Boston Globe

By Katie Johnston

The newly formed US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty is a who’s-who of the nation’s experts on income inequality, many of whom have strong ties to Harvard University.

The partnership, launched last week by the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, is funded by a $3.7 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Members have been tasked with identifying ways to lift people out of poverty that can be put to use in the public and private sectors. Current Harvard professors in the 24-member Partnership include chairman David Ellwood, who served as dean of the Kennedy School for 11 years, and economics professors Lawrence Katz andN. Gregory Mankiw. Several other members have taught there in the past, including Stanford University economics professor Raj Chetty and Johns Hopkins University professor Kathryn Edin.

Partnership member Elisabeth Babcock, who has a master’s and a PhD from Harvard and is president of the Boston nonprofit Crittenton Women’s Union, said she is thrilled to be serving with such a star-studded group of poverty experts.

“It feels like being asked to be a part of the X-Men or something,” she said. “It’s just a singularly talented group of people who are all fighting the same foe.”