Scott Benson: Bankole Thompson Irresponsibly Mischaracterized the Work of the Wealth Generation Task Force

By Scott Benson, Detroit City Councilperson

I am writing to strongly rebut statements made in a June 19 Detroit News column written by Bankole Thompson about the work of the Wealth Generation Task Force (WGTF), which I convened and chaired.

Thompson irresponsibly mischaracterized the work of the WGTF as “toothless.” But never contacted me about the work of the task force and how we are progressing on the report’s recommendations. If he had, perhaps there would be facts rather than false and faulty assumptions, in his column.

For example, Detroit, using President Biden’s ARPA funds, recently partnered with the Gilbert Family Foundation to invest over $2 million to begin free estate planning and probate legal services for Detroit families. The first workshop on June 20 reached maximum capacity of 80 registrants and the second workshop on 20 July has been expanded to serve 150 people.  There are ten additional workshops scheduled, allowing for over 1200 families to receive free will, estate planning, and probate services.

The lack of estate planning and executed wills is a huge issue in the Black community, per Detroit Future City’s May 2024 report, and complicates the transfer of real estate and generational wealth for Black families.  We are directly addressing this critical issue through this partnership.

The recommendations to improve wealth generation for Black families is a priority for me and my office. For Thompson to criticize this work is meritless given that he doesn’t have the facts to back up his complaints and offers no solutions.

Residents can preregister here:

Scott Benson serves as the Detroit City Councilperson for District 3. The frequent bike rider and sustainability advocate has been a tireless and innovative leader in his community since January 2014.

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