For immediate release

Contact: Joey Lee, Media Relations Representative, 215-574-3840

Philadelphia — The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia partnered with the nonprofit racial justice organization, Race Forward, to provide racial equity training for organizations in nine communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia to help them solve challenges related to housing, jobs or wealth in their neighborhoods. As a result of the training, the communities created plans that were inclusive for people of color.

Diverse leaders in the public, private, funding, and nonprofit sectors across the four states participated in biweekly trainings for eight months, which included learning about the root causes of racial inequities, explicit and implicit biases, and addressing institutional and structural racism. The cohorts learned how to develop and apply data-driven strategies to be implemented in their communities over the next several years.

This training was part of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s Reinventing Our Communities (ROC) cohort program, which is a larger effort to share research, practitioner expertise, and best practices with organizations that want to develop and support equitable policies and programs in their communities.

The participating organizations formed cohorts based on similar economic and social challenges. Those challenges ranged from addressing the racial equity issues in the homeless service system in Trenton, NJ, and supporting Black-owned businesses for wealth building in Philadelphia, PA, to creating a more equitable and accessible workforce system for residents in Wilmington, DE.

“While many communities wanted to reduce inequality, they did not have the knowledge or tools to effectively discuss race and address the racial inequality,” said Theresa Singleton, senior vice president and community affairs officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. “It was important for the Philadelphia Fed to use our strengths as a convener and a research organization to support communities that are committed to building more equitable local economies.”

One of the cohorts, the Borough of State College, PA, used the training to create an equitable application process for the CARES Act relief grant for small businesses.

“We had the opportunity to hear from our peers in other communities where racial equity is a more pronounced problem, which gave us the confidence to address our challenge head on,” said Maureen Safko, senior planner at the Borough of State College. “This training showed me that our local policy on the eligibility and distribution of the CARES Act funding for rent, utility, and mortgages could be made more inclusive by expanding application hours and designating priority slots to groups disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. State College has always worked toward equitable use of grants. The ROC training improved our capacity to recognize, and meet, the disparate needs in our community.”

More information about the 2021 ROC cohort program will be forthcoming on

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia helps formulate and implement monetary policy, supervises state member banks, bank holding companies, and savings and loan holding companies, and provides financial services to depository institutions and the federal government. It is one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks that, together with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the Federal Reserve System. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves eastern and central Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and Delaware.