Understanding Racial Gaps in Wealth

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Please note: the time for this workshop is from 10-11:30 am.

Philanthropy and government each have unique roles in addressing community issues and we believe that collaboration between these two sectors has the potential to create innovative partnerships regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion–particularly when a racial justice focus is applied. As an example, the partnership between Multnomah Idea Lab (MIL), Prosper Portland, METRO and Meyer Memorial Trust resulted in an opportunity to examine strategies that advance a racial wealth agenda. It is a known fact that racial inequality can impede efforts to build wealth, leading to cycles of poverty, particularly for racial minorities. Research also shows that these communities experience poverty at higher rates nationwide, which makes collaborative efforts between government and philanthropy even more important in addressing the root causes of poverty.  This critical conversation between locally-based government and philanthropy has generated a public/private partnership that strengthens our collective ability to address significant community change, particularly in the face of wealth disparity.
The Understanding Racial Gaps in Wealth Learning Session will highlight concepts that show when government and philanthropy work together, they can:
  • develop a shared set of racial justice tools for their work in bridging the wealth gap
  • gain a greater understanding of the causes of poverty in our communities
  • collectively work toward common goals and agendas. 
The panel will engage participants in reflecting on how government and philanthropy engages in work related to ending the racial wealth gap and will generate ideas for cross-sector collaboration.

Speaker Information:

Mary Li, Director, Multnomah Idea Lab (MIL). Mary has worked for Multnomah County since 1990, and describes herself as a proud bureaucrat!  She believes that it’s an absolute responsibility for government to address the role that policies, practices, and investments have played in creating the inequities experienced by our communities today.  By intentionally centering race in our work, we can take action that makes a difference in the journey towards justice.

Steve Van Eck, Research Evaluation Analyst, Multnomah Idea Lab (MIL). Steve van Eck was a co-founder of the Multnomah Idea Lab, a center for innovation located inside the Department for County Human Services. He is the former Deputy Director of the contemporary art center, Yale Union, and a researcher at the Meyer Memorial Trust and the Oregon Community Foundation. He holds a Bachelor’s in Community Development and a Master’s degree in Urban Economics from Portland State University.

Theresa DeibeleHousing Opportunities Portfolio Director, Meyer Memorial Trust. Theresa began her career as an intern in a large Los Angeles law firm. When she found herself working to defend Exxon after the oil spill, she tried to reconcile her feelings by donating to Greenpeace or volunteering on environmental restoration projects.  But a bigger change was needed to align her work with her Quaker values. She traded Los Angeles for a village in Chad, where she served as a Community Development Advisor in the U.S. Peace Corps.

Since that time, Theresa has earned joint degrees in Nonprofit Management and Law and worked many years in public finance law and as Finance Director of a Portland area nonprofit. She joined Meyer Memorial Trust in 2012 and now leads its Housing Opportunities portfolio, managing strategic investments in affordable housing grants and loans to further Meyer’s mission of a more equitable and flourishing Oregon. Theresa can be reached at theresa@mmt.org.

Raahi Reddy, Director of  Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, Metro. Prior to joining the Metro team, Raahi served as faculty at the University of Oregon where she founded the Equity in the Economy Initiative. She has co-authored several ground breaking reports on the experiences of low-wage working Oregonians including “The High Cost of Low Wages in Oregon” detailing the economic reality for Oregon’s low-wage workers in the post-recession economy. 

Raahi has extensive experience in leading organizations through strategic change, including helping her organizations build inclusive and diverse leadership programs for both staff and members. She also has led large-scale campaigns to help win social and economic justice for workers, including immigrants and people of color. Raahi has passionately advocated for national and local efforts to build diversity within the labor movement and create lasting labor and community partnerships. 

Raahi holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from UCLA. Raahi has served in numerous leadership roles during her career, serving as Chief of Staff for an 85,000-member union in Southern California. She has served on several boards including recently completing a board chair position for the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO). 

About MIL: The MIL specifically focuses on the human experience at the intersection of poverty and race to develop work that influences local, regional, and state government. The cornerstones to the MIL’s approach are a Human Centered Design (HCD) practice; Critical Thinking, engaging with others using a dynamic, systemic lens; and then using Applied Research to test ideas in the community. The MIL has employed HCD in numerous projects, including the County’s Trans and Gender Diverse Workgroup, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) CityStart grant.

Date Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Place United Way Conference Room: 611 SW 11th Ave., Portland, OR 97205
Cost $25/members;$40/nonmembers

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Our programs are open to anyone who meets our membership criteria. If you are not currently a member but you qualify and would like to attend, please contact us at info@gosw.org for registration assistance.

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