With the adoption of Closing the Opportunity Gap as a focus for our future, The Community Foundation of South Alabama will be at the forefront of narrowing the opportunity gap in Southwest Alabama.

Americans are increasingly segregated by class, and the opportunity gap is widening. Children in wealthier neighborhoods have access to opportunities that help them grow into productive members of communities and families. Yet children from low-income areas have less access to everything from quality early childhood education, enrichment activities that provide mentoring, and advanced placement courses in high school.

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In Alabama, 27.5% of children are living below the poverty level.

These children fare worse academically, are less likely to go to college and are far less able to grow into productive members of their community.

Community foundations are leading and investing in a variety of ways to increase opportunity for America’s kids, and our relationship with the Community Foundation Opportunity Network is key to making the biggest impact possible.

As we join ranks with the network, we look to one of the world’s most renowned political scientists, Dr. Robert Putnam, to help guide our work. His book,”Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” is the backbone for this movement aimed toward reducing poverty and restoring the American dream.

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In Baldwin County, 20.4% of children are living below the poverty level, a rate that soars to 29% in Mobile County.

Dr. Putnam believes that the starkly unequal access to opportunity facing America’s children has the potential to wreak social and economic havoc if something is not done to reverse current trends.

Our Closing the Opportunity Gap initiative will engage the community in three different areas aimed at helping financially fragile families succeed: work, education and family.

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The US has the second highest number of children in poverty than in all developed nations: 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line.

Here's how we'll do it:

  • Boosting access to effective parenting education
  • Improving skills to help young people get well-paying jobs
  • Increasing public investment in two underfunded stages of education: preschool and postsecondary