Historic, intentional, racist policies and practices aimed at denying Black people access to opportunity are the root cause of the racial disparities across systems, in communities and with life experiences we see today. The continued accumulation of advantage and disadvantage are no more apparent than in the access to and growth of capital among Black businesses, entrepreneurs and in the personal wealth of families.
While many leaders are unaware of the structural and historical barriers in philanthropy and access to capital, many others are becoming aware of these challenges and are interested in how they can address them in their work. In order to close the racial wealth gap, it is critical to center the root causes and historical discriminatory practices, and strategies for change must be intentionally informed by communities, investors, and entrepreneurs of color.
Structural racism is...interconnected institutions and policies, they key relationships and rules across society providing the legitimacy and reinforcements to maintain and perpetuate racism.
-- Keith Lawrence, Aspen Institute on Community Change and Terry Keleher, Applied Research Center at UC Berkeley
The REAL brings a structural analysis to the work by considering the ways that complex, dynamic systems interact to maintain racial disparities in our society. By addressing both public and institutional policies, practices and cultural representations through a race lens, we can work to dismantle harmful, racist systems.