Press Release

BEA Foundation Releases Policy Agenda To Advance Black Work, Wages, And Wealth

By Black Economic Alliance Foundation |
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BEA Foundation Policy Agenda Highlights Affordable Housing, Entrepreneurship, Jobs and Workforce, Tax Reform, and Voting Rights as Five Key Policy Areas to Drive Black Wealth and Economic Growth for All

Washington, DC – (February 14, 2024) Today, the Black Economic Alliance (BEA) Foundation, the nation’s leading organization of Black business leaders and aligned advocates advancing Black economic prosperity, released a new Policy Agenda to Advance Black Work, Wages, and Wealth. This policy roadmap, informed by expert research and the lived experiences of Black Americans, targets barriers to economic opportunity and outlines actionable steps for policymakers to drive Black prosperity and grow the entire economy.

“The solutions in this agenda are expert-backed, rooted in Black Americans’ perspectives, and data-driven to have the greatest impact on expanding Black work, wages, and wealth,” said BEA CEO Samantha Tweedy. “The research tells us that these proposals will make tangible, meaningful, and sustained progress toward expanding Black prosperity — and in so doing grow the economy as a whole.”

“These actionable solutions will allow policymakers to move the issue of economic opportunity for Black Americans to the forefront of the nation’s agenda,” said Charles Phillips, BEA Board Co-Chair and Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Recognize. “The breadth and scope of this agenda are exactly what is necessary to advance Black prosperity to the benefit of the US economy.”

“The Urban Institute was proud to support BEA Foundation with analysis of a wide range of policies as they built their agenda to advance Black work, wages, and wealth,” said Sarah Rosen Wartell, President of the Urban Institute. “Our unique partnership with BEA is designed to help them to identify and advance evidence-based solutions grounded in the latest insights into the lived experience of the Black community.”

“The BEA Foundation’s forward-leaning agenda aligns closely with the National Urban League and our historic focus on economic empowerment and justice,” said Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “We are energized to work together with passion and purpose to further this agenda in the public and private sectors.”

Policy Agenda to Advance Black Work, Wages, and Wealth

Throughout the past year, the BEA Foundation engaged a diverse group of research partners and policy experts — including the Urban Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, National Urban League, Brennan Center for Justice, Alliance for Entrepreneurial Equity at Third Way, and Bipartisan Policy Center — culminating in the Foundation’s policy strategy that is poised to reshape the economic systems and structures holding back economic gains for Black Americans.

Central to the agenda are five primary policy areas critical to reducing disparities and advancing Black economic prosperity across work, wages, and wealth: Affordable Housing, Entrepreneurship, Jobs and Workforce Development, Tax Reform, and Voting Rights. With lawmakers’ backing, these pathways have the potential to reshape the economic future of Black communities nationwide. Highlights include: 

  • Affordable Housing: The housing market’s supply-demand dichotomy shows stark disparities, with only 9 percent of Black renter households able to afford median-priced homes. Building upon broad support from recent qualitative research findings, BEA Foundation prioritizes affordable housing interventions, including bypassing local zoning requirements for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects, implementing a federal down payment assistance program, and developing “tax shock absorber” policies.
  • Entrepreneurship: Despite constituting only two percent of employer businesses, Black entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, with Black women starting more new businesses than any other demographic. To support these entrepreneurs, BEA Foundation highlights the importance of adopting nontraditional credit underwriting models, ensuring the availability of smaller-dollar loans, particularly through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), and investing in mentorship programs.
  • Jobs and Workforce Development: The wage gap between Black and white Americans is stark at 23.4 percent, even across educational levels. BEA Foundation-supported solutions include updating the federal minimum wage, utilizing STARs (skilled through alternative routes) for hiring within the Federal workforce, and developing a Department of Labor task force to set job quality standards.
  •  Tax Reform: Although seemingly race-neutral, the tax system inadvertently benefits white Americans more. BEA Foundation-supported reforms to federal tax policy include expanding the Child Tax Credit, enhancing the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and introducing a two-earner refundable credit for married couples filing jointly.
  • Voting Rights: While progress has been made since passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, Black Americans still face barriers to voting. The BEA Foundation’s recommendations for countering voter suppression prioritize expanding opportunities to vote before Election Day, reducing misinformation, and restoring the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For more information about the BEA Foundation Policy Agenda to Advance Black Work, Wages, and Wealth, please click here.


About the Black Economic Alliance Foundation 

The Black Economic Alliance Foundation is the nation’s leading organization harnessing the collective expertise and influence of Black business leaders and aligned advocates to build economic prosperity and generational wealth for the Black community. We partner with leaders across the public, private, and social sectors to champion policy reimagination, develop investment and philanthropic programs, commission research, and elevate national understanding of the inextricable link between the health of the Black economy and the entire American economy. The BEA Foundation is the 501(c)(3) non-profit affiliate of the Black Economic Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition of Black business leaders and allies committed to advancing work, wages, and wealth in the Black community. | 

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