The Wall Street Project was founded in 1996 by Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., and the Citizenship Education Fund; it was officially launched by Rev. Jesse Jackson and prominent minority business owners on January 15, 1997, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday.
The Wall Street Project challenges Corporate America to end the multi-billion dollar trade deficit with minority vendors and consumers, while working to ensure equal opportunities for culturally diverse employees, entrepreneurs and consumers.
“The Wall Street Project is not an end in itself,” says Rev. Jackson, “nor a means to an end. It is an evolutionary process by which we view people of color and women as ‘value added’ and a mutually beneficial proposition to American business.
“The road to shared economic security travels through two-way trade, where all are included, and none are left in the margins of the marketplace. Industry by industry, the quantifiable gaps in opportunity and in access to capital for people of color-owned businesses define our agenda.
“Just as America did not realize how good professional sports could be until athletes of all colors could play, American business will not maximize its growth potential until all businesses have an equal opportunity to compete on an even playing field, where the rules are public and the goals are clear.
That is the goal of the Wall Street Project.” The Wall Street Project uses Operation Breadbasket’s model of research, education, negotiation, and reconciliation to achieve its mission to promote inclusion, opportunity and economic growth by encouraging public and private industries to:
• Provide more business opportunities for minority and women-owned companies on Wall Street and throughout the financial services industry
• Improve hiring, promotion and retention practices
• Name more minorities to corporate boards
• Allocate more capital to minority companies
• Promote intra-trade relationships among diverse businesses
• Increase funding for educational scholarships, and voter registration education
• Increase financial literacy in minority and/or underserved communities through the work of the One Thousand Churches Connected program