“The point isn’t to turn the average American into Warren Buffet, but to help people avoid disasters and day-to day choices that eat away at their bank accounts. The difference between knowing a little about your finances and knowing nothing can amount to hundreds and thousands of dollars over a lifetime. And, as the past ten years have shown us, the cost to society can be far greater than that.”
-James Surowiecki, The New Yorker – July 5, 2010
We envision full economic and social justice through the empowerment of underserved communities.
Fairness: All individuals have the same access to life-time learning despite barriers of poverty, geographic isolation and levels of education and literacy.
Sustainability: Programs that successfully address crucial unmet needs are the most likely to be sustained through locally obtained resources.
Excellence: Programs developed with local expertise, creativity and dedication in collaboration with existing organizations, meet and often exceed national standards.
Fun: Programs developed with parents and students emphasize the need for learning experiences to be interesting and fun.
Flexibility: Each local partner has the ability to alter and improve the program. We listen to and learn from our partners.
Service: Locally owned programs generate extensive opportunities for individuals committed to economic and social justice.
Collaboration: There is a shared commitment to bring services available in affluent communities to underserved communities, where they are needed most but unavailable.
Dignity: Giving children and families in underserved communities new tools for lifetime learning creates significant increases in well-being and feelings of self-worth.
Poverty: To reduce poverty by providing opportunities for financial learning that enable individuals and communities to make wise financial decisions.
HOW WE MET OUR VISION
Equitable Communities was formed in 2012 to understand and analyze the remarkable success of two small demonstration projects started in 2007 by The Kent brothers: one is Jagna Community Radio/Philos Health in rural Philippines and the other is the Financial Literacy Program in New York City public elementary schools. These two projects created sustainable locally-owned programs that are now providing crucial services to their community. More importantly, these two projects are now partnering with established agencies with a common passion to get services where they are needed most but do not exist.
While empowerment is not a new idea, the Jagna/Philos Health Program developed a radically different how. They pioneered local ownership, which gives written responsibility for ultimate project design, management, evaluation, and sustainability to the local partner. This concept was later adopted by the Marketplace Project and works just as well in New York City as it does in the rural Philippines. In the seven years that both projects have evolved, they have enriched each other.
Equitable Communities brings knowledge, opportunity and most importantly respect to underserved communities. Respect includes the name we use – “underserved communities” implies a system rather than a personal problem. Respect includes guaranteeing empowerment in writing, which has released the expertise, dedication, creativity, and participation that exists in communities, but is often wasted.
Since our programs are locally owned, they fight poverty because increased economic security is the highest priority for our communities, especially for the future of their children. (click here for additional information.)