Pathways Out of Poverty

The United States is considered one of the richest nations in the world, yet we rank below 16 developing countries in terms of poverty. Only four other countries rank below the U.S.

As of 2018, 42.6 million Americans were living in poverty. Of those, 13.4 million are children—nearly the total populations of New York City and Los Angeles combined.

The consequences for children born in and living in poverty do not disappear as they age. The impact of their poverty extends beyond their immediate family and seeps into every sector of the community, from education to service and product business to government and charitable entities.

Children who are poor are hungry. They have problems with memory and concentration. Their sleep patterns can be disrupted. Their brain development can be stalled or stagnated. They are more susceptible to illness. They are more prone to anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. They tend to behavioral issues, which may well have consequences in the classroom and in the community. As they grow up, these consequences take their toll on society as these children default to crime, substance use, or other mental illness based on inadequate means from birth.

At The Fedcap Group, we know that education and employment are the pathway out of poverty. Every one of the top-tier companies that are part of The Fedcap Group are building and delivering tactical, practical, and precise innovations to improve economic well-being.

  • We are creating aspirational environments within educational settings—encouraging children of all abilities to dream big dreams and then helping them succeed.
  • We are providing the tools, information and the supports so that youth transitioning from foster care can enter college and helping them graduate.
  • We are providing training and building networks of healthy support so that individuals in prison re-entering society have the skills and supports to succeed.
  • We are creating job opportunities in the community for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • We are assisting those with mental illness and substance use disorders in their recovery and participation in the workforce.
  • We are assisting individuals over age 55 to re-enter the workforce.

We are working hard to solve—not serve—the problem of poverty. 

Ultimately, the goal is to create a healthier society, where children and adults of all abilities thrive.  This is the work we do every day.

How might your business or social enterprise join our mission in creating a truly better world?

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

The Impact of Story

“Storytelling can change a room. It can change lives. It can change the world.”  

–Gwenda Ledbetter

Last Monday night, over 500 people came together as we gathered at_dsc6649 Gotham Hall in New York for Fedcap’s annual Celebration of Work gala. Assembled were board members from our family of agencies as well as our friends, partners, supporters and staff.  I love this night each year as it is a time to pause, reflect and celebrate the work that we have done to change the lives of those with barriers to economic well-being.  This year, the gala proved to be one of the most powerful evenings in our agency’s history.

We chose to reflect on our work through the power of stories and we launched the Power of Possible Stories—an initiative through which we can tell hundreds, even thousands of stories and in the telling of the stories, change people’s lives.

Three remarkable people stood before the crowd and shared their narratives of untold hardship and survival, and of their ability to overcome unimaginable odds to ultimately thrive and flourish.

The stories told that night were not pretty. They did not follow an easy formula that was comfortable to hear. Instead, all three told stories involved gut wrenching pain and loss. Miriam Adler, a survivor of the Holocaust described fear in a way that I suspect many of us cannot imagine. She recounted first-hand what it was like to experience the loss of her family and the fear as she woke each day wondering if it would be her last.  Steve H. told his story of what it was like spend 19 years in prison, and Niki S. grew up to survive her mother’s mental illness, physical and sexual abuse, ravaging addiction and a life on the streets.  Undergirding these tough stories, told in stark beauty, was a thread of courage and the intensity of family love and the success and joy that followed perseverance.  _dsc6728

The testing ground for courage is often those troubled times during which our true strength of character is revealed. What we witnessed last Monday night was extraordinary strength of character. The things that happened to the people we heard from could have happened to any of us. Hearing their stories—and the many stories of those we serve—connects us to them in ways that nothing else quite does and inspires hope that the future can be different than the past. Hearing these stories inspires us to act, to make a difference, to change a life.

I will talk more about the Power of Possible Stories in the blogs to come.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.

Making a Difference by Giving -and Saying- Thanks

In 2013, the John Templeton Foundation conducted a survey of 2000 people on the nature of gratitude. In the survey, the respondents suggested that they were least likely to express gratitude at work than anyplace else in their lives. And yet, 93% of respondents 12-2-14-gratitudesaid that “grateful bosses” were the most likely to succeed.  All of the respondents suggested that saying thank you to colleagues made them feel happier and more fulfilled, yet only 10% actually said thank you out loud.

I suspect there are many theories out there about why only 10% don’t express gratitude out loud, but I am going with the theory that gratitude is a good thing—it boosts morale—it makes people feel good about their effort—and it is the right thing to do.

In that spirit, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wish to express my thanks.

Every day, I have the privilege to interact with people who inspire me.   Our Board of Directors  are committed to our mission of manifesting the power of possible—the power of economic well-being—for the people we serve.   They each bring a unique perspective to our work.  I am challenged and inspired by them, and am grateful for their input, their dedication, and their leadership.  Thank you Fedcap Board of Directors.

And every day I have the privilege to interact with tremendously smart staff who challenge me, wrangle through issues with me, surprise me with their innovation and skill at problem-solving, and overwhelm me with their dedication to our mission.  Our staff is far and wide—and while I don’t get to see them every day, whenever I visit one of our sites, I am so proud of the quality and integrity of our work that is united under one clear vision. To the Fedcap staff—all of you—I offer my sincerest thanks for the work you do every single day—and often night—on behalf of those we serve.

To our funders—city, state and federal agencies, foundations, corporations, family anthanksgiving-cornucopiad individual donors—you know that we couldn’t do our work without your vision, your resources, and your remarkable philanthropy.   Without you, there are tens of thousands of people who would be living without hope, without a future, and without a healthy legacy to leave behind. Without you, we simply wouldn’t be. Thank you.

And, finally, I offer my thanks to the people we serve. Every day I am inspired by your courage, your perseverance, your resilience, and your spirit. If there are ever days when I am tired or overwhelmed, it only lasts a moment as I think of each and every one of you who has broken through barriers that have now become a fabric of your past. You are what keep us all—Board of Directors, staff, funders, and partners—coming to work every day, stirred by your remarkable willingness to seek and accept help—and to contribute to a greater society. Thank you for giving me a reason to get up every morning and to work hard to make a relevant, sustainable impact.

To all of you, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you.