Understanding Roots of Racism – Financial Success – Recap and Resources

Thank you for joining United Way of Central Indiana at our Financial Success session of Understanding the Roots of Racism, an educational series on policies and practices of the past that have created barriers to service, resources and opportunities for Black Americans – many of which still exist today.


In America, we are often told that wealth and financial success are achievable through education, hard work, and personal responsibility. But for Black Americans, racist lending, housing and hiring practices embedded in laws, systems and structures have made the wealth gap nearly impossible to close. Learn more from our panel of financial experts, community leaders and educators about the significant wealth disparities between Black and white families and how we can take bold action toward preventing that gap from expanding – and the steps necessary to work toward closing it – so that every person in our community can find the financial security and success to achieve their full potential.


View the Recording Below:



Resources & Links:


Explained: Episode Three: “The racial wealth gap is where yesterday’s injustice becomes today’s inequality. And it’s growing.”

Brookings: A conversation about the racial wealth gap—and how to address it.

NPR: Rethinking Black Wealth

1619: The Racist Roots of the U.S. Wealth Gap

Freakonomics: Racial Wealth Gap

McKinsey: The economic impact of closing the racial wealth gap

The Racial Wealth Gap: Addressing America’s Most Pressing Epidemic

The Racial Wealth Gap: Business Ownership & Entrepreneurship

Disparities in Wealth by Race and Ethnicity in the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances

Beyond Broke

The Impact of COVID-19 on Small Business Owners: Evidence of Early-stage Losses from the April 2020 Current Population Survey

Shocking Behavior: Random Wealth in Antebellum Georgia and Human Capital Across Generations

The Homestead Act of 1862



Meet Our Panelists:


Ashley Gurvitz

Ashley Gurvitz believes in the power of advocacy and its ability to affect long-lasting change. As a dedicated neighbor to her Indianapolis’ Eastside community, she believes in bringing together neighbors, community stakeholders, and other decision makers to strengthen and improve the quality of life. She also strives to be a good Christian, student, an engaged citizen and provide teachings to equip others to feel empowered.

She enjoys mentoring youth throughout Indianapolis and assist other community initiatives. Before joining the Alliance for Northeast Unification team, Ashley served as the Community Development Manager for Eastern Star Church’s ROCK Initiative. The initiative’s efforts within its first two years provided approximately $5 Million dollars in community projects such as new and rehab single-family home construction; the building of a multi-use facility bringing in new community partnerships; the creation of a fresh food market aimed at tackling the systemic food desert effects; creation of the Arlington Woods Neighborhood Association; and many other high-level social impact, community development projects.

Prior to her role at Eastern Star Church, Ashley served as the Internship Director and a Senior Legislative Assistant for the Indiana House of Representatives. Outside of her professional role, Ashley is also involved with other community organizations such as the Emerging Leaders Project, Kennedy King Memorial Initiative, North Community District Resource Council and the Damien Center. She is part of Indianapolis’ Citizens Police Complaint Board and is President of the Indianapolis Chapter of the Democrat African American Caucus. She is a graduate of IUPUI where obtained her Bachelors in Public Management through the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and is currently in the process of obtaining her Masters in Public Administration focused on policy analysis and urban affairs.


Dr. Terri Jett

Dr. Terri Jett is a Professor of Political Science and Special Assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusivity. Dr. Jett is also an affiliate faculty member of the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Program. She teaches courses on U.S. politics with a focus on the experiences of African Americans and other ethnic minorities such as Black Political Thought and The Politics of Alice Walker. Her research focus is on the post-Civil Rights Movement experiences of African Americans in rural communities in the southern U.S. and she is currently writing on the recent discrimination settlements of Black, Native American, Women and Latino farmers against the United States Department of Agriculture for discrimination and revisiting the conversation that James Baldwin held with Margaret Mead on race 50 years ago. Her expected books are titled “Fighting for Farming Justice: Diversity, Food Access and the USDA” and “Talking About Race: James Baldwin and Margaret Mead Then and Now.”

Dr. Jett has a B.A. in Ethnic Studies and a Masters in Public Administration from California State University, Hayward (now East Bay) and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration from Auburn University. She currently serves on the boards of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU), Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Public Library and Indianapolis-Marion County Land Improvement Bond Bank.


Anthony “Tony” Mason

Anthony “Tony” Mason, is a visionary leader, has a passion for service, and has dedicated his entire career to initiatives designed to enhance the quality of life for Indianapolis residents. Tony is only the third President in the history of the Indianapolis Urban League succeeding Joseph Slash and the late Sam Jones. Prior to joining the Indianapolis Urban League, Tony served as the Relationship Development Director for Companies With A Mission now known as trueU. While working at trueU, Tony recruited companies and nonprofits who benefited from employee life skills, leadership development training programs, and volunteer service opportunities through the Super Service Challenge.

From 2009-2012, Tony served as the Senior Vice President of the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee and was responsible for providing administrative oversight and staff support for the Near Eastside Legacy Project and various community outreach efforts, including neighborhood redevelopment, educational programs, environmental initiatives, cultural arts projects, and human impact initiatives. More than 200,000 Indiana residents, young and old, participated in various Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee and NFL initiatives.

