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Pathways to Prosperity: Breaking the Poverty Cycle in Central Ohio

What are the chronic factors that are keeping so many Columbus families – more than one in ten – locked in a multi-generational cycle of poverty, and what new resources are needed to help these families break free of the poverty cycle once and for all? Central Ohio is a rapidly growing, vibrant community, generating the lion’s share of Ohio’s overall economic vitality. Yet despite its affluence and prosperity, Columbus is experiencing growing inequality between our neighbors with resources and those who are struggling. Franklin County’s poverty rate is higher than the statewide average, with 14.3% of county residents living in poverty in 2021, versus 13.4% across Ohio. From 2000 and 2020, over half (55%) of the net population growth in Columbus was comprised of people living below 200% percent of the poverty line. Columbus is among the least-promising places in the nation for low-income children to climb the financial ladder. Personal savings rates have also hit a new low for many families: 68% of Americans are worried about being able to afford living expenses for just one month if they lost their primary income source, and 57% of adults are unable to afford a $1,000 emergency. We’ll be joined by a panel of passionate experts to better understand the multi-generational cycle of poverty in Central Ohio, and the critical resources, initiatives, and programs that can help our Columbus neighbors escape the poverty cycle forever.

Featuring Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO, The Columbus Urban League; Karen Mozenter, CEO, Jewish Family Services; Tony Collins, CEO & President, YMCA of Central Ohio; Lawrence Funderburke, Founder, President, and Certified Financial Planner, Funderburke Institute of Financial Empowerment and hosted by Tonisha Johnson, Emmy Award-Winning Multimedia Journalist and Anchor, Spectrum News 1.