- We are focused on using a strengths-based, asset-oriented approach to people and issues. We believe that positive change occurs when we appreciate, value and invest in what is best in our people and community.
The word “poverty” is defined as the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support. In other words, poverty describes a condition where “assets” have been reduced to nothing or disappeared. In 2009, the City of Detroit had lost so many of its assets that there were no chain grocery stores within the city limits and in what many refer to as the Motor City, you had to drive out of the city to buy a Chrysler or Jeep. Poverty is the lack of assets, whether at the personal level, neighborhood level or city level.
Too often we try to fix poverty by providing temporary assets: food from the back of a truck, starting up a thrift store or two, knocking down a few houses in a broken neighborhood or opening a paycheck loan storefront. We can’t “fix” a person, a neighborhood or a city. True transformation comes from wise, thoughtful, collaborative investment over time. Investing in a broken neighborhood could mean opening a small grocery store instead of a bar or a branch office of a bank (West Fresno still doesn’t have bank branch, only a couple of ATM’s). It turns out the way to beat poverty is not by fixing it, but by investing in assets like neighborhood businesses, retail, home ownership, job creation, bank and credit union branches, technology and education.
(insights provided by Kurt Madden/Fresno Unified School District)