Alexandria, Va. – Top leaders from several of the nation's largest humanitarian organizations and advocates announced a new collaboration today to fight the War on Poverty. Brought together by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), leadership from Feeding America, Save the Children, The Salvation Army, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lutheran Services in America, United Way and The Alliance for Children and Families all agreed to work together in 2014 to educate, innovate and act to reduce poverty in communities across the country.
"On this day, 50 years ago, in his first State of the Union Address, President Lyndon Johnson declared an unconditional war on poverty in America. Now, 50 years later, ample evidence suggests that the war is far from over," said Rev. Larry Snyder, President of CCUSA. "The partnership announced today will explore tangible opportunities to work together throughout 2014 to support each other's poverty-reduction initiatives."
Each organization agreed to a set of poverty reduction strategy principles put forth by CCUSA as they work together in the coming year. The principles will guide all policies and practices considered to fight poverty in the year ahead and include a commitment to:
- EDUCATE the public about the everyday challenges facing the more than 46 million people living in poverty in America today;
- Highlight INNOVATIVE solutions to poverty by connecting local practitioners with national leaders; and
- ACT to reduce poverty in communities across the country using newfound knowledge and techniques.
"United Way is excited to be a partner in this critically-important effort. We believe that committing to work together is the only way to successfully address issues like poverty-reduction and its larger impact on our families and communities," said Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. president, United Way Worldwide. "A collaborative approach to reducing our nation's poverty ensures that the results we achieve are both inclusive and sustainable."
"As the nation's largest hunger relief organization, we know that poverty is one of the leading causes of hunger in America. If we are able to reduce poverty in our country, we will also reduce hunger," said Bob Aiken, CEO of Feeding America. "We look forward to collaborating with our esteemed partners, and we are hopeful that we will make some real progress."
"The Salvation Army has been committed to tending to the physical and spiritual needs of the poor since its inception, serving more than 30 million people in need each year in the United States," said Commissioner David Jeffrey, National Commander of The Salvation Army. "We are honored to be working alongside other organizations that share our commitment to serving the underserved and solving the root causes of poverty to break the cycle for good."
"Clearly, with over 600,000 people homeless every night, our nation has urgent work to do to end poverty," said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. "We must work harder, but we must also work smarter, and the Alliance is grateful to Catholic Charities USA for leading this critical initiative."
"Poverty is taking an incredibly heavy toll on 16 million children in America today. Their health, wellbeing, education and future prospects are all in jeopardy from the very beginning," said Carolyn Miles, Save the Children's president and CEO. "Save the Children is committed to getting children the early education and opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. But we cannot do it alone. Breaking the vicious cycle of poverty will take the concerted efforts of committed organizations and individuals willing to raise their voices for our nation's most vulnerable children."
"Whether it's 50 years ago or today, poverty remains the major obstacle to a strong and healthy America in which all citizens can reach their fullest potential," said Susan Dreyfus, president and CEO of the Alliance for Children and Families. "Reducing poverty means more children, adults, and families can live healthy and productive lives, and we all benefit. Together, we can pursue a healthy society and strong communities for all."
"In communities across America, Lutheran health and human services organizations are on the front lines transforming lives and communities," said Charlotte Haberaecker, president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America (LSA). "LSA members know firsthand how broadly poverty reaches into our communities, and we are pleased to join CCUSA and our colleagues in fighting poverty – together, we will create a path to a brighter future, self-reliance and hope for millions of Americans."
The organizations also announced today their intent to convene a roundtable discussion on reform next month. More information about the roundtable discussion will be available in the coming weeks.
About Catholic Charities USA
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is leading a national movement to end poverty in America. In communities across the country, Catholic Charities member agencies are helping individuals and families in poverty achieve their full potential. Together we are dedicated to creating a life of opportunity and self-sufficiency for each of the 46 million of our brothers and sisters who live in poverty. CCUSA was founded in 1910 on the campus of Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. as the National Conference of Catholic Charities. For more than 100 years, CCUSA has guided and supported the vast network of Catholic Charities agencies nationwide in a common mission to serve, advocate, and convene. For additional information, please visit www.catholiccharitiesusa.org.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is a nationwide network of more than 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 37 million people through 61,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit http://www.feedingamerica.org/ Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FeedingAmerica or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FeedingAmerica.
About Lutheran Services in America
Lutheran Services in America (LSA) is one of the largest health and human services networks in the country with more than 300 members that provide a broad range of critical services from health care to children and family services, senior services, disaster relief, refugee services, disability support, housing, and employment support, among others. Collectively, LSA members serve 1 in 50 Americans each year in thousands of communities across the United States and are open to all regardless of their religious affiliation or social or economic background. LSA is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, please visit www.lutheranservices.org.
About National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. By improving policy, building capacity, and educating opinion leaders, the Alliance has become a leading voice on this issue.
About The Alliance for Children and Families
The Alliance for Children and Families is a national organization dedicated to achieving a vision of a healthy society and strong communities for all children, adults, and families. The Alliance works for transformational change by representing and supporting its network of hundreds of nonprofit human serving organizations across North America as they translate knowledge into best practices that improve their communities. Working with and through its member network on leadership and advocacy, the Alliance strives to achieve high impact by reducing the number of people living in poverty; increasing the number of people with opportunities to live healthy lives; and increasing the number of people with access to educational and employment success. Visit alliance1.org for more information.
About The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army, an evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in London in 1865, has been supporting those in need in His name without discrimination for more than 130 years in the United States. Nearly 30 million Americans receive assistance from The Salvation Army each year through a range of social services: providing food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. 82 cents of every dollar The Salvation Army spends is used to support those services in 5,000 communities nationwide. For more information, go to www.salvationarmyusa.org.
About Save the Children
Save the Children is the leading independent organization for children in need, with programs in 120 countries, including the United States. We aim to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives by improving their health, education and economic opportunities. In times of acute crisis, we mobilize rapid assistance to help children recover from the effects of war, conflict and natural disasters.
About United Way
United Way, a worldwide movement in 41 countries and territories, includes nearly 1,200 local organizations in the United States. It advances the common good by focusing on education, income and health – the building blocks for a good quality life. LIVE UNITED is United Way's call to action for everyone to give, to advocate and to volunteer to improve conditions in their local community. For more information about United Way, please visit: UnitedWay.org.