Supporting Small Businesses to Do Well and Do Good in the 21st Century

Overview

A thriving, inclusive economy depends on the success and growth of small businesses. Nearly half of all workers are employed at a small business; and businesses owned by women and people of color have created 1.3 million new jobs between 2007 and 2012. This brief looks at small businesses and the barriers they face in providing good jobs obstacles, as well as key strategies being implemented by various actors in the business development ecosystem—technical assistance providers, small-business lenders and investors, economic development agencies, business associations, and workforce and labor partners—to help small businesses get on the road to good jobs.

Employment Equity: Putting Georgia on the Path to Inclusive Prosperity

Overview

This brief describes why employment equity is critical to Georgia’s economic future and lays out a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and RegionalEquity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Partnership for Southern Equity.  See the detailed methodology and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Georgia."

Solving the Housing Crisis Is Key to Inclusive Prosperity in the Bay Area

Overview

This report presents new data and analyses that illustrate how rising rents and stagnant incomes are straining household budgets and stifling opportunity in the nine-county Bay Area, jeopardizing the region’s diversity, growth, and prosperity. The twin forces of a housing shortage — particularly affordable housing — and uneven wage growth have created a regional crisis that hinders opportunity, growth, and prosperity for families and businesses alike. Though the housing crisis is far-reaching, it has hit low-income communities of color the hardest. Considering people of color are driving population growth in the region, these racial inequities pose a serious threat to the Bay Area’s future. The report was developed as part of the Bay Area Equity Atlas, a partnership between PolicyLink, The San Francisco Foundation, and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity at the University of Southern California (PERE) that is working to create a regional platform designed to provide data and serve those who are seeking to advance solutions at a local and regional scale.

Inclusive Procurement And Contracting: Building a Field of Policy and Practice

Overview

This study, co-authored by Emerald Cities and PolicyLink, and generously supported by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, surveys the current landscape on inclusive procurement and contracting policies and practices in the infrastructure and construction industries. The goal was to specifically determine how to best position minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBEs) to effectively compete for large-scale construction projects in these industries. A successful inclusive procurement program of action is key not only to providing jobs, but also to closing the wealth gap needed to secure the well-being and future of children, families, and the regions in which they live.

This report details the rationale for inclusive practices in this industry and includes historical and current equitable development policies and trends. It also identifies challenges and best practices and sets forth recommendations for strengthening the field of practice. The report provides insight into inclusive procurement and contracting policies within the energy, water, transportation, health, education, and public housing sectors. It also considers the field of practice in different geographic regions of the United States. Download executive summary here.

Claiming Our Power, Shaping Our Destiny

Overview

A Message from Angela Glover Blackwell (translated into Spanish here)
Distributed at Equity Summit 2018, April 11-13, 2018, Chicago

An excerpt:

The forces molding the future—demographic shifts, staggering inequality, economic and technological change, climate threats— are intensifying. The need is growing for action that fosters opportunity, shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and resilience. As the challenges mount and the political opposition stiffens, the ambitions of the equity movement must soar, not shrink. Now is the time to articulate bold intentions, set far reaching goals, formulate transformational ideas, and build alliances—including unlikely ones—to push those ideas forward. It is the moment to reclaim control of our agenda and our future.

Equity Summit 2018 Program

Overview

The Summit is a call to activists, organizers, and leaders to step into our power, activate our imaginations, and set the national agenda. That agenda will build on what’s been learned about advancing equity and justice and will push us to achieve the scale required for all to reach our full potential. 

See program for full agenda. (Last revised 03-21-18)
See program overview in Spanish here.

For Summit Attendees: Please download the Equity Summit App for latest program. There have key changes to a few sessions, including room changes, since 03-21-18.

Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America's Housing Challenges

Overview

From San Francisco, California to Flint, Michigan, the nation is facing an escalating housing crisis. Skyrocketing rents, inadequate infrastructure and stagnant wages are some of the barriers that are preventing millions of low-income Americans and communities of color from reaching their full potential. Healthy Communities of Opportunity: An Equity Blueprint to Address America’s Housing Challenges weaves together insights from the fields of healthcare, housing and economic security to outline a case for progressive, equity-focused policy.

