Beginning in 2006 with a planning grant from the Ford Foundation, Dr. William Spriggs launched an effort focused on addressing the racial wealth gap. It included an initiative to train a new group of scholars to address wealth accumulation and asset building in low-income communities and communities of color. The Howard University Center on Race and Wealth (CRW)'s early activities included a Summer Institute for Research on Race and Wealth for junior researchers and networking with established scholars in the field. As the Ford Foundation's initiative, Building Economic Security over a Lifetime (BESOL), matured, Dr. Charles Betsey and Dr. Rodney Green led the CRW in broadening its mission to provide research and technical assistance to state and regional members of the asset-building coalition by enlisting experienced university-based researchers across the country to conduct studies that supported the work of Ford-funded grantees. The Center's activities led to research and policy initiatives at the state and local level to enhance asset building and reduce the racial wealth disparities. Dr. Janet Griffin-Graves served as the Center’s Program Director until 2020.

The mission of the Center on Race and Wealth is to enrich research, dialogue, and policy formation related to asset building, wealth accumulation, racial wealth disparities, racial disparities in law enforcement, poverty, and inequality. Recently CRW has been in cooperation with two leading centers, Institute for Research on Poverty (IRP) and Center for Financial Security (CFS) of the University of Wisconsin in Madison in organizing workshops to increase the participation of researchers from under-represented groups in poverty, disability, and retirement research. A recent project that examines the racial and income equity impacts of DC housing programs has received funding from Robert Woods Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Dr. Charles L. Betsey

Dr. Betsey is professor emeritus, former department chair, and former co-director of the Center on Race and Wealth at Howard University. From 2009 to 2012 he served as interim dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. His recent publications include "African Americans in Economics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Since the Kerner Commission Report of 1968"; "Black-White Differences in Consumption: An Update and Some Policy Implications", an article in honor of former Northwestern University economist Dr. Marcus Alexis; and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Transaction Press). His current research interests include racial wealth disparities and reparations.

Dr. Rodney D. Green

Dr. Green has served as Professor of Urban Economics at Howard University since 1977 and, since 1995, as Founder and Executive Director of the Howard University Center for Urban Progress, a unit designed to strengthen the University’s urban research, program evaluation, community service, and community development agenda at local, federal, and international levels. He also recently served as Chair of the Howard University Department of Economics for seven years, and co-Principal Investigator of the Ford Foundation-supported Howard University Center on Race and Wealth. He has authored or co-authored three scholarly books (including a study of racial and economic segregation in public housing) and over 50 journal articles (including his recent seminal article on police accountability and civilian oversight in Prince George’s County, Maryland). He has served as Principal Investigator in over 70 externally funded projects with a value of over $34 million with an emphasis on community and economic development, racial inequalities, and youth development. Dr. Green has been the lead evaluator of HOPE VI CSSP programs for the District of Columbia, as well as for HOPE VI CSSP programs in Virginia and Florida, and currently leads the research partnership with CASA in Action for the Byrne grant in Langley Park, MD. He is currently engaged in a study of the efficacy of civilian review boards in enhancing police accountability across 25 jurisdictions in his role as a W.E.B. Du Bois Scholar of the National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice. He has actively participated in labor, social justice, and anti-racist movements since 1968, including the modern-day campaign for police reform and against mass incarceration/criminalization.