access to capital, they’re often victims of predatory practices such as payday lending. Before recent Illinois legislation capped the payday lending rate at 36 percent, the average APR on a payday loan was 297 percent—a shockingly high rate that helped keep people of color trapped in debt cycles. The Trust supports efforts to regulate predatory lending through research, advocacy, and the promotion of safe alternative lending and banking products. We also support work to reform other inequitable policies, such as punitive municipal fines and fees.

  • The racial and ethnic wealth gap is pervasive, affecting people across income and education levels. Recognizing how critical it is for families to stabilize their income—and that such stability often comes through educational attainment—the Trust supports organizations and initiatives that translate income, education, and work, into wealth. Some examples of this include affordable post-secondary options and entrepreneurship.

  • From redlining and contract buying to predatory lending, Chicago has a uniquely troubled history of perfecting discriminatory practices that prevent people of color from building wealth via homeownership and entrepreneurship. The Trust supports equitable opportunities for people of color to grow their own businesses and purchase and sustain homes as key tools for generating wealth.

  • Because communities of color lack access to capital, they’re often victims of predatory practices such as payday lending. Before recent Illinois legislation capped the payday lending rate at 36 percent, the average APR on a payday loan was 297 percent—a shockingly high rate that helped keep people of color trapped in debt cycles. The Trust supports efforts to regulate predatory lending through research, advocacy, and the promotion of safe alternative lending and banking products. We also support work to reform other inequitable policies, such as punitive municipal fines and fees.

  • Growing Household Wealth

How You Can Take Action

Interested in learning more or partnering with us?

Please contact Shandra Richardson, Program Director for Strategic Initiatives, at srichardson@cct.org, or Adele Nandan, Interim Director of Resource Development, at anandan@cct.org.

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Our Team

  • Adam Engle

    Director of the Fund for Equitable Business Growth

    Adam Engle is the director of the Fund for Equitable Business Growth, a multi-funder collaborative that invests in a marketplace of services and products to…

  • Caleb Herod

    Program Manager

    Caleb Herod (he/his) is a program manager for the Growing Household Wealth strategy at The Chicago Community Trust. He manages efforts to support educational attainment,…

  • Lynnette McRae

    Program Director of Connecting Capital and Community

    Lynnette McRae serves as the director of the Connecting Capital and Community initiative (3C) at The Chicago Community Trust. In this role, she leads a…

  • Shandra Richardson

    Program Director for Strategic Initiatives

    Shandra Richardson is the program director for strategic initiatives at The Chicago Community Trust. In this role, she is responsible for driving and building on…

  • Matthew Shomo

    Impact Coordinator

    Matt Shomo (he/him) is the impact coordinator for the Growing Household Wealth strategy at The Chicago Community Trust. He helps support Growing Household Wealth’s diverse…

  • Wesley Walker

    Senior Director of Community Impact

    Wesley Walker is the senior director of community impact for the Growing Household Wealth portfolio at The Chicago Community Trust. He joined the Trust from…