WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- LIFT, a national nonprofit whose mission is to empower families to break the cycle of poverty, today announced its largest ever gift -- a $4 million donation from Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine. The gift marks the launch of The Lavine Family Innovation Fund, designed to propel LIFT's work with families in vulnerable communities, providing a direct pathway to economic and social mobility.
"Having first become involved with LIFT in 2012, I have seen firsthand the impact this organization has on American families through its mission to combat poverty and expand opportunity," said Jonathan S. Lavine, who serves as Co-Managing Partner of Bain Capital, a leading global private investment firm. "LIFT plays a critical role in leveling the playing field for families in need and giving them a fair shot at providing for themselves and their families, something many of us take for granted."
"Jonathan and I have watched LIFT grow into an innovative organization that is a model for how social services can serve families in need," added Jeannie Lavine. "This gift is our way of showing our belief in LIFT's work, and most importantly, our support of the parents that LIFT serves who are working to build strong foundations in order to create better lives for their families across the country and across generations."
LIFT partners with early childhood organizations across the U.S. who refer parents to its services. LIFT then works to build a trusted relationship with each parent by pairing them with a coach who works with them to create a personalized, actionable goal plan centered around family goals, which often include increasing savings and reducing debt, finding high-quality educational opportunities and securing jobs that can provide more economic stability. Through these relationships, LIFT helps parents develop the personal well-being, social connections and financial strength they need to achieve economic mobility and break the cycle of poverty for their families.
"Given our country's staggering level of inequality, there couldn't be a more important time for the Lavines to make this powerful investment in our national anti-poverty work," said Kirsten Lodal, who co-founded the organization in 1998 and serves as LIFT's CEO. "This fund will accelerate LIFT's efforts to drive economic and social mobility for families, and most importantly children. It will also enable us to produce critical research and disseminate our findings to affect meaningful sector-level change. This investment marks a new chapter in LIFT's journey to empower the hardworking parents we serve to create better, brighter futures for their children."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a family with two adults and two children was categorized as "in poverty" if its income was less than $24,339. As of 2016, 8.1 million U.S. families are living in poverty. Approximately 13.3 million U.S. children are currently living in poverty, representing 32.6 percent of the people in poverty.
Founded in 1998, LIFT is a national nonprofit dedicated to ending intergenerational poverty. Since then, we have helped 100,000 low-income individuals achieve their goals. Today we connect hardworking parents and caregivers of young children to the people, tools and resources they need. LIFT operates in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C., communities with some of the highest rates of concentrated poverty. By fostering relationships between low-income parents and caregivers of young children (members) and dedicated volunteers (advocates), we help families build the personal well-being, social connections and financial strength to secure basic needs and achieve long-term goals and aspirations, like a safe home, living wages or a better education. Headquartered in the nation's capital, LIFT is also committed to developing strong partnerships with a range of partners on national issues vital to a better future for children and families. To learn more, visit liftcommunities.org.
About the Lavine Family Innovation Fund
Formed by Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine in 2017, the Lavine Family Innovation Fund will help LIFT empower vulnerable communities toward economic and social mobility, produce research and disseminate findings to affect sector-level systems change. The formation of this fund will serve as a catalyst for continuous improvement of our direct services and as a force-multiplier by broadcasting these best practices to the human services sector.