Urban Institute

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Gregory Gray reflects on a lifetime of public service

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer


“I think the one thing that links most of my career in public service has been some type of advocacy or support for communities of color and low-income communities,” says Gregory Gray, looking back at his many years of life and service in the public sector. Gray’s service has included stints with the Minneapolis Urban League, the Minnesota House Minority Caucus, Community Action of Minneapolis, and the Legislative Commission to End Poverty By 2020, as well as working with former Minnesota State Representative Neva Walker on immigration issues. Gray is currently serving as the chief compliance officer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. At Human Services, Gray said, “I head up both the legal department — the internal audit department, our appeals area, our contracts and procurement department, the ethics office, the privacy office — and regulatory areas that hopefully keep the agency on the straight and narrow in terms of abiding by policies and procedures. “But at the same time, since I serve on the senior management team there, I get to have some influence over policy on those areas that I care about, whether it’s health care, issues relative to welfare, a variety of issues that still impact low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.”

One effort of which Gray appears to be particularly proud is the report issued by the Legislative Commission to End Poverty By 2020. Continue Reading →

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Racial wealth gap grows


Why have middle-income Blacks and Hispanics seen little, if any, improvement in their economic status relative to Whites? New research from the Urban Institute’s Opportunity and Ownership Project points to an ever-widening wealth chasm. In 2010, White families averaged six times the wealth of Black and Hispanic households ($632,000 versus $98,000 and $110,000, respectively), up from a five-to-one ratio in 1983. Wealth is total assets, such as bank and retirement accounts and home value, minus debts, including mortgages, student loans, and credit-card balances. The income gap, by comparison, is much smaller. Continue Reading →

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