THE INVEST IN TOMORROW REPORT
Solving child poverty is everyone's business
Invest in Tomorrow is an initiative undertaken by Maine organizations, businesses, and individuals to cut Maine’s child poverty rate in half over the next ten years as a bold step toward eradicating child poverty in a generation. Solving child poverty will forever change the lives of Maine children and families for the better. It will also strengthen our workforce, because these efforts have the potential to increase low-income families’ work hours by 1.5 million hours a year and increase earning capacity for low-wage working parents by more than $20 million a year.
A sustained commitment to ending child poverty in Maine. Invest in Tomorrow began with a year-long series of conversations with Mainers from all walks who have an interest in increasing economic opportunity in Maine, including business leaders, faith leaders, health care professionals, teachers and school administrators, social service providers, civil legal aid providers, and families living in poverty. Outreach focused on parts of the state hardest hit by child poverty. Using data and broad-based community input, we identified priority areas to focus on in order to make the biggest difference, and we will track a set of “Measurements of Economic Security and Opportunity” over the next ten years (2019-2029) to observe their impact.
Maine has a child poverty problem. Today nearly one in seven Maine children is growing up poor with an average household income of less than $12,000 a year. One out of every five kids is food insecure, living in families that worry whether they will have enough to eat. Some Mainers are more likely to be impacted by poverty, including rural Mainers, female-headed single-parent households, and children of color.
Child poverty has serious, long-term consequences for children and communities. Children who grow up in poverty are less likely to succeed in school, less likely to graduate high school, and more likely to be out of the workforce as adults. The experience of childhood poverty has profound long-term effects on health, earnings, and even mortality.
We all have a stake in addressing child poverty. Poverty challenges our schools, our health care system, our communities, our workforce, and our economy. Invest in Tomorrow envisions a world in which families can meet their basic needs to thrive and find gainful, sustainable employment, lifting their families out of poverty and setting us all on a better path. To that end, we have identified promising policy solutions that could increase the likelihood that every Maine child gets what they need to have a fair shot at a bright future.
To meet our goals of halving child poverty over a decade and increasing workforce participation and families’ earning capacity, Invest in Tomorrow’s stakeholders have committed to shared priorities. As we work together on these priorities, we will hold ourselves accountable for creating meaningful results by tracking the Measurements of Economic Security and Opportunity, monitoring our progress year-to-year, and recommitting to collective action over time. Each year, the data scorecard will be published at www.investintomorrow.me.
If your organization is interested in joining the Invest in Tomorrow stakeholder group, please contact Ann Danforth.