Who are we?
End Child Poverty in California (ECPCA) is a campaign sponsored by GRACE (Gather, Respect, Advocate, Change, Engage), a nonprofit founded by the Daughters of Charity. The Daughters are an order of Catholic nuns who take an additional vow to serve the poor in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul, and they have been doing anti-poverty work in California since 1852. The Daughters started GRACE because they could not ignore the 1.9 million children living in poverty in California, and they knew that political advocacy and government action was crucial in pushing for real change.
GRACE launched End Child Poverty in California to raise awareness of the crisis levels of child poverty in California, and to support public policy, partnerships, and community efforts to dramatically reduce child poverty in California.
This is work we are called to do.
“Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty.”
— Pope Francis
What we do:
We work alongside respected academics, California lawmakers, public officials, and partners throughout the state to advance smart legislation that will help solve the child poverty crisis in California. We also raise public awareness of the child poverty crisis, because many Californians simply don’t realize how terrible this problem is and what it’s costing us.
California has the highest child poverty rate in the country, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for cost of living. Not only does this cost children in lack of opportunity and unmet basic needs, it costs the state $66 billion a year. We know from research that lifting children and families out of poverty is crucial to improving health, providing access to a quality education, reducing crime, and paving the way for success in later life.
This past year, GRACE sponsored AB 1520, the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Act, a big step forward in reducing poverty for 1.9 million kids in California. Through grassroots activism, phone calls, tweets, and signature gathering, our committed supporters made this happen, without one dissenting vote in the CA State Legislature. AB 1520 creates an expert task force that will develop a comprehensive state plan to eliminate deep child poverty and dramatically reduce child poverty overall. The End Child Poverty in California campaign will continue to strengthen our coalition of allies and activists to fight for the resources and impact the Task Force needs to be effective.
Who leads GRACE and the End Child Poverty in California campaign?
GRACE’s President and CEO, Conway Collis, has been a public servant and advocate for social change for more than four decades. A graduate of Occidental College and Stanford Law School, he has been a live-in counselor for delinquent boys, a Counsel and domestic policy advisor in the U.S. Senate, an elected Member and Chairman of the California State Board of Equalization, Chairman of the California State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Homelessness, is a member of the California State Commission on Children and Families (the state First 5 Commission), and is the founding Board Chair of the National Foster Youth Institute.
GRACE’s Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Sandra Sanchez, runs the daily operations of the End Child Poverty in CA campaign. She has an extensive background in government and politics, and as a political consultant she helped to elect some of California’s leading progressive voices in education, environmental protection, civil rights, consumer protection, and strengthening the social safety net.
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