Boston – October 6, 2016 - Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) hosted its biennial Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference this week at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. The two-day event—Oct. 6 and 7—brought together more than 350 top policy makers, researchers and direct service practitioners from across 30 states and eight countries to share science-informed approaches, discuss innovative policy solutions, and build active networks that sustain enduring intergenerational exits from poverty.

“We know that we can make substantive inroads into the deep levels of poverty in this country through innovate public policies coupled with more creative programs designed to truly partner with those struggling to get ahead,” said EMPath President and CEO Elisabeth Babcock. “The harmful effects of poverty can be passed down from generation to generation; but, by thinking in bold, rigorous, and engaging new ways, and with concerted effort across multiple sectors, we can break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.”

Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mark Greenberg, provided the conference’s keynote address, celebrating the recently announced drop in the nation’s poverty rate but noting that there is more work to be done, especially around continued incorporation of evidence-based strategies in programs for children and families.

“At the federal, state, nonprofit and private level, there’s important research being conducted on the causes and effects of poverty,” said Greenberg. “To ensure these insights are being incorporated in our efforts, we need to encourage open dialogue and share emerging research to help us all be more effective in our efforts to reduce poverty.”

“In Massachusetts, we have one of the highest wage gaps in the United States,” said EMPath Board Member and Former Attorney General Martha Coakley. “We’re proud to host the national Disrupting the Poverty Cycle Conference in Boston, creating a forum for stakeholders to generate solutions that will improve the lives of thousands of families right here in the Bay State and millions more living in poverty across the country.” The program included panel presentations, interactive workshops, and industry-leading speakers on topics ranging from the impact of poverty on the brain to the role of corporate philanthropy. Featured sessions included:

  • “What’s Next? Promising New Federal Strategies for Strengthening Child and Family Outcomes” – Keynote address from Mark Greenberg, Acting Assistant Secretary, United States Dept. of Health and Human Services
  • “Mitigating Racial Disparities in Health and Social Outcomes” – Lunch and plenary session with Harvard Professors David Williams and Jack Shonkoff
  • “Reinventing Philanthropy: How Foundations Are Evolving to Create Greater Impact” – Panel moderated by EMPath Board Member and Former Attorney General Martha Coakley
  • “Humanizing the Chronically Poor: Beyond $2 a Day” – Presentation from Johns Hopkins Professor Kathryn Edin
  • “The New Business of Social Change: For-Profit Companies Building Pathways Out of Poverty” – Plenary presented by Shared Value Initiative Executive Director Justin Bakule, and Purpose Collaborative’s Talya Bosch and former Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman presiding
  • Participants were also enriched through visual art by Artlifting’s homeless artists, and musical performances by inner-city youth from the Revolution of Hope Orchestra.

To learn more about the conference, visit

EMPath’s metric-based, mentor-led, incentivized program model offers a viable roadmap that is recalibrating the way governments, nonprofit organizations, and policy makers approach their work with low-income families. For almost a decade, the Bridge to Self-Sufficiency® and the Mobility Mentoring® service platform have been guiding low-income families toward economic independence. Participants have used EMPath’s tools to increase their incomes, secure permanent housing, attain education, and establish themselves in careers that help them break the cycle of poverty.