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“The Business Case for Racial Equity” quantifies the cost of racism in the U.S.

Kathy Reincke            

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. –Today Altarum Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) released a report detailing the economic impact of racism, and the benefits of advancing racial equity as the demography of our nation continues to evolve. As businesses, policy makers and thought leaders attempt to track, analyze and ultimately manage the impact of the U.S. shift from a white majority to a minority majority, the availability of data on the progress and pain points within health, education and crime and justice will be even more important.  

The brief draws research from a range of sources including the Center for American Progress, National Urban League Policy Institute, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and the U.S. Department of Justice, weaving statistics together to tell the broader story of race in America and its costs – including an expensive incarceration system and a massive loss of productivity.  

“We are excited about being able to gather data from a range of issue areas to paint a picture of the economic impact of racial inequity,” said Ani Turner, deputy director of the Center for Sustainable Health Spending at Altarum Institute. “Our hope is to bring another lens to the urgency of addressing disparities that are not only putting vulnerable children at a disadvantage, but are also costing our nation a great deal. When disparities in health alone are costing the U.S. $82 billion per year in excess medical costs and lost productivity, the message is clear: our future depends on racial equity.”

The brief was funded through WKKF’s America Healing effort, launched in 2010 to support programs that promote racial healing and address racial inequity. The program works with hundreds of organizations in communities across the country in an effort to build an understanding of how racial injustices of the past create inequities for today’s children. Throughout its more than 80-year history, WKKF has supported communities seeking to create conditions that improve the life outcomes of vulnerable children. 

In a note introducing the report, Dr. Gail Christopher, WKKF vice president-program strategy said, “The data and comprehensive analysis outlined in [this report] demonstrate how race, class, residential segregation and income levels all work together to hamper access to opportunity. With these proof points in hand, our partners across the country voice their concerns for vulnerable children and families – to find support needed to advance racial healing and racial equity.”

“The Business Case for Racial Equity” lays out the potential benefits to business, government and the economy of addressing racial inequities, pointing out specific areas of opportunity in housing, education, health and crime and justice. The document outlines the history of discriminatory policies across these areas and the disparities they created, going on to estimate the potential benefits of seizing opportunities to promote equality, including an increase of almost $2 trillion in minority purchasing power and millions of job opportunities for college graduates.

To read the report in its entirety, visit www.wkkf.org. 

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create the conditions where vulnerable children can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

Altarum Institute

Altarum Institute integrates objective research and client-centered consulting skills to deliver comprehensive, systems-based solutions that improve health and health care. A nonprofit serving clients in the public and private sectors, Altarum employs more than 400 individuals and is headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich. with additional offices in the Washington, D.C. area; Portland, Maine; and San Antonio, Texas. 

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