At Woodstock Institute, our mission is to advance economic justice and racial equity within financial systems through research and advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Woodstock Institute envisions a society where all people experience economic security and prosperity.

The Mortgage Access Initiative is a new effort bringing together different actors in the mortgage process to pinpoint the specific barriers keeping people of color out of homeownership and solutions for addressing them.

We're now calling on banks, non-bank lenders, and government-sponsored enterprises to make these solutions a reality.

Woodstock Institute’s 50th Anniversary Celebration was a success! We’re thrilled to have brought together a diverse crowd of professionals united around a common goal of building an equitable financial system. Attendees included representatives of community and non-profit organizations, government officials, and financial sector leaders.

Woodstock Institute was founded in 1973 by Chicago philanthropists Sylvia and Aaron Scheinfeld, who envisioned a conference center where participants could plot solutions to social justice issues, especially racism in housing, known as “redlining.” In the 50 years since, Woodstock has been on the frontlines advancing economic justice and racial equity.

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is currently the target of litigation that threatens to unravel the entire agency. Woodstock Institute is joining 90 other state and local nonprofits in signing onto an amicus brief defending the CFPB from this attack on American consumers.

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Amber S. Hendley, Woodstock Institute’s Director of Research, writes about how her family’s experience with owning a home across several generations reflects the systemic factors underlying the Black-White racial wealth gap. A shortened version of this article appears in Crain’s Chicago Business and can be found here:
Commentary: Homeownership is not the answer to the gaping gap in wealth

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Offering Help and Hope Against Predatory Financial Practices

WeProsper is a joint initiative of Woodstock Institute, New America Chicago, and The Chicago Urban League. We offer free educational resources for lawmakers and the public with special focus on communities of color, in English and Spanish. WeProsper also supports efforts to create alternative wealth-building strategies in low-income communities through its research work. Learn more about WeProsper >

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Woodstock Institute is a national leader advocating financial access, from child savings accounts to capping consumer loans, strengthening CRA and helping craft Illinois' Secure Choice program.  Keep up on the latest research and policy initiatives and help increase financial access with us!

Our Work

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Our materials help educate policymakers and others on initiatives that will increase access to opportunity and close the racial wealth gap in Chicago, in Illinois and nationally. View advocacy

Our reports, fact sheets, and other data covers community reinvestment and redlining, fines and fees, and other financial access issues from 2005 to date. View research

Since 1986 we've analyzed and shared Chicago community loan data, now covering the 7-county metro region. We're also available to provide technical assistance to community organizations and others to use this data for community development. View the Data Portal & Fact Book