Summit on Poverty



Dismantling Systems of Poverty

Poverty is perputated by our culture, not by any one individual or family. It is rooted in the society we live in today. It is entrenched in stereotypes we claim we don't hold. Entrenched in hiring practices we don't acknowledge. Entrenched in policy. Entrenched in the way we view and judge others and ourselves. It is embedded in our culture. We must break poverty at it's root if there is to be meaningful change.

The Social Development Commission (SDC) and its coalition of partner agencies will present the SDC Summit on Poverty 2017, Dismantling Systems of Poverty, Wednesday, September 6 - Thursday, September 7. Ranked within the top five in our nation for the highest poverty level, our community faces a crisis. Poverty is not a choice, it's an epidemic affecting a deplorable amount of our fellow residents; children, adults, and the elderly.Our culture must change! The number of people living in poverty in Milwaukee County is undeniable. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye and ignore this crisis.The issue must be in the forefront and remain there until it is eradicated.

The SDC Summit on Poverty is a key collaboration of service providers and subject matter experts such as policy makers, advocates, faith-based and community based organizations.

Reducing poverty in Milwaukee County will require a long-term effort that can only be successful if it addresses the barriers that prevent individuals and families from moving toward economic stability. It is the responsibility of our entire community to help lift our most vulnerable members out of poverty.

SDC is pleased to welcome Kevin Powell as the keynote speaker on September 6, the first day of the Summit. Powell knows poverty…and determination. He grew up in extreme poverty and raised by a single mother who dreamt of his survival and success. Through Rutgers University’s (RU) Educational Opportunity Fund Program for low-income and disadvantaged young people, he was the first in his family to attend college. He became a student leader aware of widespread social injustice.

Powell has authored 12 books, is international speaker, activist and advocate for social justice, is a political, cultural and literary voice who educates and analyzes existing barriers in the political landscape and at the human level.

His work includes writing for national media outlets including The Washington Post and Newsweek, and he was a founding staff member of VIBE Magazine. Powell has spoken at high-profile organizations world-wide including Stanford University, Mircosoft headquarters, the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the "March on Washington" and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Powell['s presentation on the intersect of the four focal points will be a launch pad for the Summit to expand diaglogue and advise on policy. This year's Summit will dig deeper into the focal points of the 2016 event with the objective of producing a managable number of specific goals to attain by the 2018 Summit. Focal points are:

  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • The Isms
  • Policies & Systems
  • Trauma

Dates:  Wednesday, September 6 & Thursday, September 7, 2017 (New! Two-day Summit)

Time:  7:30 AM

Location:  Italian Conference Center, 631 East Chicago Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202


Questions? Please contact Abra Fortson.

Register Now!


We Need Your Sponsorship!


Producing an event the magnitude of the Summit on Poverty requires the support of organizations and individuals in our community. Please take a moment to review available sponsorships, or make an individual donation, to support this critical event.



Special Thanks To:


SDC Summit on Poverty 2017 Co-Chairs

Stephanie Findley, SDC Board of Commissioners
Dr. Gary Williams, SDC Board of Commissioners

Coalition Partners

African American Chamber of Commerce

American Civil Liberties Union

Center for Self-Sufficiency

Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative

Milwaukee Urban League

NAACP Milwaukee Branch

UWM Milwaukee School of Education

YWCA of Southeast Wisconsin



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