Challenge

The war on poverty has made poverty tolerable but has not made it escapable.

In the 50+ years since President Johnson declared a war on poverty, the poverty rate in America has not significantly decreased. Nearly 50 million people live in poverty with many more only slightly above the line.

The War on Poverty is not working

Entrenched in the traditional service program approaches created as a result of Johnson’s “war” are stereotypes that poor people can’t manage money, take little initiative, and aren’t willing to help one another.

Existing Stereotypes

Negative stereotypes result in misdirected policies

Programs and policies directed at low-income people are generally needs based, which disincentivizes initiative and mutual assistance, adding to the stereotype. This has resulted in the negative perception of low-income families being viewed as liabilities rather than assets. Many mistake their plight for a lack of resourcefulness, drive, or direction in how to run their lives.

How Systems See Me

  • Single Mom
  • Section 8 Housing Resident
  • Food Stamp Consumer
  • Underemployed
  • GED Graduate
  • 580 Credit Score

How I See Myself

  • Mother of three A students
  • Active member of my community
  • Participant in a $10,000 Lending Circle
  • Entrepreneur paying back a small business loan
  • FII Scholarship recipient
  • 780 Initiative Score

The Resource Gap... a missed opportunity

As a nation, we have missed an opportunity to invest directly in the initiative and strength of families working toward economic mobility.

75% of low-income families move above the federal poverty line within four years. Yet, 50% slip back under within five years. Under the current system, families struggle to build the necessary assets to weather the next crisis and aren’t rewarded for their initiative in doing so.

The Resource Gap

The FII Model

We offer a different, very simple, approach: We believe that investing in the innate initiative of families will allow them to move themselves out of poverty.

We start with the assumption that we have underestimated the capacity and initiative of low-income communities to improve their financial and general well-being. At the heart of the FII model is a trust that low-income families working in peer groups can lead their own change.

At the heart of the FII model is a trust that low-income families working in peer groups can lead their own change.

Enabling families to lead their own change

We know there are systemic barriers that challenge families’ abilities to leverage their assets, strengths and capacities. Our work aims to remove these barriers.

How it Works

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