Richmond names anti-poverty initiative after MLW

7/30/2013, 3:48 p.m.

The Richmond Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Commission will now be called the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty, as announced during a news event in Richmond this morning. Mayor Dwight C. Jones also took advantage of the event to map out the way the work of the commission will be organized going forward.

“The Maggie L. Walker Initiative will honor the social and entrepreneurial legacy of this homegrown hero,” said Jones. “Our work, in honor of one of Richmond’s great historical figures, is being done in hopes of reviving Maggie Walker’s legacy of person-centered community economic development and empowerment.”

Jones spoke about the implementation plan to move the work of the Anti-Poverty Commission forward. Task forces consisting of key administrators in each policy area, issue experts, and nonprofit and business stakeholders will develop specific implementation proposals to specify what is to be done, who is to do it, timelines, metrics, and estimated costs.

Additionally, Jones also announced the formation of the Citizens Advisory Board as a mechanism for ensuring that poverty stays at the tops of the agenda and that persons living or working in or near poverty have a seat at the table of the discussions. “At least one half of members of the board will be people living in or near poverty or working in high poverty communities.”

The membership roster for the Citizens Advisory Board (Maggie L. Walker Board) includes Lillie A. Estes, a Gilpin Court resident, and a member of the Mayor’s Anti-Poverty Advisory Board; as well as Raoul Mason, a formerly homeless man, educator and Richmond Street Soccer participant.

According to insiders, the idea is that the work of the task forces along with the Citizens Advisory Board will inform the mayor’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 and also be relative with respect to the city’s legislative agenda for the next sessions of the General Assembly.

“We should all be advocates for anti-poverty policy strategies, and I’m especially grateful for these individuals that have made a commitment to serve in this capacity,” said Jones. “We are looking for the initial work of these task forces to be done between now and November in terms of developing policy, but we are realistic in that we cannot expect proposals to be fully implemented overnight. But we will remain steadfast in our efforts to combat poverty because it is utterly important that we succeed for the overall health and strength of the entire city and its future.”