Color of Wealth 2014 Graphic

The 2014 Color of Wealth Summit, held at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., engaged Members of Congress, Congressional staff, the media, and the public in a dialogue about the racial wealth gap, its effect on marginalized households, its impact on the U.S. economy, and solutions for closing the gap.

The opening reception included the presentation of the inaugural Asset Builder Champion Awards. The awards recognized four influential leaders who have dedicated their careers to advancing policies and programs to help families build assets and obtain economic security.

2014 Asset Builder Champions

2014 Asset Builder Champion Awardees

Left to right: Derrick Watkins (host); Britton Loftin (accepted on behalf of Saru Jayaraman); Kilolo Kijakazi; Rep. Barbara Lee; Maya Rockeymoore; Thomas Shapiro; Henry A.J. Ramos



SaruSaru Jayaraman

Co-Founder and Director, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Saru Jayaraman is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC-United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley. After 9/11, together with displaced World Trade Center workers, she co-founded ROC in New York, which has organized restaurant workers to win workplace justice campaigns, conduct research and policy work, partner with responsible restaurants, and launch cooperatively-owned restaurants. ROC now has 13,000 members in 32 cities nationwide. Saru Jayaraman is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.


KililoKilolo Kijakazi

Program Officer, The Ford Foundation

Kilolo Kijakazi’s work focuses on building economic security for working families. Her grant making promotes public support for the creation of universal, progressive savings accounts from birth through retirement, and Social Security reform that improves benefits for low-wage workers. Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2003, Kilolo was a senior policy analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, where she specialized in Social Security. She wrote and presented research and policy papers, testified before Congress, and served as a panelist at the White House Conference on Social Security during the Clinton administration. Kilolo Kijakazi received a Ph.D. in public policy from George Washington University, a M.S.W. with a specialty in community development from Howard University, and a B.A. from Binghamton University.


LeeThe Honorable Barbara Lee (D-CA)

Member of Congress

Rep. Barbara Lee is a forceful and progressive voice in Congress, dedicated to social and economic justice, international peace, and civil and human rights. First elected in 1998 to represent California’s then-9th Congressional District (now the 13th), the Democratic lawmaker has established a reputation for principled and independent stands, unafraid to take on the tough issues and speak her mind for her constituents, for a more just America, and for a safer world. As a social worker by profession, being an advocate for people dealing with the federal bureaucracy has been a priority. Rep. Lee began her political career as an intern in the office of her predecessor, former Congressman and former Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, where she eventually became his Chief of Staff.  Before being elected to Congress, she served in the California State Assembly and in the California State Senate.


ShapiroThomas Shapiro

Director, Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University

Thomas Shapiro directs the Institute on Assets and Social Policy and is the Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University. Professor Shapiro’s primary interest is in racial inequality and public policy. He is a leader in the asset development field with a particular focus on closing the racial wealth gap.  In February of last year he co-authored a groundbreaking study, The Roots of the Widening Racial Wealth Gap: Explaining the Black-White Economic Divide, which statistically validates five “fundamental factors” that together largely explain why white households accumulate wealth so much faster over time than African-American households. Dr. Shapiro received his Ph.D. from Washington University.


Learn more about the 2014 Color of Wealth Summit

Insight logo white copyThe Center for Global Policy Solutions manages the Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative in collaboration with the Insight Center for Community Economic Development and with generous support from the Ford Foundation.