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A 'Flip' Chat With...Patrick McCarthy, President and CEO, the Annie E. Casey Foundation

November 18, 2011

(This video was recorded as part of our 'Flip' chat series of conversations with thought leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. You can check out other videos in the series here, including our previous chat with NYU Wagner School of Public Service senior fellow Gara LaMarche.)

Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with Patrick McCarthy, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which for the past sixty-plus years has worked to "foster public policies, human-service reforms, and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today's vulnerable children and families." A newly minted member of the Foundation Center’s board of trustees, McCarthy was in town for the November meeting. Before he headed back to Baltimore, we sat down to discuss the latest editon of the foundation's KIDS COUNT Data Book (88 pages, PDF), which reported, among other things, that the child poverty rate in the United States rose some 18 percent from 2000 to 2009 and that, in 2010, one out of every five kids in the U.S. was living in a household whose income was below the federal poverty level.

Research shows that poverty rates are highly correlated with negative outcomes for children. And a new study from Stanford University finds evidence of a widening opportunity gap in the United States. According to that report (33 pages, PDF), the share of Americans living in either the poorest or most affluent neighborhoods more than doubled over the last forty years, from 15 percent in 1970 to 33 percent in 2007, while the share of families in middle-income neighborhoods fell from 65 percent to 44 percent. The findings in both reports suggest a "worsening of trends that have been going on for some time," McCarthy noted during our chat.

As McCarthy suggests in the video below, much more needs to be done to address the root causes of poverty in the U.S., which last year reached the highest level since 1993. At the same time, we need to work towards getting "children on a path towards economic success and...building the kinds of technical skills and intellectual cognitive skills that they need to be successful tomorrow."

(If you're reading this in an e-mail, click here.)

(Running time: 8 minutes, 3 seconds)

Do you agree with McCarthy's take on the Occupy Wall Street movement? And what advice would you give to funders seeking to address poverty in the United States? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

-- Regina Mahone

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