In partnership with the Russell Sage Foundation, Robin Hood is bringing together leading thinkers to participate in the inaugural Poverty Solutions Conference, an action-oriented convening aimed at stimulating innovative approaches to reducing poverty.

The conference will feature four prominent scholars: Raj Chetty, Matthew Desmond, Caroline Hoxby, and Sendhil Mullainathan. But unlike other conferences, there is no audience — only participants.

Each of the speakers will present innovative ideas related to housing, education, and workforce development. Those present — individuals from academia, government, non-profits, corporations and foundations — will be asked to help translate the ideas into concrete interventions that funders like Robin Hood can seed and support.

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The idea is not to offer information that participants can acquire elsewhere, but to work together to generate new, practical plans for the future, based on some of the most exciting research in the anti-poverty field. To that end, following the conference we will issue a request for proposals that expand on concepts that emerged during brainstorming sessions.

Promising proposals will receive a planning grant and an opportunity to seek implementation funding later in the year, and recipients will be invited to present their progress at the second annual Poverty Solutions Conference in 2018.

This conference and its approach are novel. It is an experiment and we do not know the outcomes, but one thing is clear: the cost of inaction is too great. Forty-three million Americans live in poverty — including over 14 million children. In New York City alone, nearly two million of our neighbors live in poverty, a sobering one in five residents.

Poverty is a stubborn, complex problem, but by working together we can make a difference in the lives of those struggling.

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