The Center for Economic Opportunity: NYC’s Innovative Solution to Fighting Urban Poverty


Monday, April 9, 2012, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Cambridge, MA

Veronica M. White, Center for Economic Opportunity

About the Seminar
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) works to design, implement, and evaluate anti-poverty programs. CEO has now implemented more than 50 programs in partnership with 28 city agencies and has introduced a new measure of poverty for New York City, based on the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.

CEO presents before the National Selection Committee in 2011

Unique programming includes SaveUSA, which encourages saving among low-income families by offering a 50 percent match to participants that save a portion of their tax refund. In addition, Jobs-Plus offers public housing residents aid in securing and retaining employment through job search services and coaching, vocational training, and assistance with GED and ESL courses. CEO is now replicating five of its most promising programs in cities across the country through the federal Social Innovation Fund.

About the Speaker
Veronica M. White is the executive director of the Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), established by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006 to implement innovative ways to reduce poverty in New York City. CEO works with city agencies to design and implement evidence-based initiatives aimed at poverty reduction. CEO manages an Innovation Fund through which it provides city agencies annual funding to implement its initiatives, and it oversees an evaluation of each initiative to determine which are successful in demonstrating results towards reducing poverty and increasing self-sufficiency among New Yorkers. Under White’s direction, CEO has launched 50 new programs, including Opportunity NYC, the nation’s first conditional cash transfer program. CEO also developed an alternative to the federal poverty measure, which paved the way for the Census Bureau’s recent decision to pursue a Supplemental Poverty Measure. In 2010, the Center was selected as a federal Social Innovation Fund intermediary. Administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, this new public-private partnership will support the replication of five promising CEO programs in New York and cities across the country. The Center for Economic Opportunity is charged with raising private funds for this and other initiatives.

Prior to her appointment as executive director, White was a consultant specializing in strategic business planning and management for nonprofits, real estate development and environmental issues, and public-private partnerships. She has served in various executive positions, including as chief operating officer of the New York City Partnership and president and CEO of the New York City Housing Partnership. White has also served as deputy commissioner of Planning, Policy, and Intergovernmental Affairs at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She practiced law at the firms of Brown & Wood and Sidley & Austin. White received a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.