New Hope: A Policy Model for the Working Poor and Their Children

IPR Policy Forum

Supported with funding from the Joyce Foundation

woman holding child

"If you work, you should not be poor." In 1994, Milwaukee community activists and city business leaders rallied around this tenet and launched an experimental anti-poverty program called New Hope. In exchange for working a minimum of 30 hours a week, participants were eligible for subsidized health and child care and for earnings supplements that would bring their incomes above the poverty line. The recently published book, Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children (Russell Sage Foundation, 2007), follows three New Hope families and recounts the program's surprising success. As America takes stock of Clinton-era poverty and welfare policies, Higher Ground co-author Greg Duncan argues that New Hope could serve as a model for state and national efforts to assist the working poor and their families. The panelists will share their views on whether they believe such a program could work.

Speakers and Presentations

“How New Hope Kept Families Out of Poverty and Boosted Child Achievement”

by Greg J. Duncan , Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy and IPR Faculty Fellow, Northwestern University; and Julie Kerksick, Director, New Hope Project, Milwaukee


King Harris, Chairman, Harris Holdings, Inc.; Senior Executive, Chicago Metropolis 2020
Michael Alvarez, Outreach Coordinator, Office of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL)

View presentation slides PDF icon (pdf)

Click here to view the video.

Friday, March 16
12:00-1:30 p.m.

Wieboldt Hall, 4th Floor
Kellogg School of Management
340 E. Superior Street
Chicago Campus