Goldman, Starbucks, Wharton Form Group to Erase Black Wealth Gap

A wide group of companies and institutions, from Goldman Sachs and Starbucks Corp. to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the ACLU, are teaming up to tackle the massive wealth gap between White and Black Americans.

The initiative, named NinetyToZero, will focus on areas such as the training of Black workers, investment for Black businesses and setting internal hiring goals. It will also work with Black-owned banks and financial institutions and set guidelines for the progress of Black workers.

The Wharton School will act as the group’s lead research partner on best practices to eliminate the racial wealth disparity. Other partners include the Children’s Defense Fund, Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Robin Hood foundation and McKinsey & Co. Closing the racial wealth gap could add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the U.S. GDP over the next decade, the group said.

“We have to get comfortable talking about challenging issues like the racial wealth gap,” said Erika James, dean of the Wharton School. “Data-driven research plays a crucial role in taking the emotion out of difficult conversations and developing solutions to create a more equitable world.”

The group’s advisory council includes academics, top corporate executives and non-profit leaders, including Derrick Johnson, chief executive officer of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Mehrsa Baradaran, a University of California Irvine law professor and author of “The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap.”

Addressing racial inequality has gained urgency since the death of George Floyd last year at the hands of police sparked protests across the country. The unrest has brought attention to the persistent lack of diversity at companies, especially at the top.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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