Previous community reports recognized the significant negative impact poverty has in our community. The Field Guide 2030 Community Strategic Plan included “Minimizing Poverty” as one of four major cross-chapter themes. Poverty was listed as one of four “Red Flag Themes” in the 2013 Community Focus Report. The Impacting Poverty Commission was established and met for over 18 months. The Commission was charged with the following:
- Inventory the various support initiatives that currently operate within our community to support families and determine overlaps or gaps in service.
- Educate Commission members about poverty by learning from the service providers in the Impacting Poverty Collaborative.
- Identify root causes and symptoms of poverty in our community.
- Research and identify best practices from other communities that address families without enough resources or living paycheck to paycheck.
- Set a vision, measurable goals, and strategies to move our community toward a measurable reduction in poverty via a two-generational (children and adults) “opportunity creation” approach to reduce the number of families without enough resources or living paycheck to paycheck focused on increases and access to:
- Employment and well-paying jobs
- Early Child Development and Education
- Effective transportation
- Affordable and quality child care
- Affordable and safe housing
- Quality foods
- Healthcare and healthy lifestyle options
The Impacting Poverty Commission produced a Call to Action Report (pdf) in October 2015. The report included action items and endorsements to address the needs of the community. The Commission recommended the creation of an initiative to follow through on the recommendations in the report. Initially, the initiative was entitled, Together Springfield and the name was later changed to Prosper Springfield.