Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
The well-documented patterns of systemic racism in our country permeate our nation’s institutions, including those systems related to banking and finance. These institutions that claim to be just are instead built with biases both seen and unseen, and we must all do our part to correct injustices everywhere they exist.
For the Office of the Chicago City Treasurer, that means reaffirming our belief that Black Lives Matter, continuing to lead on our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and taking concrete steps to eradicate the structural racism that pervades our economic and governmental systems.
We pledge to:
Invest in Black neighborhoods through the Catalyst Fund. This $75 million fund social impact fund powers our work to transform the economic landscape of underserved communities, and we will invest in the small, Black-owned businesses that are the lifeblood of the South and West Sides.
Do business with companies that live up to our values. Our groundbreaking broker-dealer selection process adds firms’ commitments to diversity and inclusion to our evaluation criteria and removes company names, ensuring a fairer and more equitable process that results in selections that align with our constituents.
Increase programming designed to provide financial education to underserved communities. Through financial wellness programs, the annual Small Business Expo, and programs targeted at youth education, we are intentionally extending our outreach to Black Chicagoans and ensuring they have access to the tools and resources that many other Chicagoans take for granted.
Demand change from the private industry. In June 2020, our office partnered with Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs to announce the creation of the Advancing Equity in Banking Commission, which will examine policies and practices that perpetuate racism in banking and propose changes to correct these injustices.
Listen. Now more than ever, it is imperative that government leaders listen to the needs of the Black community and take action on community-initiated ideas. We pledge to listen without assumptions and collaboratively address the needs of Black communities in the ways that they want.
The Treasurer’s Office conducts investment trading activity through a list of approved broker-dealers that are selected through an annual RFI questionnaire. Historically, the office has looked to include firms whose ownership structures are predominantly made up of minorities, women and veterans. While ownership metrics are an important barometer to measure impact, we knew we could develop a better measurement system to ensure that the companies we do business with reflect the people of Chicago.
In 2019, as part of a completely new and groundbreaking RFI process, our office created a broker-dealer scorecard that focuses on a firm’s corporate profile, execution metrics, research capabilities, compliance issues and now, for the first time, gives significant weight to a firm’s overall efforts in diversity, inclusion and corporate social responsibility.
Annual Investment Symposium
In 2019, the Treasurer’s Office held the first ever Broker-Dealer Symposium. The event focused on Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility and was designed to bring the city’s broker-dealers together to learn about the Office’s goals and announce the new broker-dealer scorecard, which scores companies based on their commitment to diversity.