Allies in Innovation

By LIFT on January 9, 2014

Categories: News, Our Work

Rich Gardner

Rich Gardner, Chief Development and Marketing Officer, LIFT

As the country pauses this week to honor and reflect on the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s call for an “unconditional War on Poverty,” we here at LIFT are reflecting on our efforts to help families lift themselves out of poverty for good. We know that we cannot win this War alone: we will continue to rely on partners across the public, private, and non-profit sectors to drive innovation and improvement in our work and the work of other programs in the broader social service system. Together, we believe we can build a system that helps people get back on their feet—people like Niki Davis.

Niki made a remarkable move from homeless to homeowner over the course of a year of working with LIFT. Niki arrived at her local LIFT office in a “state of acute distress”, as she describes it, with the basic question of “What do I do?”  She didn’t know where to start looking for housing and she hadn’t touched a computer in years, which left her feeling detached from the world of resources that exists online. She was completely overwhelmed by the maze of bureaucratic hoops she needed to jump through to apply for affordable housing in Washington, D.C. Today, after months of working side-by-side and problem-solving together with her LIFT advocate, Niki not only avoided living in a homeless shelter, she now owns her own home.


We know that stories like Niki’s don’t happen without, first, Niki’s own dogged commitment to making a better life for herself. And we also know that LIFT can’t achieve success like Niki’s on our own. We are both fortunate and grateful to have committed allies willing to invest in LIFT’s national effort to innovate and improve how we work with striving families in this country. We are proud to recognize our national partners and allies in innovation:

 Capital One   Investing in LIFT’s efforts to tell the stories of people like Niki who live one crisis away from the financial abyss and our work to change that reality in neighborhoods around the country.
 Comcast   Helping LIFT close the digital divide by supporting innovative digital literacy hubs that enable LIFT community members to get online and access resources needed to get back on their feet.
 Kellogg   Partnering with LIFT to support the mobility of vulnerable families by proving that the combination of strong personal, social, and financial foundations help people get out—and stay out—of poverty.
 Kresge   Joining with LIFT to evaluate and innovate its program – listening to the people we help every day and using those learnings to improve not only LIFT’s work but the broader social service system.
 Bank of America   Working with LIFT to help families on shaky ground meet their critical needs through integrated services and innovating our financial wellness offerings to build stronger financial foundations.
 Prudential   Supporting LIFT’s effort to leverage the results of its program innovations to engage the public sector about changing our country’s approach to serving struggling families.

Allies like these foundations and corporations provide the intellectual, human, and financial capital that sustains our work. And we will continue to learn from—and rely on—these partners to help us.

As we move beyond this 50th anniversary and look to what’s ahead in the War on Poverty, we know there is much work yet to do. We remain optimistic, though, that together with allies like these, we will be able to help more people like Niki who have been told over and over again that “they can’t” or “they won’t” believe that “they can” and “they will.”

LIFT with us! If you are a company or grantmaker who would like to join us in innovating and improving our framework for the next 50 years, let’s have a conversation.