The JPB Foundation’s Poverty program area seeks to lower the barriers to opportunity frequently experienced by individuals born into economically disadvantaged communities.  Those barriers, such as disproportionate burdens of chronic disease, limited access to reproductive healthcare, fewer opportunities for civic engagement, or insufficient English-language skills, often have long-term ramifications that keep individuals trapped in a cycle of poverty.  The JPB Foundation’s grants in this program area aim to remove the root causes of disadvantages experienced by those in poverty, allowing individuals, families, and their wider communities to thrive.

The Foundation is focusing on three primary issues in this field:

  • Chronic diseases, particularly the prevention and enhanced management of obesity, asthma, diabetes and other health risks that have a disproportionate impact on low-income children and communities;
  • Democracy, including the integration of immigrant populations through naturalization and other support programs and the encouragement of increased civic engagement among traditionally disenfranchised communities; and
  • Family planning, including increased access to reproductive health services and research regarding the prevention of unplanned pregnancies.

Through our focus on the systemic causes of problems linked with poverty, The JPB Foundation’s work can have collateral benefits that extend well beyond the specific individuals and issues targeted.

The JPB Foundation looks at each focal area from multiple perspectives, employing a range of strategies to address each issue we focus on; our ultimate goal is to continually learn and refine which strategy or combination of strategies is the most effective means by which to create impact. For example, JPB funds a portfolio of organizations all working on different strategies to address the epidemic of childhood obesity:

  • The Harlem Children’s Zone is rolling out a multi-pronged community-and evidence-based intervention, the Healthy Living Initiative, to develop lifelong healthy living lifestyles for Central Harlem residents;
  • ChildObesity180 draws on the growing evidence base to provide an integrated national strategy and become a major catalyst to prioritize resource allocation across the field and drive the necessary systemic changes to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time;
  • The Alliance for a Healthier Generation aims to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity across the United States by creating healthy school and community environments at scale where physical activity, healthy foods, and health care are available and accessible for all children and youth; and
  • Dr. Steven Gortmaker at the Harvard School of Public Health is filling gaps in the evidence base by evaluating the cost-effectiveness of 40 childhood obesity interventions.

JPB values finding ways to leverage our philanthropic investments, building on the success of grantees and scaling proven interventions. JPB supports programs with such a multiplying effect on grant money—programs that trigger positive life changes that continue to serve the affected individuals and those around them throughout their lives.

Photos courtesy of Harlem Children’s Zone

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