Welcome to the new UpTogether Blog! This is a place where staff will share expertise, perspectives about ongoing issues and news about our organization.
We wanted our first post to be about something that makes UpTogether different: our belief in seeing and investing in people for their strengths. We call it our “strength-based approach.”
In the U.S., we tend to blame people when they experience poverty or financial hardship. This “deficit-based” view of people perpetuates the status quo through dehumanizing systems filled with restrictions and barriers. Society underestimates the potential and resourcefulness of people with limited income to improve their own financial and general well-being.
Of course, there are systemic barriers — some created by racist policies and practices — that challenge families’ ability to leverage their assets, strengths and capacities. At UpTogether, we work to remove these barriers.
There are three key ingredients to UpTogether’s strength-based approach:
Capital: People must have access to sufficient capital to invest in their own lives, so we invest in individuals and families through unrestricted cash.
Community: People benefit from the power of community and naturally and routinely exchange social capital and help one another. We learn from financially under- resourced communities and co- create opportunities for people to build and strengthen their social networks.
Choice: People are experts in their own lives and must have full choice and control over their time and resources. We trust that people are capable of making decisions for themselves and their families.
Using the “three C’s,” we do away with the traditional top-down approach by trusting and investing in families in undervalued communities and the solutions they discover on their own.
What does this look like in real life? Check out our Pulse blog, which showcases and celebrate the stories of UpTogether members finding pathways to economic mobility. Read about how Jasmine started her own business, William sent a daughter to college, and Sarah saved money to become a car mechanic.
Every day, UpTogether centers the capabilities, resourcefulness and power of individuals. We look forward to using this blog to highlight our strength-based approach and how it can lead to changing systems. Thank you for being here!