Making a difference in these extraordinary times.

By Anne Price, President

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2018 was a tough, wild year. But from adversity comes strength to overturn the status quo and build power.

Throughout the year, we at the Insight Center have called for moving beyond defensive strategies and incremental steps to push for bigger, bolder actions. In the face of persistent challenges, I believe we will continue to prevail through our pursuit of truth and our unyielding dedication to shaping this country’s future for the better.

Economic inequality remains a central issue of our time, and Insight remains at the forefront of advancing transformative approaches to economic insecurity.

Here’s how we’re making a difference in these extraordinary times.

Big Ideas and Bold Approaches
There has never been a more critical, more insistent time to reimagine and implement economic policies to address the rise of extreme racial and economic inequality, and change the rules that govern power and the concentration of wealth.

Recently, a number of leading thinkers in the United States have proposed models for a national public wealth fund. This concept rests on the principle of shared ownership, and builds on the foundational vision that all Americans have the right to reap benefits from wealth that we all created together.

Insight has proposed a new framework for a social wealth fund — one that, importantly, integrates a racial wealth equity perspective. Read our essay here.

Groundbreaking Research
Millennial women — those born between around 1980 and 1997 — have come of age during the Great Recession, the push for mass incarceration, unprecedented student debt levels, and changing workforce dynamics.

All of these factors contribute to the fact that Millennial women are 37 percent more likely than Gen Xers (born between 1965 and 1984) to be living below the federal poverty line and are more likely to be underemployed or unemployed than previous generations.

In our forthcoming report, “Clipped Wings: A Look at Millennial Women and Wealth, we assess the economic landscape for women of this generation and propose a number of philanthropic investments that could turn this tide and foster the economic security of Millennials and generations to come. Watch a webinar, produced in partnership with the Asset Funders Network, that previews this important work, and stay tuned for the full report in the new year.

For another peek at Insight’s work in action, don’t miss these three articles from the San Francisco Chronicle that draw on our research to spotlight issues of food insecurity among families in the Bay Area.

Transformative Policy Change
We cannot build power to change the rules that created wealth concentration and economic inequality without shining a light on how resources are extracted from disinvested communities.

This summer, Insight worked with a diverse coalition to make San Francisco the first city and county in the U.S. to eliminate all locally controlled fees associated with the criminal justice system. This major legislative change erased roughly $32 million in outstanding and largely uncollectible debt held among about 21,000 people, and will curtail the practice of raising administrative revenue largely on the backs of low-income communities of color.

Earlier this month, our coalition saw the elimination of $21 million in similar fees in Alameda County. Read our op-ed on the subject.

Finally, for our annual year in review, Jhumpa Bhattacharya and I took over the Hidden Truths podcast to reflect on these extraordinary times and highlight a range of promising ideas, policies, and people who have risen above the tumult. Please give it a listen and tell us what you think.

From thought leadership and research to public advocacy and community impact, these are just a few of the many ways we’re tackling entrenched racial and economic inequities. When we leverage the truth and work together on real and lasting solutions, the promise of this place is truly incredible. In 2019, let’s be who we know we can and should be.

Wishing you and yours peace and progress.

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