Treasury releases Equity Action Plan report outlining how it is building the infrastructure necessary to identify barriers to equal opportunity and strengthen delivery of programs and services to better reach historically underserved communities.
WASHINGTON — Today, consistent with Executive Order (EO) 13985, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its Equity Action Plan. This report outlines how the Department is building the infrastructure necessary to identify and reduce barriers to equal opportunity and to help ensure that Treasury programs and services better reach historically underserved communities.
“Since last year, the Treasury Department has taken deliberate steps to ensure that equity is at the center of the work we do and the programs we administer,” said Secretary of the Treasury Janet. L Yellen. “This Equity Action Plan details that work, including implementation of American Rescue Plan Act programs, directing capital to Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions, and bringing on one of the most diverse leadership teams in Treasury’s history, including Treasury’s first-ever Counselor for Racial Equity. Treasury will continue to ensure equity is a priority and work with our partners across the Biden-Harris Administration to build a more fair and just economy.”
In addition to the release of the Equity Action Plan, today Treasury announced that it will create the Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Accessibility to serve as a center of excellence that will develop and drive a cohesive DEIA strategy across Treasury’s Departmental Offices and Bureaus. The Office of DEIA will support Treasury’s many diverse segments including employees of color, women, people with disabilities, military and veterans, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and others. The office will be led by a senior career leader within Treasury, which will be essential to the Department sustaining DEIA work over the long term. This office builds on the important work of the Office of Minority Women and Inclusion (OMWI) as created in the Dodd-Frank Act, championed by Chairwoman Maxine Waters.
Year one equity accomplishments in the Equity Action Plan include:
- Appointment of a Counselor for Racial Equity: In October 2021, Secretary Yellen appointed the Department’s first-ever Counselor for Racial Equity to coordinate all offices and workstreams intended to advance equity and advise the Department on all racial equity policy issues and programs.
- Disbursement of Economic Impact Payments and Advance Child Tax Credit Payments: Since the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Department worked diligently to distribute more than 170 million economic impact payments totaling more than $400 billion to help Americans weather the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing over $92 billion in Child Tax Credit payments to the families of more than 61 million children.
- Emergency Capital Investment Program: In December 2021, the Emergency Capital Investment Program announced $8.7 billion in investments in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions in order to increase lending to small and minority-owned businesses, and low- and moderate-income consumers in underserved communities, including rural areas.
- CDFI Rapid Response Program: The CDFI Rapid Response Program provided $1.25 billion to CDFIs to help their communities respond to the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic – offering a historic investment in institutions that reach communities that have traditionally been underserved by the financial sector.
- State Small Business Credit Initiative: The State Small Business Credit Initiative, a $10 billion program to enhance access to credit and other forms of investment for small businesses includes a $2.5 billion allocation for supporting businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including those in communities of color who have historically struggled to access the capital they need to support their businesses.
- Tribal Engagement: Treasury has held numerous Tribal Consultations to ensure that relief funds reach Tribes quickly, and that each Tribe has the flexibility to use relief funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as an extension of respect for Tribal sovereignty. Across programs, Treasury engaged over 8,600 individuals in 65 hours of consultations, information sessions, and other meetings.
- Departmental Strategic Management Processes: Treasury has successfully incorporated equity discussions into the budget formulation cycle and into strategic quarterly organizational performance reviews. The Budget and Strategic Planning Offices will continue to assess these areas as part of the annual performance and budget cycle.
EO 13985 directed the federal government to advance an ambitious equity agenda that matches the scale of the opportunities and challenges the Nation faces. Treasury is working to ensure that families, businesses, and neighborhoods that have been historically excluded from economic opportunities or experienced persistent poverty are fully included in the Nation’s economic recovery and future growth.