The Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation has awarded a grant to Step Up Savannah, Inc. to identify and find solutions for policy and procedural barriers that hinder Chatham County families motivated to move out of poverty.
The grant will support a policy expert who will work at the Georgia Legal Services Program.
The grant is a boon for Step Up, which seeks to research, educate and find innovative solutions to local, regional and state policy issues that impact people living in poverty.
“This will fill a critical gap in Step Up’s work plan,” said Daniel Dodd, director.
Specific policy issues will be identified by Step Up’s volunteer action teams, organized in the areas of workforce development, financial education programs, and critical work supports such as transportation, child care, and public benefits.
A recent issue Step Up championed was transfer costs for CAT bus riders; the CAT Board voted to increase bus fares but make transfers free for 90 minutes, effective next month.
The new funds mean Step Up can more effectively target public policy issues and expand its reach. This is an initial investment in Savannah by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation, which focuses on assisting low-income communities in the Southeast.
“GLSP is very enthusiastic about furthering its relationship with Step Up Savannah and building on its past success. It fills a unique role in our community, questioning traditional notions of not only what poverty means but how we can confront it,” said Bill Broker, Georgia Legal Services Program managing attorney, Savannah office.
Since 2004, Step Up’s dedicated volunteers have worked to boost the capacity of job training and education programs, to build upon financial education and wealth-building programs, and advocated for more resources for affordable housing and transportation, and access to affordable, quality childcare.