Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Why do our helpers live in poverty?

At this past Friday's poverty forum, Steve Knight, CEO of United Helpers, told us that his organization serves over 1,800 people per day and about 70% of them live in poverty.

He went on to say that United Helpers and its subsidiary, Sparx, employ 1,000 people and he estimates that half of them are also poor.

I have always hated the idea that, as an employer, I might be paying people less than a living wage.  I'm sure Steve hates that, too!

This sad fact raises a question of values.  We often pay the people who care for our most vulnerable community members - children and seniors - so little that they cannot adequately support their own families.

Why do we place so little value on this kind of important work that makes our families and communities stronger?

How do we change that?  How do we change public opinion, government officials minds, and donors and funders perspectives to understand that if we want to do the good work of our nonprofit organizations, we need to pay people to do the work.  And they need to be able to support their own families.

I don't have an answer, but I know we will never find an answer if we don't begin the conversation!