Giving Compass' Take:

• Jesús Gerena and Jorge Blandón explain how the Family Independence Initiative helps people in low-income communities connect to support each other and lift each other up. 

• What are the advantages of this model? Can this model work in your area? 

• Learn about New Power and its transformational potential. 

We caught up with the Family Independence Initiative’s (FII) CEO Jesús Gerena and EVP Jorge Blandón to talk about the state of FII and their vision for the future. FII provides low-income families a technology platform to strengthen social networks, access resources, and support one another in achieving mobility, helping them work individually and collectively to achieve prosperity.

What is the big, transformative vision behind FII?

Jesús: We are changing the way that low-income families and communities are seen and invested in. We know that today there are systemic barriers that challenge low-income families’ ability to leverage their assets, strengths, and capacities. Our vision is centered around removing those barriers and doing away with top-down approaches to fighting poverty by creating an environment in which families are the change agents and communities are collectively solving the problems that keep them from leading more economically secure lives.

We are recreating the conditions that allow low-income communities to come together and help each other escape poverty. Early immigrant communities, such as the Italian and Polish communities, capitalized on each other’s networks, skills, and strengths and were able to lift up the entire community.

It is critical to build a strong narrative in response to all of the negative stereotypes about low-income families, and to change perceptions by working with those same communities and families to put the truth out about their hard work, resourcefulness, and initiative.

Jorge: We are working to create a new system altogether that's driven by families and leverages technology to challenge stereotypes, position families as decision-makers, and ultimately put investments directly into the hands of families.

Read the full interview with Jesús Gerena and Jorge Blandón about the Family Independence Initiative at New Profit.