Living Cities


Living Cities is a collaborative of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, fostering transformational cross-sector relationships to close racial income and wealth gaps. The organization partners with cross-sector leaders to imagine and create a USA in which all people are economically secure, building wealth and living abundant, dignified, and connected lives. 

In 2017, Prosperity Now published a ground-breaking study, The Road to Zero Wealth. One of the key findings was that if all factors remained constant, then the median Black-American household would have a net worth of zero by 2053. Living Cities engaged Figure 8 Thinking to perform a landscape scan and analysis related to determine the role that philanthropy might play to interrupt that trajectory and narrow the racial wealth income gap.


Provide Living Cities with critical input and models to guide the philanthropy sector’s decisions and activities with the private sector and government policymakers to close the racial wealth income gap.


Qualitative analysis through thoughtful conversations and interviews with more than 30 leaders who were Black fund managers, Black founders and policy leaders. The goal of these interviews and conversations was to deeply explore and uncover the historic and current state of Black fund management and investment in Black businesses. 

Beyond qualitative analysis, Figure 8 Thinking provided actionable steps and recommendations to approach the ways in which philanthropy could disrupt entrenched systems that yield insufficient results for people of color.


Figure 8 Thinking produced a field guide, Radical Collaboration for Black Wealth Creation, for philanthropic institutions looking to invest differently, shift how capital is deployed within the market, and converge with Black fund managers and Black founders. It includes future scenarios and experiments that Living Cities could deploy with the private sector, Black fund managers and Black founders. The report is an actionable tool and guide to address Prosperity Now’s sobering research.