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W.K. Kellogg Foundation releases 'Business Case for Racial Equity in Michigan'

June 15, 2015
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W.K. Kellogg Foundation releases 'Business Case for Racial Equity in Michigan'
The report “The Business Case for Racial Equity in Michigan” was prepared by the Altarum Institute and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Photo via fb.com

Racial inequality in Michigan has a multi-billion-dollar impact on the state, according to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Altarum Institute.

The Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Ann Arbor-based Altarum Institute said last month that they have released the report “The Business Case for Racial Equity in Michigan.”

The report details “the cost of failing to address the legacy of racism in the state and the benefits to children, families and communities of advancing racial equity, including a potential increase in the state's GDP.”

More than half of the nation's children are expected to be children of color by 2020, according to the organizations, citing U.S. Census Bureau data.

They said that “the availability of data on the progress and pain points within health, education and criminal justice are critical to understanding how to shape policies to ensure stronger health, education and economic security outcomes for Michigan's children and families.”

"Our legacy of racial division has created inequities that continue to contribute to our state's fiscal deficiencies," said La June Montgomery Tabron, president and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"This report lays out the potential benefits to business, government and the economy of focusing on racial healing and addressing racial inequities.”

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Altarum Institute drew on research from Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, Brandeis University, Harvard University and Altarum Institute.

The report also serves as a complement to the 2013 national report "The Business Case for Racial Equity."

The organizations shared several estimates from their report, which is available online.

  • If the average person of color achieved the average income of their white counterparts at any age, total Michigan earnings would increase by 7.5 percent or $16.2 billion (2012 projection). If the earnings gaps were eliminated, the increased earnings would raise the state's economic output by a comparable percentage for an increase of $31.2 billion in state GDP
  • Addressing the gaps in health disparities between people of color and whites could save the state $2.03 billion in excess medical costs and $1.39 billion in lost productivity.
  • If 70 percent of children of color from birth through age 3 in Michigan who are estimated to be "at risk" achieved school readiness, the present value of lifetime savings would be $4.5 billion.

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