Mayor Jones Advances Anti-Poverty Work

~Names initiative after Maggie L. Walker~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today that the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission will be called the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty. The Mayor named the initiative today at a press conference mapping out the way the work of the Commission will be organized going forward.

“The Maggie L. Walker Initiative will honor the social and entrepreneurial legacy of this homegrown hero,” said Mayor Jones. “Our work, in honor of one of Richmond’s great historical figures, is being done in hopes of reviving Maggie Walker’s legacy of person-centered community economic development and empowerment.”

Mayor Jones spoke about the implementation plan to move the work of the Anti-Poverty Commission forward. Task forces consisting of key administrators in each policy area, issue experts, and nonprofit and business stakeholders will develop specific implementation proposals to specify what is to be done, who is to do it, timelines, metrics, and estimated costs.

Taskforces and Chairs
Workforce Development
Jamison Manion, City of Richmond
Economic Development
John Moeser, VCU Emeritus and University of Richmond
Rev. Ben Campbell, Richmond Hill

Dr. Amy Howard, University of Richmond and City Planning Commission
Early Childhood Education and Parental Engagement
Dr. Kevin Allison, VCU
Adolescent Transition Initiative
Dr. Harold Fitrer, Communities in Schools
Richmond Promise Scholarships
Del. Delores McQuinn (70th District) and Kim Bridges (former School Board chair)

“Task force membership was determined based on our desire to assure that key actors needed for implementation are at the table, that issue experts are present, and that appropriate community partners are at the table,” said Initiative Co-Chair, Councilwoman Ellen F. Robertson. “We want to move ideas from concept to a discernible action plan that we can follow over a three-year timeline.”

Mayor Jones also announced the formation of the Citizens Advisory Board as a mechanism for ensuring that poverty stays at the tops of the agenda and that persons living or working in or near poverty have a seat at the table of the discussions. “At least one half of members of the board will be people living in or near poverty or working in high poverty communities.” The membership roster for the Citizens Advisory Board (Maggie L. Walker Board) is as follows:

-        Ken Ampy, CEO and Owner of Astyra
-        LeAngela Baker, Master’s degree student, parent, Richmond NAACP member
-        Channel Bea, East End Community Resident/Promise Neighborhoods
-        Twandra Lomax Brown, Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension
-        Tawana Bryant, Small business owner, parent, Richmond NAACP member
-        Lillie A. Estes, Gilpin Court Resident, Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Advisory Board member
-        Lupita Gonzalez, Spanish Teacher, Richmond Public Schools
-        Brenda Kenney, Whitcomb Court Resident/Promise Neighborhoods
-        Shawn Lancaster, East End resident
-        Vanessa Lopez, Teacher, Richmond Montessori School
-        Raoul Mason, Formerly homeless man, educator, Richmond Street Soccer participant
-        Jennifer Spann, The Village Children and Family Services, and
-        Albert Walker, VCU Center on Human Need

“The idea is that the work of the task forces along with the Citizens Advisory Board will inform the Mayor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014-2015,” said Co-chair, Thad Williamson of the University of Richmond. “This work will also be relative with respect to the city’s legislative agenda for the next sessions of the General Assembly.”

“We should all be advocates for anti-poverty policy strategies, and I’m especially grateful for these individuals that have made a commitment to serve in this capacity,” concluded Mayor Jones. “We are looking for the initial work of these task forces to be done between now and November in terms of developing policy, but we are realistic in that we cannot expect proposals to be fully implemented overnight. But we will remain steadfast in our efforts to combat poverty because it is utterly important that we succeed for the overall health and strength of the entire city and its future.”