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.

Federal CRA reform process has begun

The FDIC released proposed rules for an interagency Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) reform process today. The long-awaited proposal represents the most recent of many stalled efforts to update this anti-redlining law.

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Thank you for joining us June 7!

Woodstock Institute’s honoree Sarah Brune summed up the 2022 Economic Justice Awards fittingly in her speech:

My parents always told me that if you work hard and treat people well, you will succeed in life. I want to live in a country where that is true for everyone, not just those with privilege, wealth, or status. Past efforts such as the Community Reinvestment Act, the end of contract buying, and other reforms show us that it can be done. But we can’t rest on these past reforms... We have to push for our own change, come up with our own innovations, and think for ourselves. It’s our time to carry the torch from those before us.

Congratulations again to our honorees  Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch and to Brune, the policy director at NHS Chicago and thank you to our sponsors and all who were able to join us. Next year we are excited to mark Woodstock Institute's 50th anniversary—watch for more details!

5 pix of small groups from Economic Justice Awards

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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 >


Game Changer or Consolation Prize?

Join us Wednesday, May 11 at noon central time for a virtual Brown Bag Lunch discussion on Community Benefit Agreements with experts who have relevant banking, regulatory, legal, fair housing, advocacy and policy experience.

With banks merging at an unprecedented rate, it's an excellent time to take stock of CBAs - our panel includes several folks who have been involved in CBAs in the past few months.

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New media campaign to reach more consumers

Woodstock and its partners want to reach people where they are on their financial journey.

To do that, we’ve launched a 3-month campaign that leverages multiple media streams including radio, audio streaming, social media, billboards, transit shelters, and community outreach to direct consumers to the resources available at, prompting them to share their story and inviting them to join the advocacy network.

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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

a child looking up at their piggy bank

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

Black Lives Matter

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.