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Grant Abbott, a Faces of Poverty participant, posed the question we’re talking about now: are people equally free?
“I would like to say something about why talking about poverty is so difficult in this country. I believe it is difficult because it gets at the heart of the American myth of a free society in which hard-working individuals can lift themselves up and out of poverty. Poverty raises very difficult questions for this myth. Are people equally free? What is the impact of racism on people’s ability to work themselves out of poverty? Does the wealth gap between the rich and the bottom half of the population create such an unfair advantage that government needs to address it?…” – Grant Abbott, Interim Executive Director, Episcopal Community Services of Minnesota
The hard conversations are the ones worth having
There are some things we’d rather not talk about. Politics, race and religion are almost always off-limits. Approaching any one of these hotbed issues, even with the best of intentions, is a risky proposition. With a failing economy and eroding confidence in our government, is poverty yet another conversation we’d just as soon avoid?
As the online facilitator of United Way’s Faces of Poverty conversations, I continually ask myself if it’s possible to really engage the community in an unflinching look at poverty that elicits candor rather than apathy. Eager for fresh perspectives and ideas, having a dialogue of substance, particularly in a digital space, is a challenging proposition. But I remain convinced that it’s a vital conversation for our community and country.
Dubbed the ”poverty tour,” radio and television talk show host, Tavis Smiley, and Cornel West, professor of African American studies at Princeton University, took their anti-poverty message on the road to 18 American cities while promoting their book, The Rich and the Rest of Us. At the heart of their message is a plea for America to start talking about the plight of the poor.
Igniting Action in the LGBT Community
United Way Arise Project is a powerful collaboration of smart, bold and civic-minded professionals dedicated to addressing the needs of the LGBT community. Through focused giving, advocacy and volunteering, Arise works for positive change by increasing the quality of life in the LGBT community. This year marks its first as a Giving Community and will focus on reducing youth homelessness in our community. Read the rest of this entry →
LIVE on United Front
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Do we have a skills gap or jobless recovery problem? Here’s what a conversation participant had to say:
“Really great and interesting points. From an education perspective, 40 percent of Minnesota high school seniors who continue on to a college or university (including two- and four-year programs) require remedial math and/or reading. Also, Minnesota’s overall achievement gap is second-worst in the United States. I think for many students and the emerging workforce, we do face a skills gap in Minnesota. However, I completely appreciate that the jobs aren’t there as well, and disheartened to read Liz’s post about job wages. In many ways, from income levels to access to education, Minnesota is becoming increasingly polarized.”
Nicholas Banovetz, Public Affairs Manager, MinnCan
In a recent speech at the Philanthropy Leaders Series (hosted by MCN), Ellen Alberding of Joyce Foundation, described the important systems change efforts of Minnesota FastTRAC resulting in career pathways for low-income communities. Ellen effectively outlined the state’s efforts by talking about the success of an individual FastTRAC participant, Antoinette McCarthy (who had recently been recognized in the Governor’s second State of the State). Ellen characterized Antoinette’s story “as inspirational as her smile–that night was electric.” Antoinette, a mother of three struggling to make ends meet, had recently completed a FastTRAC training that earned her an industry recognized credential and was now on a trajectory to earning double that of a minimum wage job. Antoinette has also chosen to continue her education and will complete coursework this fall becoming a Registered Nurse. State policy change and innovative program efforts funded by Joyce Foundation was a big part of Antoinette’s success. READ MORE
The Number One Factor for Effective Leadership
“Leaders are never too busy to strive for excellence,” said BG Porter, president of Studer Group at last week’s Quest for Excellence conference in Washington DC. I attend this conference most every year, and I always pick up best practices on what drives organizational performance excellence. This year (since I’m now Tweeting: @LassiterBrian – see my article last month on social media!), I was listening to the remarkable line up of speakers, searching for the 140-character insights. Like this one from Nancy Schlicting, CEO of Henry Ford Health System: “The most important word that creates an entrepreneurial and innovative environment: ‘yes.’” In other words, empower your people and good things will happen. READ MORE
Launching April 16, 2012
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Minnesota had 17,400 residents that had been unemployed for more than six months in 2007. Four years later, in June 2011, this had increased to 75,800, including 47,700 that had been unemployed for more than a year.
Welcome to United Front, Home Visiting Community!
One of the smartest investments and proven ways to support children, parents, and a growing economy is home visiting.
A network of home visiting programs that have what it takes to support and transform the lives of at-risk expectant and new parents and their babies and toddlers, the Coalition is a statewide organization that seeks to be a network of high quality, home visiting programs and services that promote learning and success for children in our community. Learn more about Who We Are
Thanks for joining United Front for an online conversation with Mark Kramer, FSG, and Jeff Edmondson, STRIVE. We hope the exchange between participants and experts provided you with more insights to further your understanding of Collective Impact and that you will join us for future conversations on United Front.
“Mark – I agree. There is increasing political will to support more collective initiatives. Locally, we have applied for Social Innovation Funds to take a model we know works (Hospital to Home) to a much larger scale. Hospital to Home programs target housing stability and supports to frequent users of expensive medical systems (who are homeless) in hopes of increasing their stability and finding a more cost-effective and sustainable health care home. I also think the Obama Administration’s focus on ending homelessness for veterans is a good example – brings together the VA, public housing authorities, HUD, and local homeless outreach and service providers. There has been a 12% reduction in homeless veterans nationwide and a 33% reduction of homeless veterans here in Minneapolis/Hennepin County.” Cathy ten Broeke, Minneapolis/Hennepin County Office to End Homelessness