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May 4, 2015 / Rebekah Seder, Editor

New study looks at role of place in determining economic mobility

POVERTY | A new study finds that poor children raised in some cities and regions are far more likely to rise out of poverty as adults than they would be if raised in other places (NY Times, 5/4):

Economists say the study offers perhaps the most detailed portrait yet of upward mobility — and the lack of it. The findings suggest that geography does not merely separate rich from poor but also plays a large role in determining which poor children achieve the so-called American dream.

These places [with higher levels of income mobility] tend to share several traits…They have elementary schools with higher test scores, a higher share of two-parent families, greater levels of involvement in civic and religious groups and more residential integration of affluent, middle-class and poor families.

In the Greater Washington region, children raised in Fairfax and Montgomery counties have more income mobility than those raised in the District or Prince William County. You can manipulate the regional data with this nifty interactive graphic here.

WRAG/WORKFORCE | In her latest column, WRAG’s president Tamara Copeland reflects on why good jobs are an important step to preventing the hopelessness that precipitated events in Baltimore (Daily, 5/4):

If we want to lessen the likelihood of the horrors of Baltimore happening in our neighborhood, I believe that we have to give people hope. For me, hope comes in the form of a job, a job with a future, a job that is secure, a job that pays a fair wage. If you have that job, you can hope to live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. You can hope to save enough to give your child the education that you know is needed. You can hope that your children will emulate your work ethic and see the benefits of work. Hope is a powerful motivator and when that hope is more than an emotion, when that hope leads to the reality of purchasing that home, setting up an education savings account and maybe even taking your family on that first-ever vacation, you are no longer a part of the problem. You’re a part of the solution.

– The summer 2015 class of Frank Karel Public Interest Communications Fellows have been announced. This fellowship places first-generation and minority undergraduate students at area nonprofit organizations to expose them to social change communications.

WRAG is pleased to be the fiscal sponsor for this program. Says Tamara Copeland,

“We can fully appreciate the importance of communications when we see the shift in thinking that occurs when we change the terminology we use from “affordable housing” to “housing affordability,” or when images accompanying stories about Baltimore are of people cleaning up the city and not the burned out buildings that remain. The power of phrasing and of pictures should not be minimized when we think of what changes public opinion and leads to social change. So, when WRAG was asked to be the fiscal agent for the Karel Fellows, we were honored to take on this responsibility that directly aligns with our work.”

– In a blog post, Angela Jones Hackley, interim president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, announces the new EQUALITY Fund (Equitable Alternatives to Incarceration for Teens and Youth), created in partnership with the Kovler Fund, to provide investments in programs focused on addressing tensions in low-income communities, and the disproportionate incarceration of young men and boys of color in the region. (CFNCR, 5/1)

EVENT | The Consumer Health Foundation‘s annual meeting, Building Healthy Communities through Regional Economies, takes place on Monday, June 8. Harvard University’s David R. Williams, an internationally recognized authority on social influences on health, is the keynote speaker. Click here for more information and to register.

EQUITY | Obama to Unveil Nonprofit for Young Minorities After Baltimore Unrest (NY Times, 5/4)

HOUSING | With Prices Tripling, Homeownership Tanks Among Low-Income Washingtonians (CP, 5/1)

I’m not sure I’d be able to communicate with a 12-year-old anymore.

– Rebekah

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