At Woodstock Institute, we’re working to create an economy where everyone has access to the financial services and resources they need to prosper. We advocate for strong policy initiatives that are backed by research and will close the racial wealth gap in Chicago, in Illinois and nationally.  

Thank you!

June 10 we celebrated passage of the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act and Predatory Loan Prevention Act thanks to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and a movement of consumer advocates.

We recognized two outstanding leaders: state Sen. Jacqueline Collins and advocate Kesha Warren Thompson, and since we are Woodstock Institute, enjoyed a data presentation from Woodstock Research Director Spencer Cowan on findings from 36 years of Community Lending Fact Book mortgage data, Hope Unrealized: How Decades of Federal Policy to Combat Racial Segregation Have Failed to Change the Map.

Read more about the event

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Avoid Unfair Lending
Practices: a resource guide

Our new financial resource guide, Affordable Alternatives to Predatory Loans can help people navigate different options and avoid the debt-trap. The strategies in this resource guide are brought to you by New America Chicago, Heartland Alliance, Illinois Asset Building Group and Woodstock Institute. Read more

The Lending Equity Ordinance

The Lending Equity Ordinance will support more equitable investment in Chicago communities by banks.

The LEO is an important step towards creating more transparency around how banks are serving Chicago’s communities. Learn more about the LEO and how you can help. Read more

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How the PLPA benefits communities & increases equity

In January the Illinois Legislature passed the Predatory Loan Prevention Act, S. 1792. This report assesses the PLPA’s economic impact on Illinois’ economy and refutes claims by the legislation’s opponents that the new law will cost the state jobs. Read more

chicago neighborhood community lending fact book

Coming this fall, two new Fact Books

One book features 2020 Dodd-Frank Data, the other will aggregate the data from 34 years of Fact Book data to analyze long-term trends.  Read more

Close the wealth gap

Our thanks to The Chicago Community Trust for this video. The video features state Senator Jacqueline Collins and Kesha Warren, whose story put a face on the issue of predatory lending in Illinois and helped lead to passage of Collins’ Predatory Loan Prevention Act.

The Trust also presented an excellent profile of work by Woodstock, Housing Action Illinois, and others to close the wealth gap by strengthening the Community Reinvestment Act.

One Year Later: Statement on Black Lives

May 25, 2021: One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers. The heartbreakingly long list of names of Black and Brown people hurt by racist people and policies reminds us that this is a systemic problem that requires bold solutions.

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Agenda enacted this year exemplifies the sort of bold policies that have long been overdue. Woodstock Institute plans to work with community leaders and impacted populations to build on and broaden that agenda.

Together, we can create a just economy that protects and invests in communities and people of color and makes real progress in addressing persistent economic and racial segregation.


June 3, 2020: Today we say to our Black brothers and sisters, we hear you. Black lives matter. Black communities matter. Black futures matter

People Over Poverty BLM Protest
Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

The brutal killing of Black people by police must end – and it must end now. We ask this in the name of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland, and so many other Black lives that were taken at the hands of an officer whose job it was to protect and serve them. We hear community calls for police reform, and we agree: the system must change.

Woodstock Institute was founded in response to racial discrimination. Through our research and policy advocacy in the financial system, we are uniquely aware of how bad policymaking can perpetuate racial discrimination and breed inequity. We see this in the stark reminder of segregated communities throughout the country.

Our staff has taken the past few days to come together. We went to protest, to pass out food in our community, to reach out to our loved ones, to grieve, and to discuss how we can each better address racism in our own lives, in our communities, and in our government.

We will continue to advocate for the end of racist policymaking, be it through unscrupulous financial service providers, discrimination in housing, or unjust fines and fees. We hope you can join us in this fight.