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Our Work in Economic Opportunity

Poverty is a major obstacle to children reaching their full potential. Millions of low-income families in the United States struggle to pay for basic necessities or lack savings to help them weather hard times. As a nation, we run the risk that too many families are slipping further into an economic hole that may trap their kids for generations. This is how we are addressing the issue:

Helping low-income parents and other adults find good jobs and steady incomes.

National partnerships and state-level initiatives are building workers’ skills to meet employers’ needs while also strengthening policies for adult education, job training, economic development and other resources to help individuals find and keep jobs and build careers. 

Nearly 6.5 million U.S. teens and young adults are neither in school nor in the workforce. With new research, Casey offers recommendations to support youth in gaining a stronger foothold in the economy.

Throughout the nation, the Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training program equips individuals with the literacy, work and life skills they need to earn credentials and get to work.

Supporting working parents and other adults to manage their money effectively and meet immediate needs.

Between 2001 and 2008, 1.37 million free tax returns were prepared at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites across the country in an effort to help families leverage the earned income tax credit without paying large fees.

Recognizing that a job is not enough, Casey’s Center for Working Families approach connects low-income individuals to public benefits, tax credits and job training, while also providing financial coaching and education to help families budget for household needs and plan for the future.

Encouraging parents and other adults to pay off debt and remain financially stable for the long term.

During the Great Recession, families in low-income neighborhoods were disproportionately affected by the crisis due to targeted subprime lending, less access to traditional credit sources and higher unemployment rates.

With some 70 million Americans having poor credit scores or no credit history, the Foundation has developed tips to help families avoid money traps that can drag down credit scores.

Current Strategies

Financial Well-Being

Strategies to help individuals and families build financial assets and become adept at managing their money responsibly.

Center for Working Families

An effective strategy to assist low-income individuals and families with reaching financial stability and moving up the economic ladder.

Work, Education and Income

Investments aimed at linking individuals disconnected from the workforce or school to opportunities for jobs, education and achieving the American Dream.

Related Past Initiatives

School-to-Career Partnership

UPS and Casey spearheaded this program in Baltimore, and it has since spread to cities and communities across the nation. The program links UPS and other large employers with community organizations and human services agencies to help prepare young people for independence as they age out of foster care.

Jobs Initiative

Launched in 1995, the Jobs Initiative was an eight-year effort in six cities to connect inner-city adults to family-supporting jobs and to improve the way urban labor markets worked for low-income, low-skilled workers. The initiative's lessons continue to inform Casey's work to improve economic stability for families and communities.

Related Resources

Opportunity Zones: Incentivizing Investment in Low-Income Neighborhoods

In this blog post, Charles Rutheiser, a senior associate in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Center for Civic Sites and Community Change, talks Opportunity Zones. He reviews what these areas are, when they were established and how they could evolve with the help of a federal tax incentive program of the same name.

The Future of Workforce Development? Samaschool is Thinking Gig

Gig jobs are on the rise. It’s an evolution that Sarah Currid, managing director of Samaschool, knows well. The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Lisa Hamilton recently spoke with Currid about this work and innovative ways to help low-income workers leverage gig jobs to build a brighter, stronger future for their families.

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