From its inception, collaboration has been a key element of EndPovertyEdmonton, an approach that EPE’s new executive director Andrea Burkhart appreciates. “I have seen first-hand the impact that occurs when people work together towards a common goal” says Burkhart, who comes to EPE after founding and directing the Action Coalition on Human Trafficking, or ACT Alberta. Since 2010, ACT Alberta has addressed a complex crime and human rights issue through collaboration and coordination with many community stakeholders: “Cross sectoral collaboration builds community, changes systems, and literally saves lives. Edmonton has a long history and culture of collaboration which will allow this community to eliminate poverty in a generation.”
In transitioning from ACT Alberta to EPE, Burkhart sees a lot of parallels. Poverty, inequality, and discrimination have all been identified in recent research as root causes of human trafficking in Edmonton. “As a community, when we move upstream to address poverty, the impact is profound, far reaching, and long term” says Burkhart, explaining what sparked her interest in EPE.
Working with others is the name of the game for EPE. EndPovertyEdmonton is grounded in years of community work and has been built on the input of thousands of Edmontonians, including experts, leaders, people with lived experience, and concerned community members. In addition to EPE co-chairs Bishop Jane Alexander and and Dr. Jeffrey Bisanz, Andrea will continue building and strengthening relationships with many of EPE’s community partners, including the 40+ organizations EPE is strategically aligned with.
EPE’s new office space will be at the United Way, which is one of EPE’s key partners, alongside the City of Edmonton and the Edmonton Community Foundation. EPE’s 5 Year Plan, known as the Road Map, contains 35 distinct, tangible actions to reduce and eventually eliminate poverty for thousands of Edmontonians. Andrea’s focus at EPE includes prioritizing reconciliation, collaboration, engaging Edmontonians, and measuring impact.
“Like many Edmontonians, I balance my civic pride with the knowledge that we can – and must – do better on issues like poverty, inequality, and discrimination” says Burkhart. “I am proud to live in a place where we all matter to each other. I look forward to learning, growing, and serving EPE and this great community as together we eliminate poverty in a generation.”