Rooted in historic systemic inequities, the ever-widening racial wealth gap has been a longstanding issue within the United States. Florida Memorial University and the Institute of Black Wealth have joined forces to move the needle forward in eradicating the economic disparities that disproportionately impact disenfranchised communities.
Research conducted by the Federal Reserve System shows Black families hold a mere 2.9 percent of wealth. The median white household has a net worth ten times higher than African American households. To address the inequalities surrounding wealth creation, music mogul and philanthropist Ted Lucas teamed up with real estate developer Fabiola Fleuranvil to create the Institute of Black Wealth. The initiative strives to use education, technology, cooperative economics, financial literacy and civic engagement to empower the Black community.
Through the partnership with Florida Memorial University, the institute will lead tech and finance-focused programming for scholars and their families. Amongst the topics that will be woven into the programs are investing, homeownership, insurance and the fundamentals of cryptocurrency and NFTs.
Fleuranvil says the collaborative effort will help advance economic mobility. “We don’t need another study or report to tell us that Black people do not get the same access to funding and opportunities that could help close the wealth gap and reverse 400+ years of an unequal system that continues to rob the next generation of Black families of potential wealth,” she shared in a statement. “Our objective with the Institute is to go beyond advocacy and instead, deliberately and creatively engineer how Black wealth is created.”
Lucas—who leads Slip-n-Slide Records and founded the Florida-based nonprofit TechNolij to create pathways for people of color and women within the tech industry—says investing in historically Black colleges and universities and equipping scholars with the knowledge and resources needed to thrive is a crucial step towards cultivating generational wealth. “This MOU with Florida Memorial University and the programming behind the Institute of Black Wealth will create and structure a pipeline of opportunities that will help to close the gap and create Black wealth,” he added.
Beyond fostering partnerships with higher-ed institutions, the institute has plans to address disparities around venture capital funding by collaborating with corporations and leveraging access to private equity to empower Black entrepreneurs.
Nonprofits across the country are leading transformative work aimed at closing the racial wealth gap. Last year, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry teamed up with the organization NinetyToZero which created an action plan for corporations to diversify their workforces and ensure there are venture capital pathways for Black founders.
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