Throughout 2022, Woodstock Institute worked to advance economic justice and racial equity. We advocated for stronger consumer protections, produced research that sheds light on financial disparities, and brought together stakeholders to collaborate on addressing financial sector discrimination.

Woodstock Institute celebrated two major legislative wins in 2021 with the passing of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA) and the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act (IL-CRA). As the result of decades of advocacy, research, and coalition-building, these laws have the potential to help undo a legacy of financial discrimination in Illinois by facilitating wealth-building in low- and moderate-income communities.

The extent to which these communities will receive the full intended benefits of these reforms depends on advocates’ ability to maintain pressure against moneyed interests throughout their implementation and enforcement processes. We’ve already witnessed various attempts at undermining these laws, ranging from weak enforcement standards at best and blatant sabotage at worst.

As a result, in 2022 we advocated for and defended these policies by demonstrating their potential to make a real difference in people’s lives and help communities of color build and maintain wealth.

On top of these efforts, we continue to maintain, update, and train users on our Community Lending Data Portal. Over four decades of analyzing data on lending in Chicago demonstrates how little has changed despite extensive efforts to address racial disparities in finance. With this data, we aim to ensure community members have easy access to the knowledge needed to decipher the lending disparities created by our financial system.

Finally, we want to express gratitude for the continued support of our allied community organizations and grassroots leaders, our donors, and our staff and board, without whom none of our efforts would be possible.