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Community Engagement

We aim to make progress together. Poverty Solutions works with community groups and policymakers to provide technical assistance, connections to scholars and resources, and data and evidence that informs and drives progress on poverty.

Working with Community Leaders

A group of people talking in a conference

We work with community leaders across Michigan and the U.S. — with a special focus on Detroit  — to identify and implement concrete, evidence-based strategies that significantly improve economic opportunity and reduce poverty. We investigate our partners’ research questions and learn from residents about their priorities for change.

Connecting with Policymakers and Practitioners

Poverty Solutions Director H. Luke Shaefer testifies at a Sept. 22, 2021, hearing before the U.S. House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis.

Poverty Solutions partners with U-M scholars and university units such as U-M’s government relations office to link our work to policymakers and practitioners and help shape the policies and programs that can bring about positive change. We host policy roundtables, identify opportunities to deliver expert testimony, develop policy briefs, and more.

Community Resources


Poverty Solutions develops community resources to assist the public in making sense of complex public policies and connecting with available resources. These tools aim to bridge information gaps and meet needs identified by community partners.

See community resources

Community Partnership in Action

Investing in Us: Resident Priorities for Economic Mobility in Detroit

In September 2020, Poverty Solutions released a report that lifts up more than a decade’s worth of input from Detroit residents on how to increase economic mobility and decrease poverty in their city. The community-based research project, titled “Investing in Us: Resident Priorities for Economic Mobility in Detroit,” highlights the importance of nuance in building resident-driven approaches to poverty reduction in the city.

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Partnering on the Washtenaw County Opportunity Index

Poverty Solutions is a proud partner of the Washtenaw County 2020 Opportunity Index. The 2020 Opportunity Index uses data points across five categories – health, job access, economic well-being, education and training, and community engagement and stability – to measure how where you live in Washtenaw County impacts your access to opportunity. The updated Index was created by OCED in partnership with Poverty Solutions, along with a variety of community data partners.

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Partnership report outlines barriers to financial success for Detroiters

Poverty Solutions partnered with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to release a study on the financial well–being of Detroit households. The study release kicked off several online convenings to discuss historic and systemic barriers Detroit families face to achieving financial well–being, and will culminate in an innovation challenge to support new solutions to improving financial health in the city.

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Nonprofit leaders that partnered on the #PovertySolutions​ Investing in Us report talk about the importance of including residents in designing strategies to increase economic mobility and decrease poverty in Detroit.

Our Community Partners

Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun
Dr. Joneigh S. Khaldun, then medical director of the Detroit Health Department
In our collaboration with the University of Michigan, Poverty Solutions has demonstrated a thoughtful and robust approach to community engagement. Detroiters are recognized as experts throughout the research process."
Cindy Eggleton
Cindy Eggleton, co-founder and CEO of Brilliant Detroit
Poverty Solutions’ work is unparalleled. I have had the distinct pleasure to work with them on several projects. The depth, care, and pure technical skill is without match regardless of which team member you are working with. In addition, the way they approach the efforts they undertake always puts people first."
Michael Rafferty
Michael Rafferty, president and CEO of New Detroit
Poverty Solutions helped turn a body of raw data into a dynamic tool that will help drive our work and that of our partners. Ultimately, the products that come from our continued engagement will help expand perspective, amplify calls to action, and then have ability to measure progress toward racial justice and equity.”
Gail Anthony
Gail Anthony, then CEO of the Community Foundation for Marquette County
Community work happens in the community, from the community. That is really how you get things done — you talk to each other and work together and you find out that common goal. Then you work together to achieve it. We value the engagement of Poverty Solutions not only for their access to data and expertise but their ability to listen intently to the residents to help us identify the core issues and determine solutions to our unique challenges around poverty in our community."
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib
U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan's 13th District
Representing and fighting for frontline communities that are suffering from structures and policies that keep them in poverty is difficult when we don't have evidence-based research to document what we are experiencing. That's why I am grateful for Poverty Solutions' timely, data-driven, and accessible research that made clear the link between economic mobility and the disproportionate impact of extreme, highest-in-the-nation car insurance prices in Detroit. Josh Rivera’s testimony (in May 2019) informed policy proposals that will help Michiganders get a fair deal on their auto insurance rates."
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa Delauro
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa Delauro of Connecticut’s 3rd District
What is being produced in our academic communities — the research, the science, the data — is the underpinning from which we as elected officials and policymakers can use to really stand up and fight for these issues. Thank you for this great work. I will use it and I will quote from it."

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