History

building with large glass windows

The Center on Poverty and Community Development (Poverty Center) was founded in 1988 in response to concerns about growing inequality and the geographic concentration of poverty in many cities. Supported by founding grants from The Cleveland Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, the Center became part of a national network that sought to understand these trends and formulate locally tailored policy and programmatic strategies to address them.  Over more than three decades, it has become one of the nation’s preeminent university-based poverty research programs, known especially for its community partnerships and innovative applications of data science and administrative records to inform the search for social solutions. For more information about current or recent funding see our Current and Recent Funders.

The location of the Center within the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University provides access to tremendous resources including outstanding students and faculty, modern facilities and technology, and strong managerial and ethical oversight. The Center has also benefited from being among the founding members of two important national networks that support advanced data applications for social impact, the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (NNIP) and the Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP). NNIP, which includes partners in over 40 cities, recently conferred the G. Thomas Kingsley Impact Award to the Center on Poverty and Community Development for their investigation of the effects of poor housing conditions, including lead exposure in children, on school readiness. The award recognizes an NNIP Partner organization that has "demonstrated impact using neighborhood data to improve local policy and practice to benefit people with low incomes and communities of color." Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy (AISP), a network that promotes the development of regional, multi-agency integrated data systems, recently recognized the Center’s study of the downstream costs of lead poisoning in Cleveland as a premier example of the use of integrated data to promote policy and action.