Bloomberg Philanthropies Is Betting That Data Will Help Fuel A Black Wealth Movement – Forbes

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg visits the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to introduce his Greenwood Initiative in January 2020.

Photo courtesy of Bloomberg Philanthropies

Are Black American entrepreneurs able to get the loans they need to grow their businesses? How does education affect the financial success of Black Americans? Are Black Americans promoted at their jobs, or are they stuck at levels that are, objectively speaking, less than worthy of their skills?

The answers to these and other questions could lead to bridging the yawning wealth gap between Black and white Americans, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. That’s why the organization is betting on data, data and more data.

The group, spearheaded by billionaire data mogul and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced Thursday a multimillion-dollar investment to launch the Black Wealth Data Center, which aims to be a one-stop shop for all the information that philanthropists, business leaders and policymakers need to best allocate resources to address inequities. The data center will be “hosted and incubated” by Washington, D.C.-based racial justice organization Prosperity Now, a 40-year-old nonprofit known for its eponymous scorecard on household financial health and racial economic inequality.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is making the investment through its Greenwood Initiative, which aims to help Black people and institutions earn, keep and bequeath more wealth. The effort was named after the Greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa, Okla., also known as Black Wall Street, that was all but wiped out by murderous white supremacists in 1921.

Data sets relevant to Black wealth exist today, but they’re often disparate, outdated, incomplete or just difficult to access and understand, said Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads The Greenwood Initiative.

Garnehsa Ezediaro, who leads The Greenwood Initiative at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Brandon Hopkins

“The gap that we were experiencing … is one that many nonprofits, policymakers, practitioners and people in city halls face,” Ezediaro told Forbes. “They don’t have an evidence base to work from around what would actually impact this issue. If you look at climate or gender equity, the use of data has been transformative for movement-building as well as decision-making. And we believe racial wealth equity should be the same.”

Black families have a fraction of the wealth of white households, with 13 cents for every dollar held by whites.

Forbes estimates Michael Bloomberg’s net worth at $76.8 billion. The 2020 presidential candidate has given away $12.7 billion over his lifetime, according to his foundation, including $250 million over two years through The Greenwood Initiative.

The Greenwood Initiative declined to disclose the exact funding for the data platform, but said it’s …….