Enterprise to Develop and Test Innovative Approaches to Increase Economic Mobility through Resident Services with $3 Million Grant from Terwilliger Foundation 

COLUMBIA, Md. (February 22, 2018) – A $3 million grant from the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families will support Enterprise Community Partners Inc. (Enterprise) in scaling innovative, integrated approaches – in fields such as job training and healthcare – that can increase economic mobility. 

The need to improve the pathways to economic opportunity is clear. 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 Stanford 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.

“This visionary grant from the Terwilliger Foundation will enable us 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,” said Terri Ludwig, Enterprise president and CEO. “We will also be working closely with the public sector on strengthening the ways government funds, structures and delivers its services. We look forward to sharing what we learn to create exponential impact for low-income families.”
Key components of this two-year effort will include:

  • Assessing existing programs and identifying priority needs – Enterprise will partner with the Urban Institute to detail the current landscape and identify areas that may provide the greatest prospect for increasing opportunity. This research will serve as the basis for policy recommendations and the creation of pilot programs. 
  • Creating the Economic Mobility Network – This network will build on existing relationships with key partners to create a data-driven, capital-supported approach for sharing knowledge and demonstrating new strategies for increasing opportunity.
  • Using technology to accelerate impact – This work will draw on resources like Opportunity360, a free, online platform enabling users to understand both “opportunity outcomes” (e.g. educational levels, health and income) and “opportunity pathways” that affect the attainment of those outcomes (e.g. school quality or job options) – in every census tract in the country. This project will also examine how technology can be a key part of delivering services, including tailoring them to individual needs.

“We’re excited to support Enterprise as it works with partners to research and test ways to increase the economic mobility of residents living in affordable homes,” said J. Ronald Terwilliger, chairman emeritus, Trammell Crow Residential. “By bringing together best practices from the field and connecting them to new research and technology, we can make a profound difference in the lives of lower-income families and communities.”

Housing authorities and other large owners of affordable housing are now testing approaches to resident services delivery, focusing on tactics such as increasing residents’ access to jobs and occupational training. These new models to increase opportunity and economic mobility among residents embrace information on topics as varied as improved understanding of brain science, the impact of trauma on low-income families, and the use of technology-driven, evidence-based frameworks. 

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