Inform. Engage. Act. This is the process by which communities across the nation have effectively addressed issues for generations.
We applaud the work of the Arizona Daily Star and the Arizona Public Media over the last year to inform our community about poverty and the challenges faced by people living in poverty, as well as highlighting organizations that are providing solutions.
Both the Star and AZPM receivied literally hundreds of inquiries from people on how they can help.
This leads us to stage two, civic engagement. The purpose of “Community Interactive: The Working Poor” held on Feb. 12 was to have a public forum where the issue can be debated and where the community can begin to engage in a solution-driven dialogue. More than 600 people attended.
The next step is to act.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild formed a Commission on Poverty that includes leaders from the for-profit and nonprofit business and education sectors. Its purpose is to create the catalyst to act on proven poverty-alleviating solutions. The commission hired the University of Arizona to conduct a review of what has been done in other cities, interview local residents and make recommendations for next steps to truly make a difference in Tucson. This research will be completed in August 2014.
In addition, the mayor and Commission Co-Chairs Peggy Hutchison, Primavera Foundation CEO, and Patti Caldwell, Our Family Services executive director, are convening city-funded human services and workforce development agencies to discuss how to focus future city resources to make the greatest impact on poverty, beginning with basic needs.
We’ll also need to reach out to our public partners in health care, community development and neighborhood conservation.
We encourage all community members to stay informed, get engaged and act to make our community a better place for all of us to live.
Patti Caldwell is the executive director of Our Family Services and co-chair of the Tucson Mayor’s Commission on Poverty.
J. Clinton Mabie is president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. Jonathan Rothschild is mayor of Tucson.