Every American deserves the chance to pursue happiness and escape poverty. The reasons people enter poverty are varied and individual, but we know that work- harnessing and developing one’s talents and using them in a way society values- is key to relieving poverty. For all people, but especially for those struggling in poverty, work restores dignity and purpose. The social safety net often becomes a trap creating dependence on programs that disincentivize work. Public policy reforms to eliminate poverty should turn the current approach on its head. For those that fall into poverty, the reasons are deeply individualized, yet our solutions to support and help them move to prosperity are not.
The Alliance for Opportunity was created to address just that. The Alliance is a multi-state project to advance an anti-poverty agenda that will free a million people from poverty over 10 years. We believe that the best way to do this is by fostering pathways to work and empowering local communities to support the needs of those struggling. Communities should have the tools and resources to help those in need, while a functioning anti-poverty system gets people back on their feet, onto a career path, and on their way to prosperity.
We believe that each individual has inherent dignity. We believe that “dignity” includes the capacity for developing interconnected relationships and exerting agency through the development of one’s own gifts.
It’s in our homes and neighborhoods where lives are formed, where we learn to love, trust, and live in community. And when things go wrong, it’s in those same homes and neighborhoods where lives are transformed.
While well-intentioned, the safety-net often traps people in a cycle of dependency. While it may keep many Americans from destitution, it is through a complex web of rules that rob people of opportunity, it also often keeps them from rising above their circumstances. It makes poverty tolerable but not escapable. The safety net should catch those who are falling, but it should also set people back on their feet, on a pathway to dignity and human flourishing.
The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and the Pelican Institute in Louisiana have come together in a unique effort to advance an anti-poverty policy agenda. While GCO, TPPF, and Pelican are leading these efforts, we will share any findings and results with others across the State Policy Network (and any other ally) so that successes can be replicated across the country. Ultimately, success will require many organizations and leaders operating at both the state and federal levels coming together to execute at the highest levels.
The three state alliance is focusing on three areas of reform that will unlock opportunity:
- Keeping Vulnerable Americans on Track: Safety Net Reform
- Ensure Everyone Has the Right to Earn a Living: Workforce Reform
- Addressing Poverty Through the Justice System: Criminal Justice Reform
Georgia Center for Opportunity
The Georgia Center for Opportunity (georgiaopportunity.org) works to remove barriers to ensure that every person has access to quality education, fulfilling work, and healthy family life by promoting ideas in civil society and policy that impacts underserved communities. Founded in 1990, its mission is to create opportunities for a quality education, fulfilling work, and a healthy family life so that everyone can live a life that can be characterized as truly flourishing.
Pelican Institute for Public Policy
The Pelican Institute (pelicaninstitute.org) believes every person should have the opportunity to flourish. The Institute’s mission is to research and develop policy solutions to address the most significant barriers to opportunity in Louisiana. Pelican educates the public about the benefits of individual liberty and free enterprise, turning great ideas into powerful policy solutions that make a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
Texas Public Policy Foundation
The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (texaspolicy.com) mission is to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility and free enterprise by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public-policy debate. TPPF believes human flourishing is at the heart of each research effort it undertakes. With a laser focus on removing government barriers that prohibit human flourishing at the state or federal level, we will improve the lives of our fellow citizens.