Establishing a policy center focused on hunger, homelessness, illness, inadequate education and poverty

As resources for the social safety net diminish and the socioeconomic gap widens, it is important for policy-makers and the public to have regular, accurate data on the number of people in the U.S. who live in distress. However, there is no agency that regularly reports this information, nor can policy-makers easily obtain it. This grant will provide support to establish a Washington, DC, based policy center that will gather data on the prevalence of hunger, homelessness, poor health, inadequate education, and poverty and conduct research on its implications. The Center will: (1) monitor the prevalence of societal distress in the five domains; (2) issue annual reports to update the public on the status of societal distress; (3) answer specific questions from policy-makers online and in person; and (4) refine methods for analyzing the prevalence of societal distress and quantifying its effect on societal outcomes. The nonpartisan Center will focus on research, not advocacy, and emphasize objective, independent analysis. Virginia Commonwealth University committed start-up funds to launch the project. RWJF funds will contribute to the Center's operating costs in 2008, its second year of operation. The Center's long-term plan is to develop a consortium of agencies and foundations that will share data and, with Virginia Commonwealth University, finance the Center's operating costs. The Center's work will heighten policy-makers' awareness about the plight of the most vulnerable people the Foundation's Vulnerable Populations Portfolio seeks to help, inform the Portfolio's future program development, and provide an additional vehicle for dissemination of results from the Portfolio's grants.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $49,984.00

Awarded on: 11/9/2007

Time frame: 1/1/2008 - 3/31/2009

Grant Number: 63408


Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

1101 East Marshall Street
Richmond, 23298-5048


Steven Herbert Woolf
Project Director