About this site

Focusing on Montgomery County, Maryland, one of the most affluent suburban counties in the United States,1 offers an opportunity to examine the efficacy of poverty interventions in a jurisdiction with relatively plentiful resources and a relatively modest number of families and individuals experiencing poverty (as defined by the U.S. Poverty threshold). If any U.S. county could be successful in offering economic mobility to its lowest income residents, Montgomery County would seem an ideal candidate.

Yet Montgomery County’s poverty rate has been generally stagnate, even increasing slightly over the past decade. Why?

Determining the factors impeding the economic success of lower income families, and evaluating interventions intended to help those families are the goals of this effort. In critically assessing Montgomery County, perhaps we can better understand what works, and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t work in helping families escape poverty.

About me

Whether working with people experiencing homelessness, refugees from throughout the world, or people with low or no incomes, I have sought to combine best practice social services with data- driven analysis to create more effective programs and to change systems. My recent work included helping to bring the Family Independence Initiative’s data-rich, direct cash transfer model to our county, innovating a new model for a free clothing and household goods center that incentivizes participating in skills training and education programs designed to help people lift themselves out of poverty, and using American Community Survey data to examine both concentrated poverty and “Racially Concentrated Areas of Affluence” to better understand disparate racial advantage and disadvantage in Montgomery County, Maryland. As CEO of Interfaith Works for six years, I managed a team of 115 professionals and 10,000 volunteers in helping thousands of the most vulnerable in our community, overwhelmingly women and children, to lift themselves out of poverty.

My experience in direct services work, combined with my passion for research and the use of evidence to improve policies, motivates me to pursue greater equity and to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable in our world’s communities.

For more about my career, read My Resume.

  1. Montgomery County, MD, ranked 19th among counties in the United States in median household income. American Community Survey 2019 1-Year data.