Prior to joining the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, Tony served as the Executive Director of the Circle City Classic for eight years, building upon the Classic’s tradition of staging one of the nation’s largest Black college football events. As Executive Director, Tony led a diverse team that included the Circle City Classic Executive Committee, Organizing Committee, staff, and more than 500 volunteers. Under his leadership, the annual Classic weekend consistently attracted more than 100,000 attendees, generating an estimated economic impact of nearly $15 million for the city of Indianapolis, annually. Additionally, Tony and his team provided nearly $100,000 for scholarships awarded through the Indiana Black Expo/Circle City Classic Scholarship Program, and more than 5,000 youths benefited from various Classic youth initiatives.

Before joining the Circle City Classic staff, he worked in administrative positions with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the Amateur Athletic Union of USA (AAU), and Indiana Black Expo Incorporated, among others.

Tony has received several awards, including the Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Forty under 40 – Indy’s Bright Young Gems” Award, The Center for Leadership Development’s Achievement in Business Award, the Black Coaches and Administrators’ Images of Excellence Award, and The Rev. Charles Williams Award presented at Indiana Sport Corporation’s 2012 Pathfinder Awards Luncheon.

Tony is a member of the Indiana Youth Institute’s Board of Directors. Previously he served on the boards of the Indianapolis Urban League, the Indiana AAU’s United States Sports and Fitness Association Program, and the Indiana AAU Boys’ Basketball Committee. He was also a founding member of the Indianapolis Urban League’s Young Professionals.

Tony earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Miami University in Ohio.

He and his wife Joy Mason have two sons, Miles and John Michael.



Mr. Thompson is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the following, Indianapolis based organizations: Thompson Distribution Company, Inc., a distributor of mechanical supplies and equipment; First Electric Supply Company, LLC, a distributor of electrical supplies and equipment; CMID, an architectural and engineering design firm; and BC Countertops, a fabricator and installer of millwork. Mr. Thompson also served as a consultant for McKinsey and Company in the New York and London offices from 1981-1983. From 1984 to 2001, Mr. Thompson served as vice president of Mays Chemical Company, Inc., in Indianapolis.

He serves on the Boards of The National Bank of Indianapolis Chair ALCO Committee; Heron Capital’s Advisory Board; Specialized Component Parts Limited; Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 2020-21 Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business, and Labor; Indiana Governor Holcomb Appointment-Indiana Economic Recovery, Relief and Reopen Team; Board President Crossroads of America Council (Scouting); Indy Chamber (Past Chairman); Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP); Indiana Economic Development Corporation Chair-Entrepreneurship Committee; Eskenazi Health Foundation-Immediate Past Chairman; Riley Children’s Foundation-Treasurer; Indiana
Chamber of Commerce; 2021 NBA All-Star Game; Indy Championships Fund; Columbia University Graduate School of Business.

Past board chair positions include Eskenazi Health Foundation, Indy Chamber, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana Black Expo; Junior
Achievement of Central Indiana, NCCO and Varsity Brands/Herff Jones Corporation as Lead Director until the sale of the Company 12/12/2014.

He earned an MBA, with Honors, from Columbia University and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University. He is a member of Eastern Star Church and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. He and his wife Norma have 3 adult children and 4 grandsons.

Awards: Sagamore of the Wabash, Governor Eric Holcomb 2020; Indiana Chamber, “Dynamic Leader of the Year” 2019; UNCF Award 2017; Vision Award, NDC Saves Inc., 2016; Men of Honor, 2016; Junior Achievement Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame, 2016; College Mentors Lifetime Achievement, 2016; Crossroads Boy Scouts of America Whitney Young, 2015; Indiana Minority Business Magazine William G Mays-Entrepreneur, 2015; Marian University’s John Purdie-Innovator of the Year, 2013; Madame Walker Theatre Centre-Business, 2013; Sagamore of the Wabash, Governor Mitch Daniels 2012; City of Indianapolis-Workforce Diversity, 2012; IBJ Michael A. Carroll, 2011; Mayor’s Diversity, 2009; Indiana Black Chamber of Commerce-Entrepreneur of the Year, 2004; Indiana Black Expo-Governor’s, 2003; Junior
Achievement-Chairman’s, 2000; The Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Nu Chapter-Continuing Achievement, 1998; and Center for Leadership Development-Professions, 1996.


Patzetta Trice

Patzetta Trice is Principal, Trice Strategic Consulting Group, a strategic communications, PR and marketing firm. Prior to establishing her company, Patzetta had careers with the Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) as Chief Communications and Marketing Officer and General Motors as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs. She has contributed to the success of leading organizations by orchestrating expert positioning of resources and Making Every Move Matter.

She has received local, national and global awards, including two JD Power Awards, as a result of leading all aspects communications and corporate affairs including brand and reputation management, special events, internal and external communications, executive communications advisor and counsel, government relations, marketing and market research.
Her experience includes driving the execution of a complex and diverse strategic communications strategy for the opening of Indianapolis’ $1.2B airport terminal and the marketing strategy around Super Bowl XXVI in partnership with Indianapolis’s Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL.
She led the strategic initiative that institutionalized the processes allowing Indianapolis International Airport’s global recognition as the “Best Airport in North America”, an award IAA has consecutively won eight times. She’s led strategies for plant and facility openings in the US and Europe, international press conferences and global product publicity initiatives.
Patzetta is a passionate community volunteer supporting minority and women’s charities and currently serves on a variety of boards and committees. She has received Commission appointments from four Indiana governors as a Commissioner for the BMV and Indiana Commission for Women. She is a graduate of Ball State University and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.