Placing the contemporary housing crisis within the context of American Urban History, this report highlights key movements offering countermeasures to concentrated poverty, racial segregation, economic mobility and substandard housing, including:

  • Tying preventive health spending to housing interventions
  • Addressing housing and health equity in land use and resilience/sustainability planning in the built environment
  • Leveraging the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address health and equity outcomes
  • Building anti-displacement campaigns across local coalitions and national networks to gain increased tenant protections
  • Applying new investment tools to increase housing affordability

Healthy Communities of Opportunity suggests 10 equity housing policy priorities that together provide a strong platform to improve racial equity, health, climate, and economic opportunity outcomes.

Advancing Employment Equity in Alabama

Overview

850,000 of Alabama's working-age adults are economically insecure and struggling to find good jobs: jobs that pay enough to support a family, offer safe working conditions, and provide meaningful opportunities to move up the economic ladder. Advancing Employment Equity in Alabama describes why employment equity — when everyone who wants a job can find one — is critical to Alabama's economic future and offers a policy roadmap to achieve employment equity. It is based on data analysis and modeling of a "full-employment economy" as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Alabama Asset Building Coalition. With full employment for all, Alabama's economy would be $3.9 billion stronger every year. However, to realize these gains, state leaders must be willing to eliminate barriers to employment through efforts such as expanding public transportation options, banning the box on criminal background checks, and supporting the growth of minority- and women-owned business enterprises. This is the second of five briefs about employment equity in southern states co-produced by PolicyLink, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California, and local partners with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet "Employment Equity: The Path to a More Competitive Alabama."

Boosting Economic Growth in Mississippi through Employment Equity

Overview

While economic insecurity is a widespread challenge for an increasing number of Mississippians, women and people of color are disproportionately represented among the economically insecure. This brief highlights how employment equity is essential to the state's future. If full employment was achieved across all gender and racial groups, Mississippi's economy could be $2.5 billion stronger each year. Investing in women and in critical support systems for Mississippi’s workforce will disrupt Mississippi’s current pattern of economic exclusion and place the state on a course to greater prosperity for all. The report is the third of five briefs about employment equity in southern states based on data analysis and modeling of a “full-employment economy” (defined as when everyone who wants a job can find one), which was conducted by the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at the University of Southern California as well as policy research and focus groups conducted by PolicyLink and the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Download the report, detailed methodology, and fact sheet.

Race, Place, and Jobs: Reducing Employment Inequality in America's Metros

Overview

The latest brief from the National Equity Atlas team, Race, Place, and Jobs: Reducing Employment Inequality in America’s Metros, analyzes the relationship between racial and spatial inequality in employment across America’s largest 150 metropolitan regions. We find that in several regions with large racial gaps in employment such as Youngstown and Milwaukee, unemployed workers of color tend to live in a small number of neighborhoods. In these places, neighborhood-targeted workforce development and job access strategies have the potential to increase racial equity and reduce disparities at the regional level, building stronger and more inclusive regional economies.

An Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region

Overview

The 2017 Equity Profile of the Los Angeles Region, highlights the widening inequities in income, wealth, health and opportunity in Los Angeles County. This summary and full report was developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, and is supported by the Weingart Foundation.

The new report underscores that, over the past several decades, long-standing inequities in income, wealth, health, and opportunity have reached historic levels. And while many have been affected by this growing inequality, communities of color have felt the greatest pains as the economy has shifted and stagnated.
 
 

Jobs and Equity in the Urban Forest

Overview

A recent study, Jobs and Equity in the Urban Forest, showcases the small, but growing range of policies, programs, and investments that — like GreenSkills — are harnessing jobs in the urban forest to build opportunity within low-income communities and communities of color. The study is co-authored by Ecotrust, a Portland, Oregon, nonprofit that promotes environmentally sound economic development, and PolicyLink, in partnership with Portland green infrastructure contractor, Verde Landscape.

Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development

Overview

“Creating Change through Arts, Culture, and Equitable Development: A Policy and Practice Primer” highlights both promising and proven practices that demonstrate equity-focused arts and culture policies, strategies, and tools. The report describes the role of arts and culture across the nine sectors. Within each policy chart there are goals, policies, and implementation strategies that can help achieve communities of opportunity. 

