Tara Noland, Opinion contributor
September 24, 2018
“FII brings a very simple, but different approach: they trust and invest directly in low-income families. At the heart of the FII model is a trust that low-income families can move themselves out of poverty by setting and following their own paths forward. In just one year, 176 local families have joined FII and through increased social connections and a small capital investment, they are starting to move out of poverty and into self-sufficiency – for good.
GreenLight’s investors had the foresight to see our model as an additional tool in our community’s toolbox of poverty-fighting solutions, and we’ll continue to be nimble in our approach yet thorough in our diligence. The conditions that created the level and concentration of poverty in our city didn’t happen overnight. It will take all of us working together – and in partnership with low-income families – to understand the roots and causes of our high poverty rate and to lower it. And it will take time.
Yet we can’t pretend that if we just keep doing what we’re doing long enough, that will solve the problem. There are innovative solutions to fighting poverty, and some of these already exist here. But there are also areas where we aren’t currently moving the needle or where we aren’t doing anything at all. If we really want to address poverty in our region, we need to acknowledge this reality and recognize the tremendous opportunity we have to bring new solutions – that have already been proven elsewhere – to the table alongside our tried and true interventions.
We can’t let last week’s discouraging news knock us off course. We may not see results this year, or the year after that, but we can’t use that as an excuse to slow down or worse, give up. Let’s dig in together, check egos at the door, and listen to the real experts – our neighbors who are experiencing poverty.”
Tara Noland is the founding executive director of the GreenLight Fund in Cincinnati.