In 2020, the pandemic and its effects led the Atlanta Fed’s Community and Economic Development (CED) engagement team to rethink its approach to stakeholder engagement and to shift our work, which was deep in specific locations—like Broward County and Panama City—to a broader focus on the impact of COVID-19 on all the southeastern states.

COVID-19 will likely reshape communities and systems for years to come. Research suggests that low- to moderate-income communities and communities of color across income levels often have a hard time rebounding from shocks and stressors. Prior to the pandemic, the Southeast already suffered from low rates of economic mobility. Without intentional efforts to address the region’s economic and racial disparities in outcomes, inequalities could widen further.

To address this challenge, the CED engagement team launched the Inclusive and Resilient Recovery initiative—a webinar and briefing series that curates a regional dialogue on how to support more inclusive and resilient local economies. The series invites experts to lead these discussions and produces a collection of research and data tools to document key information and best practices. A successful and inclusive recovery will require multisectoral collaborations across our region. To that end, this work will target policymakers, philanthropists, business leaders, and practitioners who are engaged in local recovery strategies.

The Inclusive and Resilient Recovery initiative seeks to highlight the following messages and activate supporting strategies to encourage a more inclusive and resilient recovery from the pandemic:

  • Exclusion hurts the economy. Our experts will demonstrate the cost of economic exclusion to address racial disparities.
  • Do not repeat the mistakes from the last recovery. Through case studies, we will spotlight strategies, policies, and programs that resulted in disparate racial impacts and poor recovery following the historic economic downturn.
  • A better future is possible, so do not waste this crisis. Our policy papers will propose actionable strategies and programs that create equitable and inclusive recovery focused on closing racial disparities in outcomes.

In service of these goals, the Atlanta Fed’s CED engagement team launched the Inclusive and Resilient Recovery webinar series in October 2020. We have hosted four webinars that explore the impact of COVID-19 on community development, housing, and small business programs and policies in the Southeast and introduce promising practices to drive an inclusive and resilient recovery.

To date, the panels have focused on research, and practitioners have brought concrete resources and examples of how communities can work toward an inclusive and equitable recovery for communities in the Southeast. We will continue this conversation over the coming year. Recovery will not be quick and how we work together to understand the opportunities and challenges will be key to ensuring an equitable recovery for all. Find out more about our past webinars on the Inclusive and Resilient Recovery initiative page.

Upcoming Inclusive and Resilient Recovery webinar
The next Inclusive and Resilient Recovery webinar on March 25 will explore the Small Businesses of Color Recovery Guide published by the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and Kansas City. Participants will gain resources to deepen their understanding of how to support the small businesses of color that have disproportionately experienced the impact of COVID-19. They will also gain an awareness of a variety of strategies and recommendations to support their long-term resilience.

By Jasmine Burnett, CED research analyst II, Mary Hirt, CED research analyst II, David A. Jackson, CED senior adviser, and Janelle Williams, CED senior adviser