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Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy

Economic Security and Opportunity Initiative

Please visit our new website to find the most up to date information about our initiative's work, publications, and more. 

As part of a larger project in partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), CLASP, and the Center for American Progress (CAP) to work on deep poverty, the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality is developing innovative ideas for policy and program improvements that would address the needs of especially vulnerable children, youth and families—particularly those living with incomes below roughly half the poverty line in the United States.

Specifically, the center is engaging a wide range of practitioners, program administrators, researchers, and policy experts to help determine future directions for policy-relevant research and idea development, including through the commissioning of primary and secondary research and analyses, as well as other work products focused on ideas that would help families who experience or are at risk of experiencing deep poverty.


Recent Work

July 11, 2016: The center cosponsored an event, "Strengthening Unemployment Protections in America," with the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the National Employment Law Project (NELP). At the event, Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI) and White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman spoke about the need for unemployment insurance (UI) reform. Project on Deep Poverty Director Indivar Dutta-Gupta served as a speaker for a subsequent panel discussion on UI and the Jobseeker's Allowance.

UI JSA Report coverJune 16, 2016: In partnership with the Center for American Progress (CAP) and National Employment Law Project (NELP), the center released a report on updating unemployment insurance for a 21st century economy and establishing a new Jobseeker's Allowance. Read the full report here, the Executive Summary here, and the factsheet hereThis report was featured in The Wall Street Journal article: "Should an Unemployed Uber Driver Be Eligible for a 'Job Seeker's Allowance'?." The organizations also published an issue brief: "Where States Are and Where They Should Be on Unemployment Protections." The brief identifies the main challenges facing states' unemployment insurance (UI) programs; provides recent state-level data; and recommends steps that states can take to substantially strengthen their UI programs.

June 9, 2016: The center hosted a book signing and policy discussion, entitled "Evicted: Housing, Poverty, and Policy" with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The event addressed issues highlighted in "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," a book by Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" award winner Matthew Desmond. Desmond was introduced by Executive Vice President and Dean of Georgetown Law, William Treanor, and GCPI Faculty Director Peter Edelman. The author spoke to the tragic causes and systemic consequences of evictions in the U.S. and then participated in a panel discussion of policy implications with William Julius Wilson (Harvard University), Pamela Hughes Patenaude (Terwilliger Foundation), and Steven Banks (NYC Dept. of Social Services).
 Evicted event booksDesmond speaking


April 13, 2016: Read the center's report, "Lessons Learned From 40 Years of Subsidized Employment Programs." This report, the most extensive on this topic to date, finds that subsidized employment policies are cost-effective ways to decrease persistent unemployment and combat long-term poverty. Executive Summary available here. The report received substantial media attention, including coverage in The Atlantic ("The Case for a New WPA"). For more information on this report, please view the center's webpage on subsidized employment.

April 2016: Check out Senior Fellow Dr. Ajay Chaudry's latest publication, "Poverty is Not Just an Indicator: The Relationship Between Income, Poverty, and Child Well-Being" in Academic Pediatrics

April 2016: Read the center's latest blog on the 25th anniversary of the tipped minimum wage, by Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Morgan Spears (of The Leadership Conference), titled, "The Tipped Minimum Wage Hasn't Budged in 25 Years. That's a Problem."

February 2016: Watch the center's Indivar Dutta-Gupta discuss wage insurance in this segment on President Obama's FY 2017 budget from CCTV America.

February 2016: The center joined Community Legal Services and the Community Justice Project in submitting comments on Pennsylvania's proposed WIOA Combined State Plan. The comments outline the importance of allocating the full share of funding under WIOA that may be dedicated to transitional employment, a form of subsidized employment that focuses on transitioning workers into unsubsidized employment.

February 2016: Watch Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Director of the center's Project on Deep Poverty and Senior Fellow, speak about poverty and inequality at a convening of experts hosted by Spotlight in partnership with the Ford Foundation here.

