The SF Fed’s Commitment to Equity

Cityscape background image with text overlay that reads: Confronting inequities to meet our mission

The San Francisco Fed is dedicated to building an economy that works for everyone and helping ensure all Americans have the opportunity to fully realize their potential. We champion equity because research has demonstrated it supports our congressionally mandated mission to promote a healthy and sustainable economy and support the nation’s financial and payment systems.

Inequities translate into real economic losses—stifling growth, capacity, and resilience by leaving millions of people on the sidelines, underutilizing skills, and missing opportunities for innovation. SF Fed research shows gaps in economic opportunity are costing the U.S. nearly $3 trillion per year in lost economic output, and $70 trillion over the last 30 years. The cost of these gaps continues to rise.

Our country can only reach its full economic potential when all people have equitable access to economic and educational opportunities. To that end, we are using our tools and responsibilities to help create a healthy and inclusive economy and work environment in which all people can fully contribute their talents and skills—regardless of their race, ethnicity, or any other demographic factor.

Our Framework for Change

Our Framework for Change is our commitment to taking action that will result in greater racial and ethnic equity in our organization and the communities we serve across the Federal Reserve’s Twelfth District. The Framework has two major goals: shining a light on the root causes of racial inequity in the United States and tracking the concrete steps we’re taking to make our organization a role model for equity. 

Evidence: Use data, research, and analysis to fully understand the sources of inequality, the efficacy of solutions, and progress over time. Practice: Evaluate and evolve people processes and policies to increase equity and help guard against the influence of potential biases.
Dialogue: Engage in open conversation about evidence, practice, and outcomes with allies and critics to better inform decision-making. Advocacy: While not engaging in policy advocacy, be advocates for big, bold actions and ideas that promote a strong, healthy, and inclusive economy.

We are transparent about our goals, and will publish our progress at the end of each year so that we are accountable to ourselves and to the public we serve. Our goals are audacious, and we recognize we may sometimes fall short in achieving them. But we know that falling short of an audacious goal delivers more change than meeting a modest one.

Evidence

We publish research that examines the root causes and consequences of racial economic disparities, as well as the economic gains from racial equity. In February 2021, SF Fed researchers published “The Economic Gains from Equity,” looking at how gender and racial gaps in economic opportunities impact our national economic output. Here is what the numbers told them:

  • Racial and gender inequities cost the U.S. $2.6 trillion in lost GDP in 2019.
  • The annual costs of inequity will continue to grow, reaching an estimated $3.1 trillion in 2029.
  • Persistent inequities over the past 30 years have added up to $70.8 trillion in lost economic output since 1990.

Our findings show that gender and racial economic equity will be critical to increasing economic output and maintaining global competitiveness.

To deepen our understanding of the economic impact of gender and racial inequities in support of our maximum employment mandate, the SF Fed launched an essay contest for doctoral students. We are seeking essays that address various aspects of gender and racial inequities, their underlying causes, and their economic consequences. The deadline for submissions is December 15, 2021.

Key publications and resources:

Practice

We are evaluating and evolving our people processes and policies to increase equity and help us guard against the influence of potential biases. We are setting new supplier diversity targets to support small, local, women- and minority-owned businesses. We will also continue our Board and Council diversification efforts to ensure members reflect the Twelfth District’s diversity.

Key publications and programs: 

Dialogue

We engage with business and community leaders to share our research, spark discussions, and identify solutions that address the root causes of disparities.

Key publications and events:

Advocacy

While the SF Fed does not engage in policy advocacy, we are advocates for big, bold actions and ideas that promote a strong, healthy, and inclusive economy.

Key publications:

Recent Publications

Economic Letter
How Do Business Cycles Affect Worker Groups Differently?

Economic Letter
Minority Banks during the COVID-19 Pandemic

SF Fed Blog
Creating an On-Ramp for Financial Inclusion

SF Fed Blog
How Are Racial and Gender Gaps Limiting the Full Potential of Your State’s Economy? 

Community Development Blog
A Thriving Labor Force Starts at Birth: The Role of Community Development in Reducing Racial Health Inequities at Birth

Events

August 25, 2021, Virtual Event
Fintech, Racial Equity, and an Inclusive Financial System

September 9, 2021, Racism and the Economy Event Series
Racism and the Economy: Focus on Health

October 14, 2021, Virtual Conference
SF Fed Listens: Equitable Access to Small Business Capital

Questions?

For more information about our racial equity work, please reach out to us at sf.framework.for.change@sf.frb.org

For media inquiries, please contact Tom Flannigan