Not so long ago, the link between family stability and poverty was a highly divisive issue. The right tended to fixate on family breakdown as the main driver of a culture of poverty, while the left stressed the structural factors that limit opportunity. That debate isn’t over by any means, but many progressives have grown increasingly enthusiastic in recent years about anti-poverty efforts that focus on strengthening families and, in particular, the role of fathers.
That’s certainly true in parts of the funding community, and strong foundation support for the Center for Urban Families (CFUF) in Baltimore is a great example. Among other things, CFUF—which describes itself as a “leading voice in the national conversation on responsible fatherhood”—has an initiative called Couples Advancing Together, which seeks to ensure the success of couples with children by focusing both on strengthening relationships and employment assistance. Annie E. Casey is one funder that’s supported such work. And, earlier this year, the Kellogg Foundation swung behind this approach in a big way, a $1.5 million grant to CFUF.