UW-Madison to combat poverty in Dane County through new partnership

MADISON (WKOW) — UW-Madison is set to participate in a unique program finding new ideas to combat poverty in our area.

The Alliance for the American Dream is an open call for fresh ideas. The goal — to come up with new ways to raise income levels by 10 percent for the 10,000 middle class families in Dane County by 2020.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says she’s excited for this new opportunity to connect with the Dane County community.

"Bringing University knowledge and community voices together to improve people’s lives is what the Wisconsin Idea is all about," said Blank. "It’s the idea that our campus boundaries do not stop at our gates, but extend across all of Wisconsin."

University officials say most people in Dane County are relatively well-off, so they want to focus on closing racial income gaps and helping communities outside of greater Madison.

Dane County’s median household income is $65,000 and unemployment is relatively low, but the black household median income is below $30,000, according to the US Census Bureau. 

UW-Madison was one of four schools chosen in the nation to participate in the partnership. Arizona State University, Ohio State University and The University of Utah will also be involved.The UW Institute for Research on Poverty will lead the charge for UW-Madison. The program is funded by venture capital firm Schmidt Futures.

The University is looking for your ideas — community forums will be open to the general public throughout the summer. The first event hasn’t been scheduled yet, but in the meantime, CLICK HERE to share your thoughts with the program. 

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