US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty

What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty?

Posted on February 5, 2018

Restoring the American Dream: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty?

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and staffed and supported by the Urban Institute, the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty was tasked with answering one big, bold question: What Would It Take to Dramatically Increase Mobility from Poverty? Specifically, the Partnership was asked to generate ideas for investment by philanthropy and the public sector that could really make a difference.

Our Approach
A distinguishing feature of the Partnership is that we did not have a mandate for consensus. Instead, the Partnership had the freedom and flexibility to dream big and think creatively, limited only by our own knowledge and imaginations. Our focus was on learning from both research and practice, as well as from perspectives of people who have experienced poverty. Site visits and community voices were a key component of the Partnership. We intentionally held our gatherings in very different places to ground our deliberations in community-level perspectives. We spent time in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities across the country.

Through a series of design labs and learning sessions, we heard from community residents, policymakers, service providers, businesses owners, social entrepreneurs, researchers, advocates, faith leaders, and journalists. We also learned from each other. Despite the Partnership members’ differing backgrounds and perspectives, we found much we could agree on, including genuine optimism about our nation’s capacity to tap into the lost potential of so many and begin restoring the American dream.

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