The US has been fighting the War on Poverty for more than 50 Years. Our social welfare system has helped many Americans survive crisis and made poverty more endurable but has not been effective at moving families to stable self-sufficiency.
Since 2001, Family Independence Initiative (FII) has been observing and documenting the lives of low-income families. FII has seen that the barriers to economic and social mobility for low-income families are not found within the families themselves, but instead are a set of assumptions that characterize low-income people as either lazy or helpless victims who need professional intervention. These perceptions determine the design of policies and practices meant to impact these families. As a result, services and resources are structured in ways that reinforce the perception of low-income families as powerless, broken, and lacking in direction, self-determination, and community support.
What if there was a different approach to addressing the issue of poverty and advancing social equity? One that does not require creating more programs and services. One that recognizes the strengths of low-income families and the initiatives they are taking to improve their wellbeing. An approach that leverages data and technology to invest directly in communities while highlighting the role community and relationships play in sustaining mobility. Join us to discuss what this approach looks like.
About the speaker:
Jorge Blandón joined FII in 2009 and leads the Technology and Data division for the organization. With technology and data, Jorge and the Analycts4 team are challenging the stereotypes of low-income families, showcasing their initiatives and sharing the progress they make on behalf of themselves and their communities. Jorge is proud to take those insights and transform them into feedback for families across the country, model different approaches to accessing social and financial resources and identifying partnerships that are tailored to the unique needs of the families that are part of FII. Prior to joining FII, Jorge worked for 8 years in the financial securitization industry, where he underwrote bond financings for municipalities and utilities, and cooperated on multiple infrastructure projects in the U.S. and Latin America.
Jorge currently serves as a Trustee for the Whitman Institute, a foundation that focuses on trust-based investment practices. He is also a member of the Re-Imagining Measurement & Evaluation Advisory Committee for Monitor Institute. Jorge is a 2015 Fellow of the San Francisco OCEIA – CORO Community Engagement Partnership and was named Urban Innovator of the Week by the Urban Innovation Exchange (http://www.uixcities.com/innovators/jorgeblandon.asp).
Jorge completed an MA in International Relations from the University of California in San Diego and has a BA from Amherst College. He is a Woodrow Wilson Summer Fellow from Princeton University and proud graduate of A Better Chance – Amherst.