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A Message from the Director

As we are opening a near year, we are also experiencing the tragedy of the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. It was a sad day in our nation’s history and highlights the ever-widening divisions within the country.

Despite the shocking and unprecedented moment in American history, Congressional leaders were undeterred and fulfilled their constitutional duty. As our elected officials and community leaders aim to address the political divide, the Social Policy Institute is also ready to double down on its efforts in reducing disparities in the areas of financial security, health, education and housing through evidence-informed policy and practice.

Although the world is slowly beginning to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we have a long ways to go to advance health and economic equity for the most vulnerable people in our communities. In 2020, long-existing racial, class and gender disparities were exacerbated. Compared to white households, Black individuals were more likely to contract the virus; Hispanic households were more likely to lose their housing; and families with children were unemployed at higher rates than those without—among other alarming statistics. The virus did not create these disparities, nor did the virus target certain people. Instead, the virus widely and publicly exposed deep and unacceptable inequalities and the consequences of structural racism, discrimination and bad policies.

In March, as the enormity of the pandemic became clear, our team quickly adapted to focus its efforts on a robust, evidence-based response to seek understanding of the pandemic’s impact in the moment and, more importantly, over time. Quickly, we launched the multi-wave Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey in the United States and Israel. The surveys have informed blog posts, editorials, international (virtual) presentations, research reports and academic papers—all of which demonstrate the unequal social and economic devastation caused by the virus. These findings have also provided evidence for important policy conversations at local, national and global levels. This is how change happens.

Understanding the history and current impact of discrimination and exclusion is critical to the recovery and future of our communities, including healing political divides. The Social Policy Institute is committed to collaborating with incredible community, academic, corporate, nonprofit and civic partners to identify, test and implement promising solutions. We believe change is not only possible, it is necessary.

Thank you for your partnership this year and always. We look forward to continuing our progress together in 2021.

In partnership and with appreciation,

Michal Grinstein-Weiss
Director, Social Policy Institute