You don’t have to look very far to see that we are in a critical moment in the poverty fight.
More than 40 million people across the U.S. live below the Federal Poverty Level – that is a household income of just $25,100 for a family of 4. In New York City, where I lead Robin Hood’s efforts to fight poverty, nearly 1 in 2 New Yorkers – a city with a population of 8.5 million people – are living near poverty.
Confronting this reality and reflecting on our 30-year history drove a new strategic vision for Robin Hood – a process I led over my first 18 months as CEO. Earlier this year, we announced that Robin Hood must commit to moving households out of poverty in New York City measurably and sustainably.
This is a critically important progression for the organization, and a goal that will require our grantmaking to be at its best. We will rely upon the deep relationships we have built with community-based organizations over the past 3 decades.
But grants alone will not get us out of this.
As a philanthropic force, Robin Hood is not interested in charity; we are interested in change. And to create real change, we must actively and aggressively leverage the role of philanthropy to combat these destructive policies head on.
Robin Hood has pre-thought and rethought philanthropy for a new generation of government action. It was one of the first organizations to fund needle exchanges at the height of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic during the 1980s. But, in addition to our renewed focus on creating sustainable mobility from poverty, we must support and leverage our grantmaking with efforts on policy, partnership and changing the narrative around poverty.
Read the full article about philanthropy for change by Wes Moore at National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.