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Community Highlights

North Carolina: Highlights From Durham

Pictured: Kevin Dancy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Jeanne Bonds, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Daniel Davis, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis; Jason Keller, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Black Communities Conference Marks a Historic First

On April 24th, the Institute for African American Research and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, both at the University of North Carolina, hosted the first multi-disciplinary conference at the Carolina Theatre in Durham to connect academic researchers and black communities across the nation. By creating new collaborations, the conference’s goal was to document, safeguard and enhance the life of these communities.

The event was organized by the Kenan Institute’s affiliated center, NCGrowth, the Southern Historical Collection and The Center for the Study of the American South.

Mark Mullinix, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

The Tuesday plenary was hosted by the Federal Reserve System and included a key note by First Vice President Mark Mullinix. “The intellectually diverse audience at the conference was a testament to the importance and the complexity of the challenges and opportunities under discussion,” said Mullinix. “It was a pleasure to introduce the attendees to the mission of the Federal Reserve, the community development function, and the professionals from four Reserve Banks who focused on workforce development and the value of strategic partnerships to identify opportunities for communities.”

Jeanne Milliken Bonds, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; Tony Davis, Federal Reserve Bank of New York; and, Jason Keller, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago presented on “Investing in America’s Workforce,” a collaboration of all 12 Federal Reserve Banks and the Board of Governors that began in 2016. Together with the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, the Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, the collaboration is exploring regional aspects of improving workforce outcomes and investments through research. In October 2017, a national conference was held in Texas, and in November 2018, the book, “Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers,” will be released.


“The sessions at the conference were designed to promote conversation on some of the most crucial issues facing members of the black community,” said Bonds, senior manager, regional community development. “The Federal Reserve was honored to be asked to present on our collective efforts around workforce development as well as focus on various research and practice topics across community development and across the country.”

Later in the day, Federal Reserve community development professionals presented on different research and practice topics, including: “The Racial Wealth Divide,” Lowell Ricketts, Faith Weekly, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; “Seizing the Opportunity for Equitable and Inclusive Redevelopment,” Kevin Dancy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; “Diverse Practices for Community Development Corporations,” Jeanne Milliken Bonds, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond; and “Racial Equity and the SPARCC Initiative,” Naomi Cytron, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

“It’s not news to this audience that many communities don’t have people who have the same access to educational and work opportunities,” Mullinix told the attendees. “That matters not only for the well-being of the individuals that live in those communities, but also for the well-being of our society as a whole.”

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