Vice President, Center for Community and Economic Opportunity
Bob Giloth is a both a denizen and student of urban communities. “I didn’t grow up in a city, but since leaving my parents’ house, I have spent almost every minute in cities,” says Giloth, who lives in Washington, D.C., and enjoys walking the city streets there and in Baltimore near Casey’s headquarters. “You’ll see me walking downtown just about every day,” says Giloth, who managed community development corporations in Baltimore and Chicago and served as deputy commissioner of economic development under Chicago Mayor Harold Washington before joining Casey in 1993. He holds a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from Cornell University and has always been intrigued by what makes communities thrive.
Giloth is dedicated to developing strategies that help people who live in areas of concentrated poverty get the support they need to become economically stable. He came to the Casey Foundation to run its Jobs Initiative, an eight-year effort that connected inner-city young men and women in six cities to vocational services and living-wage jobs. “Economic opportunity has always been a strong and continuous theme in my career,” Giloth says. Lessons from this work guided the development of today’s Family Economic Success portfolio, which includes work, education and income supports as well as “the more integrated, diverse set of resources families need to achieve financial well-being.”
“I had been looking at the importance of good jobs for a lot of my career, but at Casey when we looked at the role of family in children’s success, it opened my eyes to the kinds of support families need not only to become economically stable but to raise successful children,” Giloth says.
The Center for Community and Economic Opportunity advances a two-generation strategy to help parents achieve financial stability while preparing their children to succeed in school and life. This work promotes high-quality early learning experiences for children and economic assets for families as well as the parenting skills and community supports needed to alleviate the challenges that can jeopardize children’s long-term learning, behavior and health.
“Through emerging neuroscience research, we are coming to understand toxic stress, its impact on kids and the role of parents and caregivers in mitigating and preventing it,” Giloth says.
Giloth was an architect of the Centers for Working Families, which have yielded impressive results in Atlanta and other cities in bundling workforce supports for families and helping parents get high-quality early care for their children. He also helped launch the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, a national partnership that supports local coalitions connecting low-wage workers to education, training and credentials so they can pursue family-supporting careers.
His passion for improving access to opportunities stemmed, in part, from growing up in the counterculture of the 1960s. “Those values and interests led to working on poverty and equity issues,” Giloth says. Today, what motivates him is “helping to create the space for my staff to assume leadership roles and meeting the challenges of the next generation of work.”