January 2016: Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Director of the center's Project on Deep Poverty and Senior Fellow, was a featured panelist in the Opening Session of the National Academy of Social Insurance's annual conference. The panel, "What Do the Numbers Tell Us? A Review of the Data on Economic Disparities," also featured Jared Bernstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, and Ngina Chiteji from New York University, and was moderated by former Academy President G. Lawrence Atkins.

January 2016: Read "What Candidates Should Say about Poverty and Opportunity at Ryan’s Forum" by Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Kali Grant, first published on TalkPoverty.org and cross-posted on BillMoyers.com

November 2015: See Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Kali Grant's article in the Fall 2015 issue of InSight on two-generation approaches to poverty reduction and the EITC here: "Poverty and Inequality in America: Why We Should Care and What We Should Do."

October 2015: In partnership with The Leadership Conference Education Fund, the center released a new report on the importance of raising the minimum wage as a civil and human rights issue. Click here to read "Raising Wages, Reducing Inequality, Sustaining Families: Why raising the minimum wage is a civil and human rights issue," by Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Kali Grant.

September 2015: In partnership with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the center hosted a national poverty event on Sept. 9 featuring the newly-released book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. Watch the recording of the event here and read about it here.

September 2015: A TalkPoverty.org article written by Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Peter Edelman, and LaDonna Pavetti  highlighting $2.00 a Day, "New Research Documents Growth of Extreme Poverty," was cross-posted by several other media outlets, including Billmoyers.com and Commondreams.org. It was #1 on Billmoyers.com. 

August 2015: "404 Error: Why Internet Access is Still a Problem for Many in Poverty" on TalkPoverty.org by Erin Simpson, Fellow. 

July 2015: The center recently submitted comments on the discussion draft of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reauthorization bill to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources. Download these comments here.

June 2015: Read "Ten Solutions to Fight Economic Inequality" by Kali Grant, Program Assistant, and Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Director of the Project on Deep Poverty.

April 2015: Read "TANF's not all right," by Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Kali Grant, on Talkpoverty.org (also cross-posted on the Coalition on Human Needs blog).

April 2015: Read Indivar Dutta-Gupta's article in Zócalo Public Square, "Why the Wealthy Always Win."

October 2014: The center released the report, “Improving Wages, Improving Lives: Why raising the minimum wage is a civil and human rights issue” with the Leadership Conference Education Fund. The report, authored by Indivar Dutta-Gupta, explores how the nation’s historically low minimum wage is an important driver of poverty and income inequality and examines the current state of minimum wage policy on the state and federal level, as well as the far-reaching benefits of a minimum wage increase.

September 2014: Read "Families and Communities Still Haven’t Recovered from the Recession: Here’s What We Can Do About It," by Indivar Dutta-Gupta. This Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity article discusses the three key steps that Dutta-Gupta, Director of the center's Project on Deep Poverty and Senior Fellow, recommends policymakers take to expand economic opportunity and security for people still struggling in this economy.

July 2014: Read Faculty Director Peter Edelman's piece on Talkpoverty.org, "50 Years Later: Why We Must Remember the Civil Rights Movement," also cross-posted on BillMoyers.com.

Deep Poverty Core Advisory Group

To help guide the development of innovative ideas for ameliorating deep poverty in America, the Center has formed a Core Advisory Group, comprised of 11 accomplished experts with diverse backgrounds from across the country. The members provide guidance individually and as a group.

Gordon Berlin, MDRC
Gordon Berlin was appointed President of MDRC in 2004. Prior to becoming president, he served as MDRC's Chief Operating Officer, overseeing MDRC's activities in the Work, Community, and Economic Security policy area and in the Education, Children, and Families policy area. Before joining MDRC in 1990, he was Executive Deputy Administrator for Management, Budget, and Policy at the $6-billion, 33,000-person New York City Human Resources Administration. He also worked as a program officer and Deputy Director of the Ford Foundation's Urban Poverty program and as a program analyst and project officer in the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration. Throughout his career, Berlin has developed and managed programs to address problems associated with welfare dependency, homelessness, teenage pregnancy, early childhood development, poverty, health, unemployment, and other issues of concern to low-income families and communities. He founded and, for seven years, served as the Executive Director of the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation, a Canadian nonprofit formed at the request of the Canadian government to test innovative employment-focused programs.

