Recent events have been life-changing, particularly for Philadelphians living in poverty.

A global pandemic. A crashing economy. National racial reckoning. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that local—and national—leaders work together.

This year, the Forum on Justice & Opportunity will be an immersive, week-long virtual experience.

Monday, October 26 through Friday, October 30

Each year, the Forum mobilizes a network of citizens, practitioners, and city leaders who are committed to:

  • Changing the narrative on poverty, busting myths about those affected
  • Advancing evidence-based practices that increase economic mobility
  • Influencing our city’s systems in hopes of helping more of our neighbors move out of poverty for good

Get Ready! Six sessions focused on ensuring equity during economic recovery. More than 15 local and national thought leaders. Interactive workshop-style group activities. Social work CEUs for practitioners. And actionable take-aways to help you #ChallengePoverty.

Here's what we've got lined-up!

Day One

The Kick-Off
Monday, October 26

How do human services in Philadelphia address the root causes of poverty, discrimination, and access to opportunity, which have at the core have a long history of racism?


  • Vai Sikahema, NBC10
  • Jamila Harris-Morrison, ACHIEVEability
  • John L. Jackson, Jr., Ph.D., Annenberg School for Communication
  • Omar Woodard, GreenLight Fund Philadelphia
  • Victoria R. Bennett, MHS, Episcopal Community Services

Day Two

Tuesday, October 27

Culture, and the culture of poverty, impedes upward economic mobility. Learn about family stability and how to identify the barriers. You will learn of actions to take to eliminate barriers for others.


  • Keva White, LCADC, LSW, VIP Community Services, Inc.

Day Three

Wednesday, October 28

Drawing on data presented in the Scattergood Foundation sponsored research paper, “Place Matters,” this session will reveal how we can use data to drive change in social services, with an emphasis on social determinants of health.


  • Aminata Diallo, MS, MSSP, The Scattergood Foundation
  • Samantha Matlin, Ph.D., The Scattergood Foundation


Day Four

Thursday, October 29

Learn about the Cliff Effect, a dynamic that occurs when a slight increase in a worker’s income results in the sudden loss of public benefits, which is worth much more than the income increase itself. How can we create a better system? How can we help those under the current flawed system?


  • Karen Schoellkopf, The Leap Fund

Day Five: Part One

Friday, October 30

How we work together to address un and underemployment to ensure racial equity during the economic recovery? Government and nonprofit leaders will engage in a panel discussion.


  • Ashley Putnam, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
  • Sheila Ireland, PA Department of Labor and Industry
  • Michael O’Bryan, The Village of Arts and Humanities
  • Arley Styer, MSS, MLSP, Episcopal Community Services

Day Five: Part Two

The Recap & Wrap-Up
Friday, October 30

What are the next steps for collective action that can provide racial equity during the economic recovery? After recapping the week’s line-up, you will reflect upon what you learned, what inspired you most, and plan for how you can help challenge poverty.


  • Vai Sikahema, NBC10
  • Sidney R. Hargro, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia
  • Joe Pyle, MA, President, The Scattergood Foundation
  • David E. Griffith. Episcopal Community Services

Follow us and use the hashtag #FORUM2020 when talking about the Forum on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.