Gates Foundation commits $158M to new 4-year effort to reduce U.S. poverty


Gates Foundation CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann. (GeekWire File Photo / Todd Bishop)

The Bill Melinda Gates Foundation says it will commit $158 million over the next four years to fund research, data collection and community initiatives across the United States to combat poverty and help more Americans position themselves to climb the economic ladder.

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The new program is an outgrowth of the Seattle-based foundation’s $3.7 million grant to the Urban Institute in 2016 to establish the U.S. Partnership on Mobility from Poverty.

The vision is to ensure that there are more people and groups “at all levels committed to increasing mobility from poverty over the next decade,” said Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation CEO, in a conference call with reporters in advance of the announcement.

The Gates Foundation says the funding will be targeted to programs that can fill in data gaps; empower community leaders; improve coordination among different sectors such as housing, jobs and health; research the new landscape for jobs; and improve public understanding of poverty and economic mobility.

Desmond-Hellmann added, “We want to invest in promising approaches to help workers who are in-low mobility jobs at this opportunity. We also want to be able to increase the capacity of local actors, particularly governments, so that they can accurately diagnose and make data-driven decisions in their own communities that can drive change and mobility.”

The new commitment will be announced this morning at an event hosted in Washington, D.C., this morning where the U.S. Partnership will present findings and recommendations from its work. Watch the live stream below.

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