Dignity Restoration Project
Structural racism in the housing and financial sectors is a key factor behind the racial wealth gap in the US. In one recent example, homeowners in Detroit were overcharged $600 million in property taxes between 2009 and 2015, a period in which one-third of homeowners in the city lost their homes to foreclosure. The courts found that the overassessments of property value disproportionately impacted Black homeowners, but the city has awarded no compensation to those who lost their homes as a result.
The Dignity Restoration Project (fiscal sponsor: Global Development Incubator) seeks to address this specific harm by giving direct cash transfers to households that were overtaxed, prioritizing those that suffered the most harm. The project’s name was coined by co-founder Prof. Bernadette Atuahene to capture the need for reparations initiatives that put “dispossessed individuals and families in the driver’s seat, allowing them to determine how they are made whole.” The founders see this as a pilot project, intended as both a concrete experiment in repair and as a model of what reparations could look like in cities with similar histories, including DC and New Orleans. In the long term, they envision building out national infrastructure that can provide similar city-level efforts with legal advice, fundraising support, and logistical assistance.
In the absence of holistic, systemic, and federally funded reparations programs, the DRP is a powerful example of how individuals can come together to name and address harms done on the community level.
Recent Grant History