Western Michigan University launched the Community Empowerment Center last year to address the issue of poverty.
Interim Executive Director Teresa Bingman says the center is working to bring together resources from the university and the community. She says academic research being done at the university may help develop "best practice models" for addressing poverty.
Bingman, who is also founder and CEO of The Bingman Group, says addressing poverty requires action in the public sector as well as the private sector. She says the Kalamazoo Promise is one part of that puzzle for removing some of the hurdles in the way of people trying to get out of poverty. Bingman says there is also a challenge in letting people know that the Promise and other programs are available. But she says "it does start to change that whole mindset in terms of individuals knowing that they're going to college."
The Community Empowerment Center will begin work soon on a strategic plan to address poverty. Bingman says that will be a collaborative plan involving many people throughout the community.
Additional links: Kalamazoo Gazette reporter Julie Mack puts Kalamazoo's ranking as having one of the highest poverty rates in the country into context.
The Center for Community Empowerment's upcoming Burian Lecture Series.