The Inclusive Economy

Wed 02 Jun 2021

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in how government and philanthropic organizations can work together to achieve social goals. Working together, however, is not a straightforward task. Government and philanthropies have different perspectives and emphases that need to be understood and addressed to cooperate effectively.

The effect COVID -19 has had on families, businesses, and communities are significant. If we are going to recover fully โ€” and come out on the other side to a more equitable future โ€” we need to understand the crucial roles government, philanthropy, and technology play in building healthy communities and a more inclusive economy. As we continue to navigate the impacts of COVID-19, strategic cash infusions are more crucial than ever โ€” and every institution must do its part to supporting families, businesses, and communities.

Government plays a key role in creating the market rules and can also work alongside businesses to address the market failures that hurt all sectors in the long run. So far, the federal response has been uneven and unfair. Thousands of communities โ€” especially underserved communities โ€” have been left out of federal relief efforts. The previous administration signed the legislation extending the application deadline for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Federal aid intended to help small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic; yet, the program has mostly been a disappointment for local economies.

While the federal government has a role in creating a more inclusive and equitable future, other institutions are responsible for rebuilding economies.

Philanthropy is well-positioned to leverage expertise, technology, and partnerships to support families, businesses, and communities. Philanthropy plays a crucial role in two main areas. The first is to build resilience, which would enable people, communities, and institutions to be prepared for, withstand, and emerge stronger from shocks and chronic stresses. The second is to advance and promote inclusive economies that expand opportunities for more shared prosperity, especially for those facing the most significant barriers to promoting their well-being.

Governments, too, can leverage new technologies to create more inclusive communities by developing systems that ensure benefits and services are accessible to all residents who need them.

Questions remain about how and where new technologies can contribute to equity and inclusion and build upon existing systems without recreating the past disparities.

The pandemic has highlighted the types of technology needed to support communities to create a more equitable economy.

  • Technology facilitates and promotes economic mobility: By leveraging technology and advances in payment platforms, social service organizations can improve access, usage, and disbursement of strategic cash funds, focusing on increased equity and inclusion.
  • Innovative technology engages the local community and shares useful resources and information: Through increased digital capacity and resource sharing, social service organizations can improve their service delivery effectiveness and efficiency while ensuring more equitable access and usage.
  • Technology that supports local communities: Technology that measures outcomes and impact is essential to change strategies to help institutions deliver the desired results. It also provides institutions with insights and useful data to understand much more about the people they serve. Insights gathered would allow for better policies and encourage investments to support more inclusive and effective community economic development and economic mobility.

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