Equity Challenge: Week 16
In week 16 of our Challenge, we examine structural racism by delving into economic mobility and opportunity.
This week, we feature the Wisconsin ALICE Report. ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, describes households earning more than the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) but less than the state’s basic cost of living, which the report calls the ALICE Threshold. The latest report was published in July 2020 and features data collected in 2018.
United Way of Wisconsin, 40 local United Ways that make up our network, Thrivent, and U.S. Venture sponsor the report every two years to help us better understand the needs of individuals and families in our communities. Throughout Wisconsin, local United Ways are committed to improving the lives of ALICE families and those in poverty by promoting resources for health, education, and financial stability. Addressing these issues will not only help advance the quality of life for those suffering from continued financial hardship, but also uplift communities and our state.
Week 16: Economic Mobility & Opportunity
  • Did you learn something new or surprising from the ALICE report and other data?

  • How do these data and today’s Challenge resources align with your own understanding of economic opportunity and mobility in your community?

  • What supports have been available to you in your own cultural background that have helped overcome financially difficult times? How might we create similar opportunities for others who do not have these supports available to them? 
In Wisconsin, even prior to the pandemic, the Wisconsin ALICE Report found that thirty-four (34%) of Wisconsin’s 2.4 million households struggled to afford necessities like housing, childcare, food, transportation, and technology. A further breakdown of the data reveals a stark disparity along racial and ethnic lines. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Hispanic households and sixty-six percent (66%) of Black households in Wisconsin fall below the ALICE threshold, compared to thirty-two percent (32%) of white households.
While we don’t yet have all the data, it’s very likely that more households are struggling to meet their basic needs now, as families have lost jobs and loved ones and face new health care costs or prolonged illness due to COVID-19. This means many parents are deciding whether to pay rent and bills or buy food.
The ALICE Report is just one measure of economic hardship that breaks down differently for different racial and ethnic groups. This week’s Challenge encourages you to examine this and other data and explore resources that assess some reasons why disparities exist and how they can be addressed.
Week 16 Challenge
With the questions and definitions above in mind, do at least one of the following:
Wisconsin ALICE Interactive Dashboard (based on 2018 data)
ALICE households live in every county in Wisconsin — urban, suburban, and rural — and they include people of all genders, ages, and races/ethnicities, across all family types. However, some groups are more likely to be ALICE than others. Use the Demographics Tool on the United For ALICE website to explore the composition of ALICE households across the state.

A note about county-level data: If a county does not have data on certain racial or ethnic groups available, that is not an indication that racial or ethnic group is completely absent from the community. Because of standard data practices and the importance of preserving confidentiality for households in smaller communities, census data that registered fewer than 100 households in a demographic group will not display in these dashboards.
A Look at Housing Inequality and Racism in the U.S. (4-minute read)
This article provides a closer look into housing inequalities throughout the US in both a historical and present-day context.
Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys (8-minute read)
This article examines widely held beliefs about income inequality and explores the disproportionate impact that racism has on boys.
The Racial Wealth Gap in America (3:33)
Though the United States is one of the wealthiest countries, to many Americans this prosperity stays out of reach. This video argues Black and Hispanic people who are striving to make a better life for themselves and their families are not given the same asset building opportunities.
Redlining and Racial Covenants: Jim Crow of the North (8:00)
This PBS Minnesota segment describes the history of redlining and racial covenants in housing development, and its long-term impact.
By Every Measure: Racial Wealth Gap (34:05)
The typical white family has 10 times the wealth of the typical Black family and seven times the wealth of the typical Latinx family. Hosts Tarik Moody and Reggie Jackson explain how this income disparity was created and how it affects Milwaukee's ability to attract and retain Black professionals. Then, Tarik talks to two entrepreneurs from the private sector working to close the racial wealth gap.

Share your reflections or additional resources about today’s topic on social media using #EquityChallenge - or send us a note at unitedway@unitedwayracine.org
Learn more about the Challenge and review weekly topics by visiting
Local Resources
A weekly book discussion group reading books on race and racism.

A yearlong, faith-based series of interactive and multidimensional public events. The series goal is to increase our understanding of how we think and feel about racism, resulting in actions that can help to transform us as individuals and the systems of racism in our country. 

The YWCA of SEW Wisconsin offers a variety of trainings about different facets of equity, such as structural racism, cultural differences, social transformation and more.

Higher Expectations engages community partners, aligns efforts, and maximizes resources to promote excellence and equity in education and employment outcomes in Racine County.
Hear from Deanna Singh, Founder/Chief Change Agent of Flying Elephant and her husband Justin on how to talk to your children about race to help children develop a healthy understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion.


The Legacy of Redlining in Racine Event Series

Join The Higher Expectations team along with some of our local and national partners as we examine the present-day impact of redlining in Racine.

Please register for the event series. It will take place on Monday, May 17 and 24 at 12:00 p.m.

What the Heck is Mental Wellness?

Virtual Panelist Q&A via Zoom with Compassionate Peer Support and Training co-owners, Luann Simpson and Lynelle Saunders.

Wednesday, May 19 at 6 p.m.

Virtual Panelist Q&A via Zoom with Barb Farrar, Executive Director at The LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin and guest panelists.

Wednesday, June 16 at 6 p.m.

Lunch and Learn: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Autism

Good Friend Inc is hosting a conversation on employers understanding of “neurodiversity” as it applies to DEI – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Register here via Eventbrite.
Tuesday, May 18 at 12:00 p.m.
Make your commitment to inclusion—the active, intentional and ongoing engagement with diversity—official by signing our Declaration of Inclusion Pledge. This pledge is to respect and appreciate all aspects of any person, including race, religion, skin color, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, age, parental status, work and behavioral styles, and the perspectives of each individual as shaped by their nation, culture and experiences. You will also receive our quarterly diversity newsletter to build your "equity muscle."