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A message from the Board


Posted: Jun 06, 2024
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EndPovertyEdmonton

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We have some bittersweet news to share: after seven years of stewarding City of Edmonton’s strategy to eradicate poverty, EndPovertyEdmonton (EPE) will effectively wind down its current operations by the end of 2024, and begin reimagining how the organization can return to its roots as a movement—grounded in community and united in a resolve to eradicate poverty through transformative change.

We want to share our path forward with you, and our continued commitment to honour ceremony and protocol as we move ahead and centering equity in our next steps.

Edmonton City Council’s decision to sunset EPE’s funding from $2.1 million in 2023 to $500,000 by 2026—with no City of Edmonton funding beyond that—has made it nearly impossible to continue operations.

The work of ending poverty is far from finished, and we have felt the gravity of this closure in the face of growing inequity and houselessness in our city.

We have not taken this decision lightly. The work of ending poverty is far from finished, and we have felt the gravity of this closure in the face of growing inequity and houselessness in our city. We engaged a wider group of people closest to the work to help us determine what we should do. Their valuable input has informed our path forward, and a summary of what we heard will be shared as soon as it’s ready.

We engaged EPE staff, members of Stewardship Round Table, and 17 Executive Directors, board members and community leaders from across Edmonton’s social services sector.

They share our deep disappointment in Council’s decision, which has effectively ended support for the City’s own poverty elimination strategy. The City made a commitment to ending poverty in a generation, and in the words of one participant: “that work was only given 7 years.”

Over the next six months, we’ll work with staff and many partners to transition our projects in the best way possible, and we will communicate regularly about the transition. We will also support EPE’s wonderful staff to begin the next phase of their careers—some incredible talent is coming on the job market.

When EPE launched as an organization in 2017, it was rooted in the belief that poverty is built and can be torn down, and the City saw eliminating poverty as a profound act of reconciliation. To achieve systemic change we believe we need to break out of single-issue silos and advance anti-oppressive, intersectional solutions to address the root causes. We are proud of our role advancing these solutions through convening, network-building, uplifting and advocating—locally and nationally. And we are very proud to have been one of the first cities in Canada to bring a human rights lens to ending poverty.

We want to thank each of you for being part of this incredible journey with us.

Any real or perceived shortcomings of the organization lie with the board, and not the staff or the many volunteers that continue to dedicate so much of their time and energy to EPE and its work.

Over the last seven years, we have learned many lessons going from an idea to a fledgling organization—and the growing pains of operationalizing a collective aspiration. Any real or perceived shortcomings of the organization lie with the board, and not the staff or the many volunteers that continue to dedicate so much of their time and energy to EPE and its work.

But we can’t walk away. Though this funding cut comes at a time—in the shadow of a devastating pandemic—when the need is highest and most complex in our city, we are not giving up on EPE’s vision to eliminate poverty in a generation and create shared prosperity for all Edmontonians.

Our city is grappling with overlapping crises. Right now, one out of every seven people living in Edmonton – more than 130,000 of us – is living in poverty. Those fourteen percent of us do not have the means to secure stable housing, adequate nutritious food or the conditions that foster health, safety and basic quality of life. As a city, we have a collective responsibility—and moral duty—to end poverty, not just manage it.

As operations wind down, we plan to dedicate the remaining funds to launch an open community call to get involved in reimagining a collective response to ending poverty in our city. More information about this process will be made widely available as soon as possible.

We know our community has the creativity, wisdom, tools and will to realize our collective vision of prosperity for all.

So stay tuned. We know our community has the creativity, wisdom, tools and will to realize our collective vision of prosperity for all. We look forward to working with Edmonton City Council to prioritize eradicating the root causes of inequality and poverty in our city.

In the meantime, we invite you to send words of thanks to EPE staff and volunteers for their service and dedication.

In strength and solidarity,
Barhet Woldemariam, Ben Henderson, Lucenia Ortiz

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