Office of the Mayor - March 15, 2019
Mayor Allen Joines and N.C. Rep. Derwin L. Montgomery today announced formation of The Partnership for Prosperity, a new non-profit initiative that will work to implement the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force.
The partnership will work to create and implement an action plan for reducing the number of city residents affected by poverty. It will be guided by the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force, formed by Joines and Montgomery in 2015 and tasked with finding local solutions that would be both impactful and feasible for reducing poverty. After studying the issue for 15 months, the thought force members came up with 56 recommendations and suggested that the community designate a person to work on this effort full-time.
Accordingly, The Partnership for Prosperity will have an executive director and a community engagement associate, both of whom will work full-time, Joines said.
"The issues that underlie the enduring persistence of poverty are complex and require a concerted effort to address," Joines said. "By designating full-time staff, we hope to provide the comprehensive approach that will help us reduce poverty in our community."
Montgomery noted that in addition to implementing the recommendations of the Poverty Thought Force, the partnership will collaborate with the existing framework of agencies and programs that are working to reduce poverty. "There are numerous programs already working on this issue," Montgomery said. "What the partnership can do is help us integrate these efforts so that they can have the maximum impact." Montgomery said he is excited at the work the partnership will accomplish. "This is just the beginning."
John Railey, the former editorial page editor of the Winston-Salem Journal, will serve as the partnership's executive director. Chanel Nestor, an adjunct lecturer of Rural Sociology and Sociology at N.C. A&T State University and a Winston-Salem native who grew up in the Happy Hill neighborhood, will serve as the community engagement associate.
Railey said, "Chanel and I are thankful that the mayor and the Poverty Thought Force had the vision for this crucial initiative. We’re excited about starting it from the ground up: by listening to those living in poverty and aligning with them in the fight."
Support for the partnership is being provided by the city, BB&T, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina, the United Way of Forsyth County and Wake Forest University.
As an initial step, the partnership will hold a series of "listening sessions" with those who are living in poverty. The meetings are open to the public and will solicit input on the Poverty Thought Force recommendations and which of them the partnership should focus on implementing.
Listening sessions will be held:
- Monday, April 1, 1 p.m., Financial Pathways of the Piedmont, 7820 North Point Blvd., Suite 100.
- Thursday, April 4, 1 p.m., Cleveland Homes Community Center, 1135 E. 15th St.
- Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m., Skyline Village, 1528 Bruce St.
- Friday, April 5, 2:30 p.m., The Community Mosque of Winston-Salem, 1419 Waughtown St.
- Monday, April 8, 2 p.m., (Meeting of The Homeless Caucus) Central Library auditorium, 660 W. Fifth St.
- Wednesday, April 10, 1:30 p.m., Crisis Control Ministry, 200 10th St. E.
- Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m., Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1075 Shalimar Drive.
- Wednesday, April 24, 1:30 p.m., Lloyd Presbyterian Church, 748 N. Chestnut St.
- Wednesday, April 24, 8 p.m., Open Arms Community of the United Methodist Church, 437 E. Sprague St.
- Thursday, April 25, 2 p.m., Experiment in Self-Reliance, 3480 Dominion St. NE.
Railey can be reached at John.firstname.lastname@example.org. Nestor can be reached at Chanel.email@example.com.