New York, NY—On Monday, February 6, 2017, Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization, and the Russell Sage Foundation, the nation’s premier foundation devoted to social science research, will host their first annual Poverty Solutions Conference. The event is an invitation-only conference focused on developing new approaches to reducing poverty.

Unlike other conferences, there will be no audience — only participants. Four of the most highly regarded researchers in the country will present innovative ideas related to poverty fighting. Then, the invitees—a cross-disciplinary group of leaders from academia, government, non-profits, corporations and foundations—will begin to work to translate them into concrete interventions funders can support. The keynote speakers are:

Raj Chetty, a professor of economics at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Opportunity Lab. Chetty will present his most recent research on opportunity and ideas for giving children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances at succeeding, particularly through housing policy. Prof. Chetty, one of the youngest tenured professors in Harvard’s history, received the John Bates Clark medal, given to the best American economist under 40 and a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.

Matthew Desmond, a professor of the social sciences at Harvard, co-director of the Justice and Poverty Project and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. Prof. Desmond will present research on eviction. In 2016, he published “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. His work focuses on the prevalence and long-term consequences of eviction.

Caroline Hoxby, the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford and director of the Economics of Education Program for the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prof. Hoxby will share her work on matching low-income students with colleges at which they can succeed. Additionally, she’ll review the long-term impact of New York City’s charter schools on students’ educational, employment and earnings outcomes. Hoxby has received the Smithsonian’s Ingenuity Award; Sloan, Carnegie and John M. Olin Fellowships; a National Tax Association Award, and the Thomas J. Fordham Prize for Distinguished Scholarship.

Sendhil Mullainathan, the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University and co-founder of ideas42, a non-profit organization that applies behavioral science to social impact initiatives. Prof. Mullainathan will explore ways machine learning can be used to produce social good. He received a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant and now serves on the MacArthur board, and he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In addition, the Poverty Solutions Conference will feature:

  • A panel presentation on the work of the US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty, which is housed at the Urban Institute and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • A discussion led by ideas42 about applying behavioral science to anti-poverty programs.
  • An exploration of the latest results from the Poverty Tracker, a continuing longitudinal study on the dynamics of poverty, by Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy and Population Research Center.

In the weeks following the conference, Robin Hood will issue a request for proposals that expands on possible interventions that emerge from the conference. Promising proposals will receive a $50,000 planning grant from Robin Hood and an opportunity to seek additional implementation funding (up to $250,000) later in 2017. Grant recipients will be invited to present on their progress at the second annual Poverty Solutions Conference in early 2018.

“The Poverty Solutions Conference will bring leaders from academia, the public sector and the private sector to develop actionable interventions that could have widespread impact on low-income Americans,” said Michael Weinstein, chief program officer of Robin Hood.

“The Russell Sage Foundation looks forward to partnering with Robin Hood to help move the social science research it supports off the shelf and into the field,” said Sheldon Danziger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation.

The Poverty Solutions Conference will be held at the Convene Conference Center in New York City. Attendance is by invitation only. Members of the press can express interest in attending by emailing press@robinhood.org. Reporting at the conference will be governed by modified Chatham House Rule — i.e. participants are free to use the information received, but it’s not for attribution except with the explicit permission of the speaker.

For more information visit http://povertysolutions.robinhood.org, or email povertysolutions@robinhood.org.

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