On February 9th, EndPovertyEdmonton kicked off its first year as a community driven collective for change!
In what felt like a reunion of old friends and colleagues, more than 100 members of the public, including members of the Task Force, the 5 Community Tables, the Count Me In Network and others who shaped a progressive, inclusive and visionary Strategy to end poverty in a generation assembled at the Anglican Diocese in downtown Edmonton. Representatives from Edmonton’s Indigenous, faith and non-profit sectors came together with municipal and provincial government officials to mark the launch of two community publications: the Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Profile of Poverty in Edmonton 2017 Update and the Action Guide for Edmonton
Religious and Spiritual Communities, produced in partnership by the Anglican Foundation, the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative and EndPovertyEdmonton.
Both publications underlined the launch of the Five Year Plan: a set of 35 concrete, tangible actions designed to lift 10,000 people out of poverty. However, ending poverty is about more than just numbers and economics. It requires a holistic approach, based on human rights, eliminating racism and shifting perceptions. As Mayor Don Iveson stated, ending poverty is a profound step towards reconciliation, so in honouring the treaty spirit, we acknowledge that we are all of us treaty people.
Thematically, EndPovertyEdmonton is powered by groundbreaking research and best practices. This includes the Collective Impact approach: a robust, collaborative strategy to achieve large-scale social change and 6 foundational actions that we call Game Changers. EndPovertyEdmonton co-chair Bishop Jane Alexander summarized the holistic nature of these key features of the Road Map, and how it evolved from the Strategy.
When the Task Force was first convened in 2014, Alberta’s economy was in much different shape than it is today. So it is only natural that the question of whether ending poverty has gotten harder since then. Well, even though the provincial economy has suffered, the Profile showed that progressive measures such as the new Canada Child Benefit, the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) and the Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) are having a direct impact on lifting people out of poverty.
More than 40 organizations are strategically aligned with EndPovertyEdmonton including school boards, community leagues, foundations like the Stollery and community organizations like the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. A major partner for EPE has been the interfaith community, so we were happy to celebrate the launch of the Action Guide for Edmonton Religious and Spiritual Communities.
Batya Friedman, the Coordinator of the Capital Region Interfaith Housing, Margaret Glidden, the director of Communications of the Diocese and Zahra Somani of the Pirani Group and a member of the Stewardship Roundtable shared some real-life stories about how Edmonton’s different faith groups are working towards eradicating poverty in ways both great and small, from daily to long term solutions.
Finally, Indigenous Cultural Knowledge Keeper Lloyd Cardinal and his friends got us all on our feet with an honour song to mark this special day of moving to action.
Click to download the Profile of Poverty in Edmonton 2017 Update and the End Poverty Action Guide for Religious and Spiritual Communities. Click to learn more about the Edmonton Social Planning Council and the Capital Region Interfaith Housing Initiative.