Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network is focused on providing rapid response data and analysis to community stakeholders and policymakers who want to enhance economic mobility and decrease poverty.

Led by a multi-stakeholder steering committee, the network shares best practices to help academic institutions and others engage with practitioners and policymakers on anti-poverty agendas.

On May 8, 2019, we hosted the Midwest Mobility from Poverty Convening, bringing together universities and partners from across the Midwest to learn effective strategies from universities’ existing partnerships and explore how to expand their work.

This project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network brought together journalists, academic researchers and practitioners from across the nation and Midwest for a virtual conference series to promote in-depth, impactful, and solutions-oriented media coverage of poverty-related issues.

While academic research contributes to a deeper understanding of poverty-related issues, the media is uniquely positioned to share those findings and shape how policymakers, community leaders, and the general public think about poverty. Coverage of economic mobility issues is all the more urgent as income inequality in the U.S. reached a record-high in 2019.

See videos of the virtual sessions and find more resources to continue the conversation. 

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network offers Communications Technical Assistance for network members to request communications advice or concrete strategy recommendations. Support may take the form of a 30-minute consulting phone call to map out target audiences and make recommendations on a communications approach, to providing a more robust plan and direct assistance with templates and media contacts. Examples may include:

  • Providing a curated media list of national and regional reporters covering poverty-related issues, tailored to the specific issue area desired
  • Advice on when to make it public and how to avoid unintended consequences when publicizing research data
  • Translation tools and templates for policy papers and research briefs
  • Media consultation for reports and assistance developing a dissemination package
  • Assistance with data or story mapping

Network members are invited to fill out this form to get started. Interested in connecting with the Network? Contact Julia Weinert at weinertj@umich.edu.

Poverty Solutions organizes a twice yearly call for interested communications leads to connect on learned practices and to identify areas of collaboration to strengthen our impact. Those interested in joining can contact Kristen Kerecman at kristker@umich.edu.

The Midwest Mobility from Poverty Network is facilitating a grant funding opportunity for academic researchers and community-based partners throughout the Midwest. Funding for up to six grants of up to $25,000 each is available.

These grants seek to incubate and accelerate collaborative community-university projects that will leverage data and apply research to have real-world impact on economic mobility across a well-defined geography in the Midwest. Grants may provide early-stage investment in university-community partnerships to deepen relationships, sharpen project scope and develop outcomes, or enable existing partnerships to disseminate research to inform policy and practice.

Grant recipients will be announced late June 2020.

The network is led by a steering committee that includes the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions initiative, Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, the University of Chicago Poverty Lab at Urban Labs, the Kirwan Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University, and the Future Services Institute at the University of Minnesota.

While the steering committee members share a common goal of engaging with practitioners and policymakers on anti-poverty agendas, each research center has a unique approach to this work. The following memos highlight the strengths of each institution and provide examples of how they promote engagement with poverty research.

University of Michigan Poverty Solutions: Detroit Partnership on Economic Mobility (PDF)

University of Michigan Poverty Solutions: Communications and Public Engagement (PDF)

University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty: Using Linked Administrative Data to Inform Policy and Practice (PDF)

Case Western Reserve Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development: Using Integrated Data to Inform Regional Policy and Action (PDF)

University of Chicago Poverty Lab: Partnering for Impact at Scale (PDF)

University of Minnesota Future Services Institute: Bolstering Innovation and Effective Implementation (PDF)

For more information, contact Julia Weinert.