[Originally published 4/15/16] During United Way President & CEO Dr. Kenneth Robinson’s address at our Annual Luncheon on Tuesday at The Peabody in Memphis, he asked attendees to help inform our process in responding to local poverty by answering four questions. Responses were submitted by the luncheon crowd via texting. The questions and responses are provided below.

1. I believe that the greatest responsibility for helping people move out of poverty falls:

Question 1 results

a. On the individuals, themselves, who are in poverty:  46

b. On the agencies or programs whose mission it is to meet the needs of persons in poverty: 19

c. On corporate or private philanthropy: 8

d. On those who can change the systems associated with poverty (education, employment, justice, housing, etc.): 163

2. What percentage of individuals in poverty do you believe will be able to advance out of poverty over time, if provided a specific path and a structured process as we’ve described to achieve that end?

Question 2 results

a. Close to 0%, if any:  6

b. 5-10%:  41

c. 15-25%:  75

d. >25%:  107


3. Who will be the hardest to convince and to get to buy into the belief that individuals and families can, indeed, move out of poverty?

Question 3 results

a.  The business community and people not living in poverty:  53

b.   Government officials:  17

c.   Human and social service agencies:  6

d. People in poverty, themselves:  163


4. Assuming that all of the below are needed, what do you think will be the most critical component or approach to advance this agenda?

Question 4 results

a. Changing skeptical minds by increasing awareness:  45

b. Building the network or system to make it happen:  90

c.  Providing data to prove outcomes and demonstrate success:  37

d.  Getting needed resources to fund this initiative:  69


Our thanks to everyone who responded to the exercise – your participation helps inform our processes as we move forward!