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 and access to opportunity, which, at the core, have a long history of racism?


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

About the Speakers

Day Two
Tuesday, October 27

Culture—and the culture of poverty—impedes upward economic mobility. How can you help remove barriers that too many people and families face?



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

About the Speaker

Day Three
Wednesday, October 28

How can we use data to drive change? This panel will focus on the social determinants of health and how to address them. The Scattergood Foundation will draw on the data presented in their sponsored research paper, “Place Matters,” and highlight the use of data in the RISE Partnership, an initiative to help improve the outcomes of nonprofits in the region.


Ross Bernet, Azavea; Aminata Diallo, MS, MSSP, The Scattergood Foundation; Samantha Matlin, Ph.D., The Scattergood Foundation; Hannah Morehead, MSW, Episcopal Community Services

About the Speakers

Day Four
Thursday, October 29

How can we help people and families hurt by a flawed benefits system, specifically 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?


Karen Schoellkopf, Leap Fund

About the Speaker

Day Five: Part One
Friday, October 30

How can we work 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

About the Speakers

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, we will each reflect upon what we learned, what inspired us most, and plan for how we each can take action. What is our accountability moment? How are each of us going to be part of the solution?

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

About the Speakers

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

Our Sponsors

We are grateful for the generous support from this year's sponsors of the Forum on Justice & Opportunity.

Media Sponsor

Alan and Debbie Casnoff
Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Dave and Jacqui Griffith
Duane Morris LLP
Drexel University
Exude, Inc.
Fairmount Ventures, Inc.
Louis N. Cassett Foundation
Permit Capital Advisors, LLC
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pink Social Strategies
Trinity Asset Protection, Inc.