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.

This past year we saw constructive action result from the national outrage at George Floyd’s murder in 2020 including a hopeful response in Illinois and Chicago with passage of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act, Illinois CRA and Chicago’s Lending Equity Ordinance. But there’s much more to do.

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Now is a good time to discuss what’s next for the Community Reinvestment Act as federal bank regulators review comments on proposed CRA regulatory reform. Join us for a virtual ‘lunch and learn’ on the topic with two experts representing a diversity of thought on the past, present and future of CRA: Calvin Bradford and Warren W. Traiger, hosted by Horacio Mendez.

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Each year we analyze home and small business lending data for Chicago and the metro region and share it on our Data Portal. In 2020, we found that lending disparities grew in the Chicago region, while overall loan volume increased mostly due to refinance loans.

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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