The Root Causes of Concentrated Poverty

Where do we find ourselves? Millions of dollars donated by generous and concerned citizens, yet the stark reality we must face is that in some areas of our home city, Cincinnati, the joblessness rate is 66%. The Queen City faces a life expectancy gap of 20 years between low income and high income neighborhoods. A child born in the poorest fifth of our families has a 5.1% chance to reach the top fifth in their lifetime. We are confronted with the reality that Cincinnati has one of the highest poverty rates in the country; Cincinnati is likewise number two nationally in childhood poverty.

We are not leaving a region of sufficient economic vibrancy for the coming generations. And this is not a trend exclusive to Cincinnati. To compound the issue, more than 1 billion people are projected to move into cities worldwide by 2030.

Despite the grim data we also see the present reality that Cincinnati has outstanding educational infrastructures, a vibrant start-up culture, and more FORTUNE 500 companies per capita than New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles. Each city finds strengths at its core, built and shaped across centuries of development.

At Waterfields, we are committed to tackling the root causes of poverty. Treating the symptoms (concentrated drug abuse, food deserts, lack of housing, etc.) creates ease, but not lasting solutions. How are we doing that? Through coordinating the tremendous regional resources in Cincinnati to create sustainable, profitable operations in underutilized and degraded neighborhoods of our city. By channeling innovation, we will unleash the capability of the communities we operate in while enabling sustained adaptability in the face of global competitive pressures.

Our first operations have launched us into Cincinnati’s Lower Price Hill and West End neighborhoods. Through collaboration with residents, civic organizations and other businesses, we will be a part of the community’s story of revitalization. Waterfields creates livable wage jobs and wealth creation that target the individuals who otherwise are left in the dark in our cities. We empower them as community leaders and role models and equip them with disposable income to generate a multiplier effect in their community. Without a sustainable job they are left with persistent joblessness and the welfare and set of underground skills to get by day by day. They survive, but have no ability to thrive as productive members of our community.

System issues require systemic solutions and Waterfields is ready to put Cincinnati on the map as one of the first cities nationally to consider and challenge the reality of systemic poverty. We are ready to create the blueprint for true economic development and mirror our efforts in cities across our nation. We can’t do it alone, so join us in our journey.