"The Hidden Lives of America’s Poor and Middle Class”
Jonathan Morduch, Professor of Public Policy and Economics at NYU Wagner, has co-written an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, describing the U.S. Financial Diaries project he leads. The ongoing project deeply explores the financial lives of individual American families of lower and middle income levels. It illuminates, in part, the phenomenon of unsteady household income and expenses, and how this volatility can hamper the ability of working families to gain economic stability and upward mobility. At the same time, the project shows that financial products, programs and policies created to help working households are sometimes ill-suited to the day-to-day challenges these households actually face – whether they are living below or well above the poverty line.
Professor Morduch is Executive Director the Financial Access Initiative, a consortium of researchers focused on the most pressing issues of financial inclusion in the U.S. and in developing countries. He created the U.S. Financial Diaries project with colleagues Rachel Schneider – with whom he co-authored the article – and NYU Wagner graduate Daryl Collins (PhD, 2010).
All kidding aside, Newark's Mayor Booker relates his policy challenges and success
In a public conversation at NYU Wagner before more than 125 students, Newark, N.J., Mayor Corey Booker offered hard-won insight, progress reports and humor in describing how his administration's strategies to reduce recidivism are contributing to broad civic improvement.
Mayor Booker fielded questions October 8, 2009, about his pattern-breaking efforts from Ellen Schall, Dean of Wagner, and the audience on a day when, as it happened, he was attracting national attention for countering quips delivered by TV talk-show host Conan O'Brien at Newark's expense. The mayor told students that New Jersey's largest city is simply "not the butt of jokes," but conceded that matching O'Brien laugh-for-laugh is no easy challenge.
But Booker had the audience chuckling at several points, even as he described serious and substantial efforts since his election in July, 2006, to set a national standard for urban transformation. He noted he has created several public/private partnerships and brought together civic group to rehabilitate and green the city's parks and playgrounds, doubled affordable housing construction, and set up model programs to assist at-risk youth and empower ex-offenders to thrive in meeting their family obligations.
Booker said with evident pride that only 3 percent of the ex-offenders who participated in an innovative fraternity on fatherhood begun by the city two years ago have been re-arrested, showing that carefully tailored programs can end a publicly and personally tragic cycle of recidivism. He said he calls the fatherhood program DADS, or Delta Alpha Delta Sigma, he joked. He hopes that by working to bring proven business analytical measurements and operational management techniques to the city administration, such efforts will be scaled up and replicated elsewhere. "Most cities," he said, "don't have a mature prisoner-reentry system."
The 39-year-old Mayor Booker said he's working to turn the city's well-regarded charter schools -- currently overseen by Wagner alumnus De'Shawn Wright -- "from "islands of excellence to hemispheres of hope." With the help of philanthropic organizations and researchers, transferring the Newark charters' formula for high achievement to the rest of the 45,000-student school system is achievable, he said.
"Hopelessness is probably one of the worst toxins in any city, it's a cancer, and it really undermines what you're trying to do," said the mayor. But in referring to his deepening involvement in public service, he then added, "It hasn't been easy, but it's been so rewarding."
The evening event was sponsored by The NYU Wagner Students for Criminal Justice Reform and The Black Allied Law Students Association.
Alumnus Jason Franklin selected as Chronicle of Philanthropy "40 under 40" honoree
NYU Wagner alumnus Jason Franklin (PhD, 2014) has been named to The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “40 under 40” honor roll of innovators at the intersection of philanthropy and public service. Franklin, whose doctoral work at the Wagner school explored issues of public administration, currently serves as W.K. Kellogg Community Philanthropy Chair at the Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Formerly the inaugural president of Bolder Giving, a New York nonprofit created by Bill and Melinda Gates, he works to advance the field of community philanthropy in particular. “Mr. Franklin hopes to study how people give through community foundations, giving circles, and donor networks in specific geographic areas or to address issues of common interest,” according to The Chronicle profile.
“These leaders and the others The Chronicle has selected as people under 40 to watch are trailblazers crafting innovative new approaches to entrenched problems.In their work today, we get a preview of what the future might hold.”
Alumnus Wins National Public Service Award
NYU Wagner alumnus David Smith (MPA, '76) has won a prestigious 2008 National Public Service Award from the American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) for excellence in public service at all levels of government. Smith is the County Administrator, Maricopa County, Arizona.
ASPA and NAPA established the National Public Service Awards in 1983 to honor individuals whose accomplishments are models of sustained public service within and outside the work environment.