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Bridging the Divide: NJCC’s Mission to Close the Racial Wealth Gap

The racial wealth gap has no limitations, as we’ve seen at NJCC since our establishment in 1987. While wealth has increased consistently for all Americans since that time, so has our nation’s racial wealth gap. The Federal Reserve’s most recent Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) shows that White families’ wealth exceeds that of Black and Hispanic families by more than $1 million—a sum that’s risen steadily since the first SCF in 1983. A 2020 Citibank report estimated that the racial gaps Blacks face in the U.S. in four key areas—wages, education, housing and investment—deprived our nation of $16 trillion in GDP in the first two decades of the 21st century. Citibank’s update of this report this past spring found these economic gaps between Black people and White people persist (in fact four have widened) and have robbed the U.S. economy of up to $21.3 trillion in GDP.

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This massive, persistent and increasing fiscal divide is unacceptable and calls for immediate action. Otherwise, we risk becoming a renter nation with only the wealthy able to access the essential requisites for wellbeing, namely a place to call home, a good education, supportive healthcare, healthy food and accessible public transportation. That’s why we’re doubling down on our work to catalyze financial opportunities in underserved communities and will be reaching out regularly to others who care deeply about these issues. This is our first official newsletter to keep you apprised of our programs and strategies to change the status quo and ask you to join the conversation and support our work.

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Racial inequalities in home and business ownership continue to be a material headwind to the U.S. economy. (Source: Citibank)

Many of you may not realize how broad our scope of work is at NJCC. Our focus ranges from developing affordable housing and community ventures to increase jobs, improve education and strengthen neighborhoods to supporting homeownership, high-potential businesses led by diverse entrepreneurs and investing in community-focused real estate projects. In fact, we’ve been so adept at our mission that our efforts have brought next level growth to NJCC. I’m talking about hard-won, nose-to-the-grindstone organic growth driven by creatively sourced and executed deals in Pennsylvania, New York and soon cities coast-to-coast as we expand to other areas where we can do the most good. Our growth has been precipitated by our unique business model and new CDFI regulations that are enabling us to expand nationally, raise capital from a broader spectrum of allocators and enhance financial inclusion with smaller loans. This work is more critical than ever right now because new research shows that while housing equity has increased for minorities, other components of wealth-building, such as business equity and corporate parity, have not. Deep structural changes in our society—the kind we are working to bring about at NJCC—will be necessary to restructure and repair today’s status quo.

Our 2023 achievements and expansion aspirations are reflected in this infographic from our 2023 annual report .

All efforts to grow, increase results and accelerate change require new programs, processes and people. That’s exactly where we are right now at NJCC. Our goal is to work in the areas with the most troubling inequality indicators and we’re assessing options right now. Rather than just growing in scale, we aim to enhance the depth of our impact by targeting communities that are the most in need of transformative capital. In the coming months, we’ll have more information on our progress, but for now read more about our current efforts below. 

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By pairing community development expertise with innovative revitalization models, our work delivers local solutions to underserved communities in New Jersey and beyond.

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