In January 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan launched the New War on Poverty in Alameda County. The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in support of the effort, which was named ALL IN Alameda County.
ALL IN Alameda County was created to make significant progress towards the ambitious goal of ending poverty in our community. ALL IN’s primary strategies are collaboration and innovation. Through a stakeholder engagement process involving County staff and leadership and community leadership, everyone with a role in creating conditions for families and individual residents in Alameda County to prosper are encouraged to work together to design and implement new solutions.
ALL IN Alameda County is governed by a steering committee chaired by Supervisor Wilma Chan, and includes community residents, government agencies, nonprofit, and business representatives. The Steering Committee reviews and approves plans from action teams, and directs staff to move implementation forward. The Steering Committee can request that action teams address specific opportunities.
The whole membership brings awareness about issues in communities and agencies, and generates ideas for focus areas. Every member is encouraged to serve on an action team, which generates ideas and content, and designs implementation plans. Implementation plans go to Steering committee on a rolling basis as teams are ready.
Staff provide the organizational “backbone,” filling key communications, logistics, fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, and implementation roles.
At all levels of governance, ALL IN strives for a consensus decision-making model, and utilizes a 2/3 supermajority vote when needed.
Structural barriers to opportunity that arise from racism and economic and social policies that drive inequality are a root cause of poverty in our society. Building public systems that enable movement out of poverty requires an analysis of racial, economic, and other disparities, and the design of policies and programs that promote equity.
Low-income communities are rich with experience, know-how, wisdom, ideas, social capital, and good will. ALL IN believes communities know what they need to thrive, and our job is to elevate the voices, experiences, and leadership of people with lived experience of poverty and systems barriers as the starting place for change.
At their best, government systems provide infrastructure that supports the equitable well-being of their constituents. ALL IN works to create healthy, responsive public systems rich with incentives and resources that allow creative, local, sustainable solutions to long-term challenges to emerge.
Local economies have enabled people to move into the middle class for hundreds of years. ALL IN works to create a virtuous circle of local investment in businesses owned by and employing local residents to produce products and services for local consumers.
In January 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan launched the New War on Poverty in Alameda County. The Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution in support. The effort was named ALL IN ALAMEDA COUNTY.
ALL IN began as an extension of Alameda County’s “Human Impact Budget,” launched by Supervisor Wilma Chan, with support from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, to explore the impact of state budget cuts on Alameda County residents. The project aimed to share the stories of people impacted by cuts, provide facts, and empower people to take action.
Between 2008 and 2013, California cut over $15 billion from our social safety net –all during a time when people were losing their jobs, health insurance, and sense of security. While the state budget and overall economy have improved, conditions for people dependent on safety net services have not. There was and is an on going need to develop innovative strategies and partnerships to increase opportunity for all. Alameda County children, families, people with disabilities and older adults have found it hard to meet their basic needs for food, housing, childcare, independent living services, and more.
ALL IN Alameda County was created to address issues of poverty using the tools of collaboration and innovation. While the County’s public agencies provide the safety net created, largely, by the War on Poverty, these safety net services are often siloed, and experienced by community residents as isolated from one another. A community resident who needs an affordable place to live, a job, access to free or low-cost food, and medical care would need to access a different part of Alameda County’s infrastructure to acquire each of these supports. ALL IN promotes collaboration among County agencies to reduce the siloed nature of services, for example, combining food access with health care services. ALL IN also seeks to improve the way Alameda County is addressing issues of poverty through a lens of creativity, resourcefulness, innovation, and partnership, for example generating jobs for formerly incarcerated community residents by developing a food recovery social enterprise.
We would like to particularly thank ALL IN’s Advisory Board members, who helped launch our initiative and shape its work:
*The Thomas J. Long Foundation allocated its final funds in 2018