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Racial Equity, Economics, Finance, & Sustainability (REEFS)

Racial Equity, Economics, Finance, & Sustainability (REEFS)


REEFS is an initiative coordinated by Croatan Institute with a growing group of advisers and partners seeking to address structural racism within finance and to integrate racial equity as an explicit factor of analysis and engagement within total portfolio approaches to investing for social impact.

REEFS Roundtable October 1, 2018An initial REEFS Roundtable took place at the Center for Responsible Lending in Durham, NC, in October 2018, as a preconference convening before the inaugural Croatan Forum and following Black Wall Street Homecoming.

More than 30 participants from across the country shared information about field-building initiatives to tackle a wide range of racial issues within finance, investment, and economic development—from long-standing, but rapidly evolving areas such as community finance, minority entrepreneurship, diverse asset management, and shareholder engagement to more emerging efforts to integrate racial equity into angel investment, foundation and endowment management, muni bond finance, ESG analysis, fintech, and impact investing across asset classes. The initiative is also exploring ways to address radical racial resource inequalities among entrepreneurs, poor financial health among minority households, and the lack of racial and ethnic minorities within finance, investment, and sustainable business.

The roundtable discussion provided a forum for participants to explore new opportunities for developing a more ambitious, coordinated research and advocacy agenda on "racial lens" investing, financing inclusive entrepreneurship, and addressing racial equity across the financial value chain. REEFS is currently seeking foundation and sponsorship support in order to fund coordination of the initiative, research studies and the development of new data, future convenings, and action-oriented programs based on our collective learnings.

For more information or to get involved, please contact REEFS@croataninstitute.org.

REEFS Steering Committee

  • Andrea Armeni, Transform Finance
  • Sharlene Brown, Partnership for Responsible Financial Inclusion
  • Eric Darrisaw, OMNI Research
  • Erika Seth Davies, Racial Equity Asset Lab (REAL)
  • Erin Harkless, Cambridge Associates
  • Josh Humphreys, Croatan Institute
  • Mike Lear, Alliance Bernstein
  • Henry McKoy, NC Central University
  • Jessica Norwood, Runway Project
  • Vicki Lee Parker, NC Business Council