Berlin has authored and coauthored numerous publications on employment and social welfare issues, including Poverty and Philanthropy: Strategies for Change; Rewarding the Work of Individuals: A Counterintuitive Approach to Reducing Poverty and Strengthening Families; and What Works in Welfare Reform: Evidence and Lessons to Guide TANF Reauthorization. He has served on National Academy of Sciences committees, as a member of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Network on Transitions to Adulthood, as an advisory board member to the National Poverty Center, and as chair of the Board of Youth Service America, a nonprofit organization responsible for providing technical assistance and disseminating information about national youth service in schools, colleges, and communities.

John Bouman, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
John Bouman, president of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, is widely recognized as one of the most effective and thoughtful public-benefit advocates in the country. He was a leader in the design and implementation of positive aspects of Illinois' new welfare law in 1997, and spearheaded the statewide efforts in Illinois to create the FamilyCare program, which provides health care insurance for up to up to 400,000 working poor parents of minor children, and All Kids, the first state plan to extend health coverage to every child. He has consulted and co-counseled with advocates in many states; helped draft numerous pieces of legislation;given hundreds of presentations; published extensively; and served as counsel in numerous federal and state cases, including Memisovski v. Maram, which established substantial reforms in children's health care in Illinois.

He currently is working on state-based implementation of federal health care reform, serves on the steering committee of the National Transitional Jobs Network, and leads the Responsible Budget Coalition in Illinois. Before joining the Shriver Center in 1996, he worked for two decades at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago, where he supervised public benefits advocacy. Among his honors, he has received the Kutak-Dodds Prize from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, John Minor Wisdom Public Service and Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association's Litigation Section, Child Health Advocate Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Excellence in Pro Bono and Public Interest Service Award from the United States District Court and Federal Bar Association. A 1975 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law, John currently serves on the boards of Illinois Partners for Human Services and the Center for Law and Social Policy.

Sharon Dietrich, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Sharon Dietrich has been an attorney in Community Legal Services' Employment Unit since 1987. She became CLS' Managing Attorney for Public Benefits and Employment in 1997. Dietrich represents low-income persons in employment matters, with the goals of removing employment barriers, preserving jobs, and getting access to employment-related income. Dietrich specializes in employment issues faced by people with criminal records. 

Prior to her employment with CLS, Dietrich served as law clerk for Ann Aldrich, U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio. From 1994 through 2004, she also worked as a contract attorney with the National Employment Law Project in New York. 

Dietrich has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2011 ACLU Pioneer Award, presented by the American Civil Liberties Union. In addition, Dietrich received the 2006 Kutak-Dodds Prize from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, the Civil Legal Aid Attorney of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association (2006), and the Andrew Hamilton Award from the Philadelphia Bar Association (2005). She was named one of Pennsylvania's Super Lawyers in 2005, 2007, and 2008. 

Dietrich has published many works, the most recent being: When Working Isn't Enough: Low Wage Workers Struggle to Survive, Management Information Exchange Journal, Vol. XXIII, No. 1 (Spring 2009). Dietrich is a summa cum laude graduate of Albright College and earned her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Steven Dow, Community Action Partnership of Tulsa
Steven Dow has served as Executive Director of Community Action Project of Tulsa (CAP) since 1992. CAP's anti-poverty strategy focuses on providing high-quality early childhood education and comprehensive family economic support through both direct services and public policy efforts. In the 20 years he has been leading the agency, it has grown from a small agency with a staff of two and budget of $165,000 to one with an annual operating budget of $53 million and a staff of nearly 600. CAP currently serves 2,100 young children in its early education program, and its economic support programs reach more than 18,000 Tulsa households annually. CAP has received national recognition for its innovative and effective approaches, having been honored in the initial class of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Family Counts National Honors program and named as a National Head Start Center of Excellence. CAP is also a member of the Fannie Mae Foundation Alliance, and is the recipient of both Choice and Promise Neighborhoods planning grants.

