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Indy women selected to inaugural cohort aimed at improving racial wealth gap

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A national organization is adding two Indiana women to a new cohort aimed at improving the racial wealth gap. The Highland Project is bringing together Black women leaders from around the country to make it happen.

The 15 women selected make up an inaugural cohort to improve racial multigenerational wealth.

Research from the Highland Project shows Black women under the age of 35 have an average wealth of $101. White men in that same age range: more than $22,000.

Katara McCarty, one of the 15 selected, said they’re working to improve that figure.

“Throughout history, we’ve been at the forefront of movements of moving the needle forward,” said McCarty.

The Highland Project conducted a study polling more than 700 women about how systemic racism impacts the wealth building. The poll showed wealth added up to more than dollars and cents.

Topping the list was protecting voting rights, fighting racism and discrimination; improving k-12 education and post-secondary opportunities; ending racial profiling; and holding law and judicial systems accountable.

“As Black and brown women, it is very difficult to try to rise when you’re facing those systems of oppression every single day. And trying to navigate that it impacts our mental and emotional health greatly,” she said.

Those selected for the cohort are receiving a $100,000 investment to build their visions. Many are using the funds to build on their current platform. For McCarty, it’s her Exhale app.

Launched after a summer of unrest following George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry and Breonna Taylor’s deaths, her app is designed to specifically meet the mental health needs of women of color.

“I’m optimistic about what the Highland Project is doing and investing in Black women,” she said.

Another Indianapolis woman will be part of the cohort — Carolene Mayes, former State Representative and current CEO of Inspiring Leadership LLC and Black Leadership and Legacies Incorporated.

The cohort officially begins in June of next year.