At WEBB Squared, we recognize that the true measure of our work to redress the racial wealth gap will not only be our programmatic successes, but also how effectively we operationalize our vision and values within our own organization.
This year, we are proud to launch a new “Asset Building Initiative.” The initiative is designed to address the asset wealth disparity created by 250 years of slavery; 90 years of Jim Crow; 60 years of segregation and 35 years of race-constructed housing and economic policy that today leaves Black Americans with only 10% of the assets of White households – regardless of income – and more vulnerable to an economic crisis, a long-term illness, job loss, a pandemic.
WEBB Squared’s new initiative provides a maximum monthly “asset allocation” equal to 15% of base salary to help qualifying team members accrue assets like savings and checking accounts, IRAs, investment portfolios, equity in property, retirement and college accounts.
We chose 15% to honor the spirit of “Field Order 15,” (aka “40 Acres and a Mule”), which was the nation’s first and only promise of economic equity. The order gave small plots of Confederate farm land to newly freed Black families to begin building assets after the Civil War. While Field Order 15 was briefly implemented, it was rescinded immediately after President Lincoln’s death, and the land was taken back.
In 2023, after subsequent centuries of disenfranchisement, the gulf is so deep that for many Black families, the climb to asset wealth is untenable and when a financial crisis strikes, the fall is precipitous.
Without rational, intentional solutions the inequity and the vulnerability will continue to grow. We invite you to join us as we do our best to fix what is broken and build an economy in North Carolina that works for everyone.