Our Commitments/
Making opportunity universal and sustainable through

Economic Equity

Enhance the jobs, careers, assets, and futures of BIPOC, women, and low-wage workers so they can thrive in a crisis-laden era

Easing the Struggle of America’s Workers

More than 44 million working households—representing more than 90 million people across the United States—struggle to pay their bills each month. Nearly four in 10 households can’t withstand an unexpected monthly expense greater than $400. The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare and compounded this fragility in the financial well-being of so many American families.

the text "The Rockefeller Foundation" in RF dark green with the globe logo and "Economic Equity" in purple

Even before the mass layoffs in early 2020, more than 28 million Americans lacked health insurance.

Unforeseen expenses—a home or auto repair, an emergency hospital visit—can so easily become insurmountable obstacles and have cascading effects on a family’s ability to secure or maintain housing, childcare, food, transportation, and healthcare. This is the picture of economic insecurity in the United States.

  • 44million

    working households struggle to meet their families’ basic needs

  • 90million

    Americans—families where at least one person works fulltime—have trouble paying the bills each month

  • 40%

    of Americans lack $400 in savings to address emergencies

A Closer Look

When it’s tough to get by, it’s even tougher to get ahead.

Tens of millions of Americans—by some counts, more than 40% of all households—cannot afford the basic expenses of food, housing, transportation, childcare and communications. The households—known by the acronym ALICE, for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed—are working Americans who earn more than the official federal poverty measurement, yet still can’t keep up with the rising cost of living.

Our Approach to Economic Opportunity

At The Rockefeller Foundation, our strategy is grounded in two pathways: identifying and scaling public and private sector economic policies and mobilizing private capital in people and places through place-based grantmaking and investing.

Milestone Tracking

Our Work and Impact

The Rockefeller Foundation has expanded opportunity for America’s working families for over 100 years. From investments in big bets to small businesses, the Foundation has been strategic in addressing the structural barriers to equal access and equal opportunity.

black and white image of men with a yellow timeline
The Rockefeller Foundation’s Otis Rolley, Senior Vice President, U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative, met with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Founder of the Center for Antiracist Research. The two discussed the goals and urgency of the Foundation’s $1.5 million grant to Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research Center.

Recent Updates

In February 2020, the Foundation announced a comprehensive, Foundation-wide $65 million investment to help 10 million low-wage workers and their families meet their basic needs and have a path to a better future. The core of this investment is our U.S. Equity and Economic Opportunity Initiative.