First-of-Its-Kind Toolkit Highlights Programs and Services that Provide Washingtonians Pathways to the Middle Class
Mayor Bowser officially kicked off Black History Month with the release of A Fair Shot: A Toolkit for African American Prosperity – a first-of-its kind resource for African American residents that provides an overview of the many District-funded programs and services that support Washingtonians in reaching pathways to the middle class.
“By staying laser-focused on spreading prosperity and creating new pathways to the middle class, we have made tremendous progress,” said Mayor Bowser. “However, we know there is more work to do to ensure African Americans in every corner of the District have a fair shot. With this toolkit, we are ensuring that the hardworking residents who could benefit most from the many resources and programs we have available actually know about them. You have been here for DC, and we are going to continue to be here for you.”
A Fair Shot: A Toolkit for African American Prosperity highlights numerous DC Government programs focused on helping African-American residents and their families thrive – no matter their income or zip code. The toolkit is divided into four sections based on available programming and resources: individual residents, senior citizens, families, and business owners. Each section gives an overview of resources such as the Home Purchase Assistance Program, and lists the DC Government agency that oversees each resource as well as ways residents can connect with the programs.
“For far too long, many African American Washingtonians have felt left out or locked out of the progress happening around them. A Fair Shot: A Toolkit for African American Prosperity serves as a starting point to help get more African American Washingtonians get on the pathway to the middle class,” said Director of the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs Rahman Branch.
On February 24, 2018 at noon, Mayor Bowser, the Deputy Mayor of Greater Economic Opportunity, the Mayor’s Office on African American Affairs, and the Department of Employment Services will host “A Fair Shot: A Prosperity Fair” at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, an exclusive opportunity for DC residents to learn more about the resources and programs outlined in the toolkit.
In 2015, Mayor Bowser announced the creation of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Greater Economic Opportunity (DMGEO), a new DC Government office dedicated to facilitating investment and job creation in overlooked and underserved communities, and hired the first ever Director of the Mayor’s Office of African American Affairs, charging the Director with working across government agencies to identify innovative programs to help address the gaps that exist in income, employment, and educational attainment for African Americans. Since its inception, the DMGEO cluster has more than doubled the DC Government’s spending with small business enterprises to $743 million, invested more than $40 million in innovative workforce programs like the Learn Earn Advance and Prosper (LEAP) Academy and the DC Infrastructure Academy, worked with the U.S. Department of Labor to remove the District’s high-risk grantee status, and partnered with private companies like Uber and Starbucks to bring catalytic economic investments to overlooked and underserved communities.
In January 2018, Forbes.com ranked Washington, DC the number one city where African Americans are doing best economically. The ranking was based on three factors: highest median income for Black residents nationwide, highest homeownership rates, and the highest growth rate of startups (measured by number of employees) over the last five years.