Download EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Ending the Debt Trap: Strategies to Stop the Abuse of Court-Imposed Fines and Fees

Overview

A new brief from PolicyLink, looks at ways in which the use of fines and fees has expanded over time, the impact of these practices, and the inefficiency of these policies as a budget tool for local governments. The brief lifts up promising strategies that are currently being implemented across the country to ensure that judicial fines and fees do not contribute to burdensome debt for low-income communities and people of color — including a set of recommendations to help institutionalize reforms within local and state governments.

Transportation Matters: Closing the Chasm between Housing and Transportation to Foster Communities of Opportunity for All

Overview

"Transportation Matters: Closing the Chasm between Housing and Transportation to Foster Communities of Opportunity for All," by PolicyLink staff member Anita Cozart, appears in the American Bar Association’s Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Development Law, volume 25, issue no. 2, © 2017 American Bar Association. It examines the "chasm" that exists between the two sectors and what can be done to break down the barriers and create benefits and opportunities for all. Please note: This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

Fresno County at a Crossroads: Equity Is the Path to Health and Prosperity

Overview

Fresno is the nation’s top agricultural county, yet it struggles with slow growth, high unemployment, and an economy dominated by low-wage jobs and few pathways into the middle class. While communities of color account for 68 percent of the population — up from 38 percent in 1980 — the county’s racial inequities persist across all indicators of community health and well-being. This health equity and inclusive growth profile and accompanying policy brief were developed in partnership with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They provide unique data and actionable solutions for residents, advocates, funders, business leaders, and policymakers seeking to reduce racial inequities and build a stronger Fresno. Read the policy brief and the full profile.

Advancing Health Equity and Inclusive Growth in Fresno County (Profile)

Overview

Fresno is the nation’s top agricultural county, yet it struggles with slow growth, high unemployment, and an economy dominated by low-wage jobs and few pathways into the middle class. While communities of color account for 68 percent of the population — up from 38 percent in 1980 — the county’s racial inequities persist across all indicators of community health and well-being. This health equity and inclusive growth profile and accompanying policy brief were developed in partnership with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. They provide unique data and actionable solutions for residents, advocates, funders, business leaders, and policymakers seeking to reduce racial inequities and build a stronger Fresno. Read the policy brief and the full profile.

An Equity Profile of New Orleans

Overview

New Orleans’ incredible diversity can be a tremendous economic asset if people of color are fully included as workers, entrepreneurs, and innovators. However, while the city’s economy is showing signs of resurgence after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, rising inequality, stagnant wages, and persistent racial inequities place its long-term economic future at risk. This equity profile was developed with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support local community groups, elected officials, planners, business leaders, funders, and others working to build a stronger and more equitable city. Read the policy brief and the full profile.

An Equity Profile of Long Island

Overview

Long Island – defined as Nassau and Suffolk counties – is rapidly diversifying. Today, one in three Long Island residents is a person of color – up from roughly one in 10 residents in 1980. Black Long Islanders, who were largely excluded from the massive federally subsidized suburban development that characterizes Long Island, continue to face barriers to full social, economic, and political inclusion. This profile shows how persistent segregation and racial disparities in wealth, housing, educational attainment and many other areas is costing Long Island billions of dollars in potential economic growth each year. The accompanying policy brief provides a series of recommendations designed to close the racial wealth divide which would result in a major boost to Long Island’s economy. It was produced by PolicyLink and PERE, with lead support from Citi Community Development and funding from Long Island Community Foundation and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the policy brief and profile, and see the press release.

Advancing Health Equity and Inclusive Growth in Buffalo

Overview

With millions in public and private investments on the horizon, Buffalo, New York, is poised for resurgence. But if new investments do not address persistent racial and economic inequities, the city’s long-term economic future is at risk. This health equity and inclusive growth profile offers leaders data and strategies to undergird policy solutions to advance health equity, inclusive growth, and a culture of health. They were developed by PolicyLink and the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) at USC, in partnership with Open Buffalo, and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Read the policy brief and the full profile.

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