Panel: Can 100,000 Philadelphians rise out of poverty by 2024?

This symposium, sponsored by the Social Innovations Journal, will focus on solutions that move individuals and families to a Living Wage.


About this Event


Presentation: Will Philadelphia's Poverty Action Plan succeed in raising 100,000 residents out of poverty by 2024? Bryan Wilkerson

Social Innovators AND Change Agent Presentations

    David Castro: I-LEAD
    Malik Brown: Graduate! Philadelphia
    Michael Lilley: Pay for Ed
    Eric Schuner: Virtuous
    Nikia Owens and Carniesha Kwashi: United Way and JOIN
    Michael Clark: Social Innovations Journal

Insights regarding Neighborhood Small Business Development from Regional Leaders

    Adriana Abizadeh, Executive Director of the Kensington Corridor Trust
    Sylvie Gallier Howard: First Deputy Commerce Director at City of Philadelphia
    Jill Fink: Executive Director, Merchants Fund
    Amy Carroll-Scott: Promise Zone Research Connection, Urban Health Collaborative, Associate Professor, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health


Date and Time

Thu, July 9, 2020

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM EDT

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Through Social Mobility Partnerships the Social Innovations Journal aims to evaluate the existing anti-poverty programs in Philadelphia framed within short-term and long-term strategies. The evaluation will conclude with both a mapping of Philadelphia’s anti-poverty ecosystem; social impact individually and collectively; and short-term and long-term strategy recommendations. This edition of the Social Innovations Journal will focus on the Jobs and Education strategy of City Council’s Poverty Action Plan.

For the past 10 years; The Social Innovations Journal has connected and inspired local change agents; through the sharing of knowledge; best practices; and research; to improve poverty. Concrete impact and change requires more than education and engagement. The time has come for The Social Innovations Journal to become a network for collective action; and this short concept paper explains how this evolution will happen.

Current Context: While the City of Philadelphia's poverty rate decreased by 1.2% from 2016 to 2018; there are still nearly 1 in 4 Philadelphian's living at or below the poverty line. Philadelphia's poverty rate is the highest rate among the 10 largest cities in the country; and is more than double the national average. There are numerous city-run programs as well as 384 nonprofit organizations with the word "poverty" included in their mission providing assistance to citizens of Philadelphia. Philadelphia City Council just released its Poverty Action Plan focused on three strategies: Social Safety Net, Housing, and Jobs and Education.

The Opportunity: In Greater Philadelphia legislators; government; not-for-profits; academic institutions; and to some extent private companies are all tackling poverty. Despite these efforts and despite agreement on strategies and calls to action limited change has occurred for the simple reason that poverty is complex. Generally; local change is either driven by local change agents defined as individuals or institutions who are in a position to influence system behavior at their level OR policy change agents defined as governmental policymakers; a regulator or a legislator advocating; organizing and supporting change in a sustainable manner. In analyzing the limits of local change agents toward local innovation and collective action to adopt and implement global policy recommendations and calls to actions we conclude they are stymied by four primary factors:

1. Leaders at local level must be prepared to better respond to their local challenges and optimize their local assets. Their relationships and experiences lead them to focus on local patterns they can observe and control directly. They need new skills and relationships with other stakeholders in the sector to leverage complex change at scale.

2. Local action; while a powerful catalyst to people and day-to-day procedure and practice; is insufficient to support policies required for systemic transformation. Change agents need to understand the complex dynamics that work and be able to interact with them to efficiently contribute to system change.

3. Lessons learned in one local context are not accessible for system-wide analysis and continuous improvement for systemic change or application in other locales. The lack of system-wide evaluation also limits the evidence for policy change. Local Change requires a system that collects data across a wide range of local contexts and systems-based analysis approaches to reveal patterns of systems change as it progresses.

4. Resources for local change are constrained by a variety of factors; and each system has its own unique barriers.

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