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When I was City Council President, I was invited by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund to an Asset Building Conference, where I joined a team of colleagues from Jacksonville. We were challenged to set a bold goal around poverty in our community. We decided that our goal had to be big – we chose 1,000 people – and our goal had to have a time limit – we chose 1,000 days and that is how 1,000 in 1,000 was born.I assumed that this initiative would be like most, where a group comes up with some great ideas, but then we get back home our good intentions wither. But Team Jacksonville was different. We completed research on the latest learnings on poverty, including literature reviews and national site visits. We ran pilots, working with 100 families over 3 years, to determine what specific strategies were the most powerful for building assets.We learned from the families directly. They told us that their top goal was to provide a better life for their children than their own. They wanted a job that paid a living wage and were willing to work for it, but needed child care and reliable transportation to get to job training. They emphasized the need for life management skills, including goal setting, budgeting, parenting andinterpersonal skills. Families were frank that many of them had a past criminal arrest or conviction, but for relatively minor offenses that were still classified as a felony, such as bouncing a check or driving with a suspended license.Poverty is everyone's problem. I am justifiably proud of our community for examining poverty through the magnifying glass of our collective vision.
Chicago Resilient Families;
Chicago is in so many ways a thriving global city. But far too many of us face the daily reality of financialinsecurity caused by jobs that don't pay enough to live on, that have unstable hours, and that don't providebenefits that many in the workforce a generation ago enjoyed. Both as a city and as a people, economicresilience in the face of change is critical to create a thriving metropolis, yet strong forces are pushing us awayfrom this, not towards it: deep racial and gender inequity; steadily widening income inequality; the erosion ofthe middle class; the rise in contingent work and looming automation of jobs. The result? Work is unreliableand income is precarious for those living in deep poverty and all the way up into the middle class.In response to these realities, last summer the Chicago City Council passed a resolution to create the ChicagoResilient Families Initiative Task Force to assess and determine the scope of a guaranteed income pilot aswell as solutions to modernize the Earned Income Tax Credit. Since then, at the behest of Mayor Emanuel,the task force has met, learned, dug deep and explored different paths to economic security and resiliencyfor Chicagoans. We sought advice from community residents and national experts who have been engageddeeply in these questions for years
Chicago Girls' Coalition;
CURL formed a partnership with Women and Girls' Collective Action Network and Chicago Girls' Coalition to conduct a secondary data analysis to determine how young women and girls are faring in Illinois. This project aims to provide statistical evidence that will inform on the issues, needs, and solutions required to ensure the healthy development of all young women and girls in Illinois.
Poverty rates and household incomes improved in Illinois in 2019. However, this data reflects conditions from the last year before a global pandemic and related recession--meaning the picture is likely much worse today. And even before the 2020 recession, millions of Illinoisans--especially people of color--lived in poverty or on the brink.The poverty rate for the United States was 10.5% in 2019, a decline of 1.3 percentage points from 2018 and the lowest on record. There were 34 million people in poverty nationwide. In 2019, 1.4 million Illinoisans were in poverty--a rate of 11.5%. Additionally, 1.9 million Illinoisans are near poor and economically insecure with incomes between 100% and 199% of the federal poverty threshold.The data also revealed that health insurance coverage rates declined in Illinois and throughout the nation in 2019, continuing a disturbing trend of eroding the gains of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), right before a global pandemic and economic recession hit.
Harder+Company Community Research;
One of our goals is to educate the field of philanthropy in how general operating support is the most strategic and effective form of funding to provide to organizations. We believe the case study model is an effective way to tell the story of transformational change that can occur when Foundations commit to building strong partnerships with organizations and providing long-term general operating support. We selected three organizations that started receiving grants in 2002 and have continued to receive grants and asked Harder+CO, an agency that specializes in using an investigative journalism approach, to explore how the Foundation's support influenced the organizations, the communities they serve and the movement's groups are building.Brief Learnings from this 2019 Case Study include:Multi-year unrestricted funding allows an organization the flexibility to stay true to its mission without compromising values and long-term goals.Network building support has strengthened grantees efforts to work across issues and advance long-term policy efforts.Unrestricted support allows grantees to staff their organizing efforts for long-term, culturally responsive advocacy.Long-term relationships with the Foundation provide endorsement value and instill confidence in the organization.
Institute for Child, Youth & Family Policy (ICYFP), Heller School For Social Policy & Management at Brandeis University;
Federal agencies monitor child and family wellbeing and consider children living with at least one adult working full time, year round as economically secure. However, an economically secure environment for children depends on much more than the number of hours their parents work. Economic security also requires wages that are high enough for children and families to live healthy lives.A more meaningful definition of economic security for children considers whether full-time working adults earn enough income to meet minimum living standards for children. diversitydatakids.org defines economically secure children as those living with at least one adult working full time, year round only if family incomes are over 200% of the federal poverty level. For example, to be considered economically secure, children living with at least one full-time working adult in a family of four in 2019 need to have a family income over $51,500.
The study, funded by Robin Hood, is the most rigorous, independent, third-party evaluation of group microfinance in the United States, assessing Grameen America's program, a microfinance model that provides small loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in the United States seeking to launch or expand small businesses.
Poverty does not treat everyone equally. Women, children, gender minorities, and people of color are often the hardest hit. And while women in poverty experience the same issues that all people in poverty experience—income inequality, unemployment, poor health, violence, trauma, and more—the odds are often uniquely stacked against them in gendered ways.There are 6.5 million women. and an estimated 50,000 trans people living in Illinois. They are a driving force in our economy and care for our children, sick, and elderly, and yet continue to face discrimination and inequitable opportunities. This year's annual report on poverty in Illinois shows how gender, gender identity, and gender norms shape experiences of poverty for women and gender minorities—and how women who have other marginalized identities experience even more inequity. If we want to dramatically reduce poverty, improving the well-being of women— particularly women of color—would deliver the biggest return.
While Congress has taken some important initial steps, the relief packages so far have not done enough to address the challenges facing the one in three people living in or near poverty in the US. This brief outlines a number of specific policy recommendations for Congress to include in the next relief package to meet the needs of all people while building a bridge to a more equitable and climate-safe future.
Center for Economic and Policy Research;
This report examines Ecuador's March 2019 agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and finds that Ecuador is likely to have lower GDP per capita, higher unemployment, and increased macroeconomic instability under the program. Even the program itself, the authors note, projects Ecuador to have a recession this year and increased unemployment for each of the first three years of the program. But these projections are optimistic, the report concludes.
Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights;
In Illinois, nearly 5 million adults, 50% of the population, are estimated to have an arrest or conviction record. Housing is foundational for employment success, family stability, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, criminal history checks are a typical part of the housing application processes, and many people with records are declined housing opportunities they would otherwise be a good fit for, but for the criminal record. Our goal for Win-Win was to develop user-friendly guidance about the use of criminal records in screening and housing applicants, and to provide recommendations that housing providers can adopt and adapt, in whole or in part, to increase housing opportunities for people with criminal records.