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.  

Economic Justice Awards

Join us June 10 to celebrate wins and plan for the future

We’re thrilled to celebrate the passage of the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act and Predatory Loan Prevention Act this spring, thanks to the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and a movement of consumer advocates.

Our first event with new CEO Horacio Mendez also marks an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to building a more just economy for communities of color and lower income people.As we celebrate, we also plan to introduce a new dialogue around the past, present and future of redlining and reinvestment:

Hope Unrealized: How Decades of Federal Policy to Combat Racial Segregation Have Failed to “Change the Map”

After 4 decades of creating our Community Lending Fact Book, we decided to look at trends since the 1980s. What happened? What didn’t? How can we do better? Register & learn more at

resource guide cover

Avoid Unfair Lending Practices: a resource guide

Our new financial resource guide, Affordable Alternatives to Payday 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

Gov Pritzker at podium speaking on IL CRA after signing

Community Reinvestment Law Takes Aim at Lending Disparities

Governor Pritzker signed the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act into law, making Illinois the second state with oversight to ensure equitable investment.  Read more

Economic Impact 36% cap report title

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 in 2021, 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.

Statement on Black Lives

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.

Statement Issued June 3, 2020