Strategic Investing for Economic Empowerment

Apr 26, 2022

The life insurance industry believes everyone, no matter their age, job, income, gender, or race, deserves the chance to build financial certainty.

Unfortunately, inequities have prevented many Americans from accessing established pathways to financial security.

America’s life insurance companies are partnering with ACLI’s Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative to take concrete steps to achieve greater economic empowerment of financially underserved communities across the country.

For example, CUNA Mutual Group has embarked on several initiatives in Madison, Wis., where we are headquartered.

According to employers and leaders in Dane County where Madison is located, the primary local economic stability issue is the shortage of affordable housing near workers’ jobs.

To address the shortfall, CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CUNA Mutual, pledged $1 million to help the Dane Workforce Housing Fund. The fund is working to create 500 new, multifamily workforce housing units over the next three years and to keep that housing affordable for the next 15 years. These units will target households whose incomes fall between 40% and 80% of the area’s median income.

Another key contributor to financial uncertainty in Madison is a lack of investment capital to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. According to the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM), of the 9,755 employers with more than one employee in Dane County in 2017, just 39 or .4% were Black-owned.

To facilitate and nurture opportunities for Black-owned firms, CUNA Mutual’s Foundation has invested $1 million to each of two local initiatives: the Black Business Hub (Hub) and the Center for Black Excellence and Culture (Center).

The Hub, a program led by the ULGM, will focus on incubating, accelerating and networking for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) entrepreneurs.

The Center’s mission is to educate Madison-based firms on methods to attract and retain Black talent, as well as provide local Black professionals with opportunities to collaborate and build wealth.

Through strategic investments like these, CUNA Mutual and the life insurance industry are helping to enhance prosperity and financial security across generations.

Alexzandra Shade

Alexzandra N. Shade is Director, Corporate Social Responsibility for CUNA Mutual Group.