Government-sponsored assistance programs have generally addressed poverty largely by “bringing discipline to the lives of the poor” rather than actually seeking to eradicate it. Programs like food and housing assistance are often conditional based on “good behavior.” This is especially prevalent, and problematic, for families in communities of color.
To move from poverty to prosperity, we must transform how we connect, relate, and learn from each other. We must acknowledge that these systems need to change rather than individuals. The Family-Centered Coaching for Racial Equity Project uses a systems lens and community-led design process to see the origins of poverty in past and current policies, rather than in people’s behavior. In collaboration with eight local organizations we seek to uncover hidden system dynamics, and shift conditions to improve racial equity.
Family-Centered Coaching strengthens how human service providers engage families and community partners by shifting power back to the families. Rooted in transformative relationship building, coaches partner to create new pathways to economic prosperity and racial justice. Organizations are invited to streamline and coordinate programs under their own roof as well as forge community partnerships to weave together the services and resources that contribute to family wellbeing.
“Now, more than ever, we need service delivery models that allow us to fundamentally change the economic trajectory of the families and communities we serve. Adopting the Family-Centered Coaching model creates an opportunity for us to collectively design a service delivery system that is equitable and inclusive, one that works for all residents of our community.” – Monique Robinson, Senior Director of Talent Solutions, New Orleans Business Alliance
Place-based organizations in New Orleans and Mississippi are uniquely equipped to model local systems, surface challenges and opportunities regarding racial equity, and explore how FCC can be used as the vehicle to alter the system and advance racial equity for impacted families. In partnership with New Orleans Business Alliance, Total Community Action, Kingsley House, City of New Orleans, City of Jackson, Mississippi Low-Income Childcare Initiative, Springboard to Opportunities, and United Way of the Capital Areas we are working together to:
- Identify challenges and opportunities to shift systems to improve racial equity for communities of color.
- Engage and build power with families to create and validate relevant solutions aimed at improving racial equity in their region.
- Test solutions and concepts with families to advance practices, stabilize programs, and measure process and impact on a larger scale.
These partners are leading the way to build more community-led practice and policies. Moving forward, we can start changing the explicit and implicit conditions that hold communities back from economic prosperity.
In collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Chicago Jobs Council, over the next three years, participating organizations will center community members and organizations in Mississippi and New Orleans with a collaborative design process to understand what is needed to transform systems, build power, and develop stronger relationships between families experiencing poverty, coaches and leadership in human service systems. We are committed to developing the relationships and partnerships necessary to catalyze communities.