Changing the Poverty Equation with Georgetown Law

By LIFT on July 3, 2014

Categories: News, Our Work

Federal, state and local anti-poverty programs, regulations and laws can be overwhelming to understand – for both the LIFT-DC team and our members. That’s why we are proud to announce our partnership with Georgetown Law’s prestigious Community Justice Project to better understand the lay of the land.

“People living in poverty are often blamed for their circumstances,” says Brian Marroquin, LIFT-DC’s Program Manager, “and at LIFT-DC, we want to challenge this thinking. People who utilize social service programs have incredible tenacity and can offer great expertise to policy-makers on what works and what doesn’t work as policies and programs get formulated,” Brian adds.

LIFT-DC will help change the equation by working with the Community Justice Project to better understand local policy initiatives related to housing, job creation and job training. Together, we will inventory what groups and individuals are doing to change anti-poverty programs and laws and then decide where the voice of our members can make the biggest contribution, based on their real world experience with the social services system.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with one of the best law schools in the nation,” says Dave Harvey, LIFT-DC’s Executive Director. “One of our priorities is to understand how LIFT-DC Members who navigate the public benefit, housing and job training worlds everyday can have a voice at the table where public policies and programs, both at the local and national level, are being developed. It is our hope that Georgetown law students will help us do exactly that through this work. ”

“LIFT-DC is an extraordinary organization that has already helped many clients of The Community Justice Project lift themselves out of poverty,” says Colleen Shanahan, director of The Community Justice Project.  “We look forward to the Community Justice Project partnering with LIFT-DC to develop policy advocacy strategies that leverage LIFT-DC’s unique understanding of poverty into systemic change,” she adds.

About Georgetown’s Community Justice Project

The Community Justice Project is a clinic at Georgetown Law where students represent individual clients and act as advocates for community, non-profit, educational, faith-based and other organizations and groups. Each spring the Project accepts requests from community, non-profit, educational, faith-based, and other organizations and groups for projects to be completed in the upcoming academic year. The students serve as advocates, consultants, advisors, capacity-builders, strategic planners, policy analysts and community organizers to help clients tackle complex, high priority projects.


LIFT-DC is working to help lift people out of poverty for good by pairing rigorously trained volunteer Advocates with committed community members to build the strong personal, social and financial foundations they need to get ahead. By setting their own goals and working hard to achieve them, LIFT Members are equipped to get a job, a safe home and a quality education for themselves and their kids. They also build a support network, confidence in what they bring to the table and the skills to manage tough times in the future. At two resources centers in the District, the Perry Community Services Center and THEARC, LIFT-DC works with about 1,000 Members each year and has been lifting the DC community since 2000. LIFT-DC is the local operation of LIFT, a national organization helping community members achieve economic stability and well-being.