Heartland Alliance

A Year of Big Change.

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July 2020 | E-News


New Bills to Bring Financial Relief & Well-Being to Illinois

Heartland Alliance wrapped the 2019 Illinois Legislative Session with great success! We saw the passage of SB1786, the “license to work act,” and SB667, which caps the price of insulin co-pays. We also laid the groundwork for bold and innovative legislation that we plan to pursue in the future.

We are so grateful to all of our community and legislative partners that made this veto session a success and we can’t wait to share the plans we have for 2020—stay tuned! Until then, learn more about how the new laws we helped passed can impact you and your communities today.


"These briefs are intended to spur ongoing debate, dialogue, and action towards jobs policies that are inclusive, equitable, and focused on building a nation that works for all.”

- Melissa Young, Director, Heartland Alliance's National Initiatives 


Bold Solutions for Equitable Jobs Initiatives

Despite the strength of the labor market, millions of workers are left out and left behind and it’s beyond time for bold and inclusive strategies. That is why we have released two briefs that outline inclusive and equitable strategies for ensuring that any person, regardless of the challenges they may face, has access to employment opportunities and the supports to succeed.

Heartland Alliance has a long history of studying and implementing subsidized employment and transitional jobs programs and is committed to structuring these programs to serve the most disadvantaged workers. So we partnered with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan and the City of Detroit to develop this paper, so that we could use our collective experience to provide concrete guidance to those in Detroit's workforce development ecosystem. Read it today.

This next resource pulls together research, our insights from programs across the country, and participant input in order to form a set of recommendations around model federal, state, and local policies that establish subsidized and transitional jobs programs. Read it today.


Racial wealth inequity is the product of centuries of policies and practices that keep people of color from getting ahead. The work of IABG and the Midwest Asset Building Conference was to convene leaders and innovators and ask what is will take to close the racial wealth gap and create an economy that works for all.


Midwest Asset Building Conference

This month, the Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), a project of Heartland Alliance, teamed up with other state asset building coalitions to host the Midwest Asset Building Conference in Detroit. The conference put a spotlight on policies that perpetuate racial and gender wealth inequity and lifted up promising asset building programs throughout the region. Heartland Alliance staff led sessions on wealth stripping, predatory lending, and Children’s Savings Accounts.

Check out #MidwestConf2019 on twitter for more on the conference and the Illinois Asset Building Group!

Spotlight on Data: Learn more about assets 

Want to learn more about assets and wealth in your community? You can use our local data portal to understand patterns of homeownership, asset poverty, and bank access near you. These paint a more detailed picture of economic opportunity than just looking at income indicators alone. Let us know how you’re using the data!


“My kids are people of color, they’re growing up in a community of color, and I want to try and level the playing field to help them achieve their hopes, dreams and aspirations. I want them, people who have records, and everyone in the community to feel like they have opportunities in society.”

- Floyd Stafford, Senior Project Manager


Look Inside: Floyd Stafford, Senior Project Manager 

Floyd Stafford is a Senior Project Manager of Field Building in Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division. And while he is one of the newest members of the department, he is not a new face to Heartland Alliance, having played a major role in one of our most innovative programs, READI Chicago. Floyd is a born and raised Chicagoan who has a passion for sports, family, hip hop, and his community and has made each an integral part of his life.

Meet Floyd Stafford!

What We're Watching

Heartland Alliance's Director of Research, Katie Buitrago, is watching...Candyman (1992)

"This time of year, I always get on a scary movie kick. I recently re-watched the 1992 film Candyman, which explored an urban legend about a murderous ghost in Chicago’s Cabrini Green public housing. In addition to giving me nightmares, the movie prompted reflections about my role as a community researcher in Chicago. The film’s main character is a sociology graduate student from the University of Illinois at Chicago, who initially doesn’t believe the stories told to her by Cabrini Green residents; the residents similarly view her with skepticism, underscoring the harmful power dynamics that can arise between researchers and the people they study when time is not taken to build trust. In the end, the film reinforces the message that we should listen to people’s experiences and value different forms of evidence, not just those revered by the academy."

Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division engages in research on social issues and solutions, policy and systems change, and field building nationwide. The division is home to Heartland Alliance’s Social IMPACT Research Center, Policy & Advocacy team, and our National Initiatives on Economic Opportunity.

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