A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, Dow worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs and practiced law prior to joining CAP. In addition to his work at CAP, he serves on numerous national boards, including Reach Out and Read, the Center for Financial Services Innovation, and Avodah: The Jewish Service Corps. He also serves as one of nine Commissioners overseeing the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.

Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink
Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, started PolicyLink in 1999 and continues to drive its mission of advancing economic and social equity. Under Angela's leadership, PolicyLink has become a leading voice in the movement to use public policy to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, particularly in the areas of health, housing, transportation, education, and infrastructure. Prior to founding PolicyLink, Angela served as senior vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation's domestic and cultural divisions. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council, where she pioneered new approaches to neighborhood revitalization. From 1977 to 1987, Angela was a partner at Public Advocates.

Angela is the co-author of Uncommon Common Ground: Race and America's Future (W.W. Norton & Co., 2010), and contributed to Ending Poverty in America: How to Restore the American Dream (The New Press, 2007) and The Covenant with Black America (Third World Press, 2006). In 2013, Angela and PolicyLink collaborated with the Center for American Progress to write and release All In Nation: An America that Works for All. Angela earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She serves on numerous boards and served as co-chair of the Task Force on Poverty for the Center for American Progress. Angela currently serves on The President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Rosanne Haggerty, Community Solutions
Rosanne Haggerty is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Community Solutions. She is an internationally recognized leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities. In 1990, Rosanne founded Common Ground Community, a pioneer in the development of supportive housing and research-based practices that end homelessness. To have greater impact, Rosanne and her senior team launched Community Solutions in 2011 to help communities solve the problems that create and sustain homelessness.

Rosanne is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, an Ashoka Senior Fellow, and a Hunt Alternative Fund Prime Mover. In 2012, she was awarded a Jane Jacobs medal for new ideas and activism from the Rockefeller Foundation. She serves on the boards of the Alliance for Veterans, Citizens Housing and Planning Council, and Iraq-Afghanistan Veterans of America. She is a Life Trustee of Amherst College.

Ruby Mendenhall, University of Illinois–Chicago

Ruby Mendenhall is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and holds joint faculty appointments in Sociology, African American Studies, and Urban and Regional Planning. She has served as a Fellow at the National Center for Institutional Diversity at the University of Michigan and the Center for Human Potential and Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on racially segregated neighborhoods, black women, and public policy. She has written on the Gautreaux Assisted Housing Mobility Program, one of the largest desegregation programs in the history of the United States. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze administrative welfare and employment data, census data, in-depth interviews, and focus group data. 

Her work has appeared in leading academic journals such as The Black Scholar, the Review of Black Political Economy, the Journal of African American Studies, Social Forces, Demography, Social Science Research, Housing Policy Debate, and Social Service Review.

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Ann O’Leary, Next Generation

Ann O’Leary directs the Children and Families Program at Next Generation, which includes spearheading "Too Small to Fail,” Next Generation's joint initiative with the Clinton Foundation to help parents and businesses take meaningful actions to improve the health and well-being of children ages zero to five; developing a national research portfolio; and leading policy activities in California.

Ann also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where she writes about work-family policies. Ann previously served as a lecturer in health law at UC Berkeley School of Law, the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security at UC Berkeley School of Law, a Deputy City Attorney for the city of San Francisco, the Legislative Director to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and as the leader of the children and family policy team on the White House Domestic Policy Council under President William J. Clinton. She also served as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, advising the incoming administration on early childhood education issues.

