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Fighting Poverty in Franklin County: More (Moore) Strategy

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Fighting Poverty in Franklin County: More (Moore) StrategyPhoto by Walker Evans.
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Questions have been raised about the county’s planned investment of over $250,000 with Tennessee-based firm Moore Strategic Consulting. The consulting business describes what it does as follows,

“We are skilled at organizational and community change processes. We facilitate, lead, design, shape, evaluate and innovate. Our engagements are always customized to match your context and your aspirations. We tap our experience, skills and proven practices to create approaches that fit your conditions.”

If that description doesn’t seem terribly precise, some additional information will be helpful: Moore Strategic Consulting will be helping Franklin County come up with a plan to address poverty. Since the announcement, questions have been raised regarding the wisdom of contracting with an outside firm to research a problem that is relatively well-known. There are actually a few answers to the questions about Moore Strategic Consulting: Residents can set their expectations based on the company’s body of work.

Moore Strategic Consulting contracted with Kalamazoo, Michigan for the same sort of anti-poverty project back in 2017. At the time, the Kalamazoo press was skeptical there too, with one reporter noting, “The group (Moore Strategic Consulting) does not appear to have a website. A Facebook page created in 2016 has only one post and one follower.”

When the Michigan project was completed, in March of 2018, Kalamazoo approved a plan engineered with the Moore consulting team. The strategies recommended in the plan were described in US News as follows:

“The plan focuses on giving all residents better access to good jobs, keeping youth healthy and promoting strong families.”

And while it probably doesn’t take a rocket scientist to identify those universal factors behind poverty, it might take some resources to put those suggestions together within a shiny presentation. You can see Kalamazoo’s version here: The 2018 Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo Action Plan. While not terribly specific, the plan’s action items are easy to apply locally (for free).

As for results, Kalamazoo has not yet reported a decrease in its poverty rate. It’s a little early to look for that. It has, however, since reported more local investments in poverty, or rather, in poverty research.

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