Terwilliger Family Foundation

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Building Collaborative Networks to Improve Economic Mobility in Communities

Since 1979, the incomes of the top 1 percent of the nation’s earners have increased at more than four times the rate of incomes of the lowest 20 percent, and 70 percent of Americans born in the lowest income quintile will never reach the middle quintile. 

Research from Raj Chetty, now at Harvard University, and others increasingly demonstrates how much opportunity depends on access to resources such as well-designed, affordable homes, quality education and well-paying jobs. There is a pressing need to improve the pathways to economic opportunity to help struggling families improve their circumstances and offer a future filled with more opportunity for their children to thrive.

A generous grant from the Terwilliger Family Foundation is enabling Enterprise to understand the best ways to promote economic mobility through an integrated approach that includes stable housing, innovative services, access to quality jobs, and opportunities to build income and assets. We are working closely with the public sector on strengthening the ways government funds, structures and delivers its services.

Key components of this effort include:

  • Researching existing programs and identifying priority needs to serve as the basis for policy recommendations and the creation of pilot programs. 
  • Developing an Economic Mobility Network of partners to create a data-driven, capital-supported approach for sharing knowledge and demonstrating new strategies for increasing opportunity.
  • Examining how technology, including Enterprise’s Opportunity360 platform, can be a key part of delivering services, including tailoring them to individual needs.

By bringing together best practices in housing and economic mobility from the field and connecting them to new research and technology, we aim to make a profound difference in the lives of lower-income families and communities.
 

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