Harlem Children’s Zone Summit Confronts Systemic Inequities with Place-Based Solutions
The William Julius Wilson Institute at Harlem Children’s Zone hosted a virtual summit focusing on place-based and cradle-to-career solutions to confront systemic inequities devastating low-income communities, especially communities of color. Practitioners at Leveraging the Power of Place: Strengthening the Field from Networks to Neighborhoods advocated for systems change through neighborhood capacity building, effective school-community partnerships, and public sector engagement to change the odds for a generation of young people.
Keep scrolling to view the presentations.
A Call to Action: Equitable Recovery and Systems Change
Geoffrey Canada, Harlem Children’s Zone
HCZ Founder and President Geoffrey Canada issued a call to action to end poverty in America through the power of place.
Neighborhood Capacity: Evidence for Linking Networks and Neighborhoods (Keynote Address)
Raj Chetty, Harvard University and Opportunity Insights; introduced by Connie Ballmer, Ballmer Group
Data shows the power of place and its impact on social and economic mobility. Raj Chetty, the leading authority on using data to understand social and economic mobility, discussed the importance of neighborhoods in helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds succeed.
Discover Raj Chetty’s Presentation
Place-Based Work in Action
Geoffrey Canada, President of Harlem Children’s Zone; Anne Williams-Isom, James R. Dumpson Chair in Child Welfare Studies at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service and former CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone; and Kwame Owusu-Kesse, CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone
Three current and former leaders of the Harlem Children’s Zone reflect on their lived experiences implementing place-based work at scale.
Shifting Power to Neighborhoods: Negotiating Municipal Power Centers
Mayor Michael Nutter, Columbia University and Former Mayor,
Philadelphia; interviewed by Kwame Owusu-Kesse, Harlem Children’s Zone
With competing priorities and power centers, how can cities ensure they meet the needs of their most disadvantaged constituents? Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia, discussed how focusing on neighborhoods can empower communities and constituents.
Networks and Neighborhoods: Needs and Opportunities for Partnership Private
Jennifer Blatz, StriveTogether; Sondra Samuels, Northside Achievement
Zone; and Dreama Gentry, Partners for Education at Berea College; moderated by
Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink
The Power of Place movement encompasses regional networks and neighborhood organizations with the same goal: address systemic issues to end poverty. The panelists – representing national, urban, and rural perspectives – shared the major challenges, needs, and opportunities for collaboration to end systemic inequities once and for all.
Effective School-Neighborhood Partnerships: Vehicles for Systems Change
Paul Reville, Harvard Education Redesign Lab and former Massachusetts Secretary of Education and Jose Munoz, Coalition for Community Schools; moderated by Carol Naughton, Purpose Built Communities
Schools and neighborhood organizations are at times viewed as having competing priorities in supporting children. But in reality, they are aligned, and together, they can powerfully change systems. The panelists discussed how effective school-community partnerships are key to ensuring a holistic approach to address a range of issues – education, housing, economics, safety, health, family, and others – that systematically affect vulnerable children and families.
Discover Paul Reville’s Presentation
Remarks from William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson, Harvard University
William Julius Wilson, the Institute’s namesake, spoke on his seminal research on poverty and inequality’s impact on place and neighborhoods, and provided insight into how the Power of Place can be leveraged to eradicate poverty in America.
The Power of Place: Building a Field (Keynote Address)
Jim Shelton, Chief Investment and Impact Officer at Blue Meridian Partners
The power of place is gaining momentum as more and more communities attain meaningful outcomes and move the needle on social and economic mobility. Jim Shelton spoke on strategies to build a field to sustain and scale place-based efforts.
Discover Jim Shelton’s Presentation
The Power of Place: Principles and Pillars
Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities; and Hayling Price, Managing Director, Public Policy & External Engagement at Harlem Children’s Zone
Communities across America are focused on place to address pervasive social challenges and eliminate inequities. To ensure progress and impact nationwide, it is vital to align our work on a common set of guiding principles. Simone Brody and Hayling Price gave an overview of the principles and the ongoing process of developing them to advance the Power of Place movement.
Read the Place-Based Partnership Principles
Systems Change: Building Neighborhood Capacity
Lisa Early, Director of Families, Parks and Recreation at City of Orlando
Neighborhoods have a long history of facilitating systems change. Lisa Early shared lessons about catalyzing neighborhood impact from the perspective of a city-coordinated effort that builds the capacity of neighborhood organizations in one of the most vulnerable communities in Orlando, Florida.
The Policy Landscape: Engaging the Public Sector (Keynote Address)
Michael McAfee, President and CEO of PolicyLink
The success of the Power of Place movement will be measured by our ability to change the systems that perpetuate inequities in our nation. To accomplish this, collaboration with the public sector is key to systems change. Michael McAfee provided an overview of the current policy landscape and strategies to engage policymakers and officials to advance the movement.
Breakout Session Report-Out
Jennifer Wynn, Founder of Wynn Strategies; and Othello Meadows, Managing Director at Blue Meridian Partners
In break-out groups, participants shared practical examples of local and regional systems change efforts.
Shifting Power for Systems Change, Kwame Owusu-Kesse
Kwame Owusu-Kesse, Harlem Children’s Zone
HCZ Chief Executive Officer, Kwame Owusu-Kesse closed the convening by discussing what it will take to move beyond the multiple crises of inequity facing our children, families, communities, and nation.