In 2022, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative announced the creation of the Black Wealth Data Center (BWDC). It features a Racial Wealth Equity Database that aims to empower decision-makers with reliable data, become the go-to resource for racial wealth data, and raise the national standard for data collection and accessibility. The objective of the Black Wealth Data Center is to help practitioners and policymakers address racial wealth disparities by making relevant data available so they can develop and implement effective programs and policies to increase racial wealth equity.
The Vivien Thomas Scholars Initiative, a $150 million investment, was launched at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to address historic underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, and prepare a new, more diverse generation of researchers and scholars to assume leadership roles in tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges. Named for Vivien Thomas, a Black surgical laboratory supervisor at JHU, Bloomberg Philanthropies is endowing this effort to create additional pathways for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to pursue and receive PhDs in STEM fields. Out of the 20 scholars selected for the 2022 inaugural cohort, all of them are from historically excluded groups, all have graduated from Minority Serving Institutions or HBCUs, and 45% are first-generation college students. This gift will provide permanent funding to add a sustained cohort of approximately 100 new slots for diverse PhD students in JHU’s more than 30 STEM programs.
In April 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced an investment of over $6 million in support of COVID-19 vaccine operations run by the nation’s four historically Black medical schools – Meharry Medical College, Howard University College of Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science – via mobile vaccine services to ensure equitable access in their communities of Nashville, TN, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, and Los Angeles, CA. With a clear disparity between white and Black vaccine rates across the United States, the schools’ mobile units reached the most at-risk populations and worked with trusted partners, such as churches and senior centers, to set up temporary vaccination sites.
In September 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced The Greenwood Initiative’s first major investment, a historic $100 million gift to America’s four historically Black medical schools: Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN, Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, CA. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ gift to the medical schools will allow them to provide debt reduction up to $100,000 to approximately 950 medical students over a four year period.
Through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of the national nonprofit Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s (CFE Fund) CityStart initiative, local governments are prioritizing the economic mobility of residents by creating blueprints that leverage policies, programs, and funding streams to help local families and communities become more financially stable, utilizing a racial equity lens.
In April 2023, CFE Fund in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative announced that a new cohort of eight local governments were selected to participate in the CityStart initiative: Baltimore, MD; Cleveland, OH; Monroe, LA; Newark, NJ; Norfolk, VA; Rocky Mount, NC; Sacramento, CA; and Leon County/Tallahassee, FL. The initial cohort included Cincinnati, OH; Mobile, AL; and South Bend, IN.
In partnership with NYC Kids RISE (NYCKR), Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Gray Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Equity, the NYC Department of Education, school leaders, families, and students, in December 2022 1,200 first graders in East Flatbush, Brooklyn and Canarsie, Brooklyn received $1,000 in their NYC Scholarship Accounts through a $1.2 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Donor-Advised Fund.
These scholarship accounts are dedicated to increasing college and career savings — a key way to address the racial wealth divide in New York City neighborhoods where 86% of students are Black — the largest proportion of any geographic school district in New York City.
Top photo: Howard University College of Medicine student Micah Brown is one of the many future doctors who will have had their futures changed by a $100 million commitment to the United States’ four historically Black medical schools.