Ann is a member of the board for KQED, Northern California’s public news provider, and the East Bay Community Law Center, a legal aid clinic for low-income community members in Berkeley, California. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, a master’s in education policy from Stanford University, and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.

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Juan Salgado, Instituto Del Progreso Latino

Juan Salgado, M.U.P., has been the President and CEO of Instituto del Progreso Latino since 2001. Over the past ten years, he has led Instituto through a period of national, award-winning recognition and historic organizational growth, spurred by a focus on creating partnerships, enhancing core competencies, leading innovation, providing quality services, and participating in targeted advocacy.

Under Salgado’s direction, Instituto has established national best-practice educational and workforce models. In 2009, Instituto was selected as the National Council of La Raza's Affiliate of the Year. Most recently, Instituto has founded the Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy, a new charter high school aimed at inspiring and preparing Chicago's youth for success in the growing healthcare fields.

Salgado’s qualities have earned him a 2005 fellowship in the distinguished Leadership Greater Chicago program for emerging leaders of business, government, and nonprofit corporations; a 2007 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival fellowship; a three-year term as an advisor to the President of Mexico through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad; and a 2010 Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund's Excellence in Community Service Award. Currently, he serves as a member of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council Executive Board, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Leadership Greater Chicago Board of Directors, and the Adler School of Professional Psychology Board of Trustees. Salgado was also named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow.

He holds a Master's degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Illinois Wesleyan University.

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Dixon Slingerland, Youth Policy Institute

Dixon Slingerland is the Executive Director of the Youth Policy Institute (YPI). Since 1996, Dixon has directed YPI as it has grown to an annual budget of $47 million. Dixon leads more than 1,200 staff serving over 100,000 youth and adults each year at 125 program sites in Los Angeles.

YPI is the only agency in the nation to have been awarded all three White House signature neighborhood revitalization initiatives—Promise Neighborhoods, Choice Neighborhoods, and Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation. In 2014, YPI partnered with the City of Los Angeles to secure one of three Promise Zone designations in the nation. This designation has led to over $53 million in new federal grants for Los Angeles.

YPI operates four schools of its own and partners with more than 90. YPI is the only agency in LA that directly operates both charter and district schools. Other key YPI programs include Full-Service Community Schools; GEAR UP; 83 public computer centers; FamilySource, YouthSource, and WorkSource Centers; afterschool programs at 66 school sites; gang prevention; college preparation; fitness and nutrition; the Families Save program in partnership with Citi, AmeriCorps, YouthBuild, and Assets for Independence; case management and mental health; citizenship; summer youth employment; and tutoring.

Dixon is a graduate of Stanford University.

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Megan Smith, Yale University

Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH is an Assistant professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine and teaches in the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Smith conducts clinical and community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness. Dr. Smith serves on the Mood Disorders Literature Review Subgroup, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) of the Gender/Cross Cultural Study Group, the State of Connecticut Maternal and Child Health Advisory Committee, and is the Principal Investigator of the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership, a community-academic collaboration to create citywide systems for low-income mothers and their children in New Haven, Connecticut.  She is a current recipient of a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career award from the National Institute of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health, and Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Smith also serves as a board member of the National Diaper Bank Network and co-chairs the Yale School of Medicine Program on the Psychobiology of Parenting and Partnerships.

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Megan Smith, Yale University

Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH is an Assistant professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine and teaches in the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Smith conducts clinical and community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness. Dr. Smith serves on the Mood Disorders Literature Review Subgroup, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) of the Gender/Cross Cultural Study Group, the State of Connecticut Maternal and Child Health Advisory Committee, and is the Principal Investigator of the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership, a community-academic collaboration to create citywide systems for low-income mothers and their children in New Haven, Connecticut.  She is a current recipient of a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career award from the National Institute of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health, and Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Smith also serves as a board member of the National Diaper Bank Network and co-chairs the Yale School of Medicine Program on the Psychobiology of Parenting and Partnerships.

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