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National award spotlights anti-poverty work in Solano and Contra Costa counties
June 17, 2013
County Administrators Birgitta Corsello of Solano and David Twa of Contra Costa announced that their counties have been jointly recognized with a 2013 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award in the area of Community and Economic Development for the “Roadmap to Cut Poverty” campaign.
NACo established the annual Achievement Award program for counties in 1970 as a way to recognize innovative county government programs. Awards are given in 21 different categories, including children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, environmental protection, information technology, community/economic development and health. Awardees will be honored at a luncheon on July 21st at NACo’s 2013 County Solutions and Idea Marketplace conference in Tarrant County, Texas.
“Solano and Contra Costa counties are leading the Bay Area in working with United Way to cut poverty in half over the next decade,” said Solano County Board of Supervisors Chair Linda Seifert. “We are so pleased that this ground-breaking work is receiving national recognition, and hope others can use what we’ve learned to grow prosperity in their communities.”
The “Roadmap to Cut Poverty” framework was developed under the leadership of United Way of the Bay Area. Over 100 businesses and local agencies have pledged endorsements to the 10-year anti-poverty campaign. Both Contra Costa and Solano counties have been holding “Safety Net Summit” meetings over the past two years, aimed at growing public understanding and awareness of local poverty issues, and developing activities that help individuals and families increase their income and stability.
“A movement begins when diverse partners come together around a collective goal to improve people's lives,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia, who has been active both in the local county anti-poverty work and as Co-Chair of a 7-County United Way-sponsored steering council devoted to targeting jobs and education as primary anti-poverty strategies. “We have mobilized business, government, philanthropy, schools, non-profits, the faith community and many others to carry out the work that must be done to move 220,000 Bay Area families out of poverty in the next few years.”
In Contra Costa County, a “Safety Net Innovation Network” is established with 18 work groups focused on different aspects of poverty reduction. Solano County has held two “Opportunity Conferences,” bringing together 150 low-income residents with community volunteers who act as informal mentors. Both counties are working with United Way to sponsor income and asset development programs, including Earn It! Keep It! Save It!, helping qualified workers to access the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Sparkpoint Centers, where families can gain financial skills and seek education and job training.