Business Leaders Tackle Poverty in Their State: Lessons from Oregon Audio Conference

April 08, 2015 | Jodie Levin-Epstein

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Businesses play a critical role in creating opportunity through good jobs and economic development. But few business associations take the extra step to promote programs that directly address the root causes of poverty and financial insecurity. Oregon's business community is an important exception. During the state's 2015 legislative session, the Oregon Business Council (OBC) is advocating for a range of initiatives to fight poverty. OBC's policy agenda, which is based on recommendations from its poverty task force, includes expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit; increasing investments in mental health and community-based alternatives to incarceration; expanding the state's Individual Development Account program; and redesigning TANF to address the "cliff effect" when participants' earnings make them ineligible for other needed services.

This Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity national audio conference explored OBC's efforts to make poverty a priority and its approach to promoting its policy agenda. Speakers included:

  • Duncan Wyse, President, Oregon Business Council
  • Beverly Stein, Director of Research and Development, National Policy Consensus Center, Portland State University
  • Patti Whitney-Wise, Executive Director, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon
  • Dick Withnell, Member, OBC Poverty Reduction Committee; Owner, Withnell Motor Company

To learn more, you can also review these resources:

Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Sources for News, Ideas and Action
Oregon Business Council Poverty Reduction Initiative
Oregon Business Council Poverty Task Force Policy Agenda: 2015

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