Step Up Savannah, Bank of America, Prosperity Now, & Park Place Outreach

Staff Report

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Today, Step Up Savannah announced a partnership with Prosperity NowPark Place Outreach, andBank of America to host a historic roundtable discussion entitled The State of the Racial Wealth Divide in Savannah onFebruary 3, 2023, at Noon ET. It will be held at the Savannah Cultural Arts Center on 201 Montgomery Street in downtown Savannah.

The event is made possible with support from the Bank of America. Panelists will include experts from Bank of America,Park Place OutreachProsperity Now, the Sapelo Foundation, and Step Up Savannah. Each participant will offer extensive insights on understanding the extent of racial wealth inequity in the City of Savannah and the need to better utilize, invest in, and strengthen organizations of color to address these gaps.

WSAV's Edward Moody will moderate the panel. It will then close with feedback from invited stakeholders.

Within the City of Savannah, Black populations (EDITOR NOTE: Savannah is nearly 53% Black and just 6.5% Latino –Poverty is an almost exclusively Black problem in Savannah), along with a small Latino community, have an asset poverty rate of 43.5% compared to their White counterparts at 19.8% (Prosperity Now, 2022). Asset poverty is defined as households without sufficient net worth to subsist at the poverty level for three months in the absence of income. "BIPOC-led nonprofits have direct proximity to low-wealth communities of color and respond primarily to their needs during times of crisis driven by deep disparities such as the ones highlighted during the pandemic. However, these organizations often attract less funding and have fewer resources available to respond to community needs, which exacerbates an already stressed social safety net, contributes to diluted impact, and a less resilient adaptive community response," said Step Up Savannah Executive Director, Alicia M. Johnson

“We cannot achieve equity without confronting racial inequality,” said Ebony White, Director of Racial Economic Justice at Prosperity Now.  “Whether we are providing support to Black and Brown individuals, families, or businesses, the path to prosperity can only be built with solid bricks of justice. To do so, we need to support the anchor institutions that serve them. When we support businesses, families, and individuals equally, we can raise communities equitably” 

“Bank of America recognizes that the private sector can play a pivotal role in helping our communities, and we are committed to doing more to improve economic opportunity and racial equality within the Savannah Market,” said Patrick O’Neil, president, Bank of America Savannah. “We will continue to focus on the ultimate goal of creating lasting change.”


Since 2009, Step Up has helped thousands of unemployed and under-employed Chatham County residents on the path to financial stability. By providing opportunities for economic mobility among low-wealth families and individuals, the nonprofit seeks to end the cycle of persistent poverty for residents. Step Up Savannah has six direct service programs: AmeriCorps VISTAChatham Apprentice ProgramLevel UpNeighborhood Leadership AcademyPublic Benefits, and the Working Families Network. Since 2006, Step Up Savannah has served over 200,000 individuals through direct services.