At the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, we stand in strong solidarity with the millions of people in the Third District, in our nation, and worldwide who are raising their voices against racism and violence. As Chair Jerome Powell recently said, the Federal Reserve serves the entire nation, and racism has no place within the Federal Reserve System. We want to state unequivocally that the Philadelphia Fed is opposed to racism in all forms, and that everyone deserves the opportunity to participate fully in our society and in our economy.
We also recognize that words are not enough. You may be wondering what we are doing, both here at the Philadelphia Fed and across the System, to address inequality and to support racial equity. Within our mandate, we have a longstanding commitment to increasing understanding of racial disparities, advancing solutions, and achieving a truly inclusive economy. As we at the Philadelphia Fed have said in the past, it’s simply a fact that some of the underlying inequalities in our society deal with race. And it’s our job to question how systems continue to perpetuate a racial wealth gap that ultimately limits our overall economic potential.
Our world-class researchers continue to expand our knowledge about subjects that are intertwined with racial inequity, including gentrification, broadband access, public transportation and job access, housing, mortgage access, and other subjects. In recent weeks our Community Development and Regional Outreach team has highlighted how COVID-19 has exposed fault lines in our economy. Their work has revealed that vulnerable populations, including communities of color, have suffered the most during this pandemic.
But as important as it is to increase knowledge and highlight disparities, we need to go much further — and we are. Through the Reinventing Our Communities program, we are working with locally based cohort groups in communities in the Third District and beyond to develop solutions for racial equity in housing, jobs, and wealth. Each community cohort has identified a specific equity challenge they wish to address, and the Philadelphia Fed uses its convening powers to bring together partners, tools, training, and resources to support these groups in developing their own racial equity plans. These are actionable plans that will make a real difference in people’s lives.
Another example is our Economic Growth and Mobility Project (EGMP), which promotes inclusive economic growth and the creation of pathways out of poverty in communities across the Third District and our nation. The EGMP leverages our world-class research and fosters partnerships among public, private, and philanthropic stakeholders to address issues related to poverty, which, as we know, disproportionately affects people of color in our country. Central to the initiative are our Research in Action Labs, which empower communities to create locally driven solutions to job access, education, and housing that are grounded in research.
As an employer of nearly 900 people in our region, we are also committed to advancing racial equity through our employment and procurement practices. We deeply value diversity, inclusion, and equity in our workplace and strive to provide an environment where all of our employees feel supported, valued, and respected. Through our supplier diversity program, we maintain a strong focus on creating opportunities for minority- and women-owned firms to do business with the Bank. You can learn more in our most recent Report to Congress on the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
Having said all of that, we know that there is still much more to do. Now more than ever, we are dedicating our expertise and resources to understanding systemic issues that disproportionately affect communities of color. Above all, we will do everything we can within our mandate to promote an inclusive economy in which all people have the opportunity to thrive.
Patrick T. Harker
President and Chief Executive Officer
James D. Narron
First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer