Mercer, Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Macon-Bibb and United Way of Central Georgia to Host Poverty Action Summit

Statue of Jesse Mercer on the Mercer campus.

MACON ­– Mercer University, The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Georgia (SVdP), the Macon-Bibb Commission, and United Way of Central Georgia will co-sponsor a Poverty Action Summit, March 4, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., on Mercer's Macon campus.

The goal of the summit is to develop action plans and concrete solutions to create a path out of poverty for Macon's impoverished community.

Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert Reichert, Mercer President William D. Underwood, SVdP CEO and Executive Director John Berry and United Way of Central Georgia President and CEO George McCanless will kick off the summit at a luncheon in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center.

Seating at the luncheon is limited to the first 130 registered guests, and the remaining half-day of workshops and panel discussions is open to all who register online by clicking here.

Following the luncheon, breakout sessions will be held in conference rooms located in Connell Student Center. These include:

“Right on the Money: Combatting Poverty through Financial Literacy,” moderated by Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics, which includes information on Macon's economy and the importance of access to banking and finance. “MerServes,” moderated by Mercer's School of Medicine, which focuses on how physicians, medical students and undergraduates can become involved in programming to care for the underserved in Macon. “Great Promise Partnerships and Operation HOPE: Pathways to Self-Sufficiency,” which provides details on how the business community can change poverty in Macon as well as the financial empowerment programming that is succeeding in Atlanta's low-income community. “The Impact of Journalism on Social Change,” moderated by Mercer's Center for Collaborative Journalism, which explores the role of journalism, including photojournalism and visual storytelling, in combatting poverty.

Two-time Super Bowl champion and national coach of the year Bill Curry will provide closing remarks following the breakout sessions in the Medical School Auditorium.

The Poverty Action Summit will also include “Profiles of Poverty,” a powerful photo exhibit, presented by SVdP and Georgia Power, to create greater awareness of the 1.8 million Georgians living in poverty. The exhibit will showcase images from Macon's top photojournalists that illustrate the challenges faced by those living in poverty, but also moments of hope. “Profiles of Poverty” will be on display in the School of Medicine through the end of March.

Additionally, a volunteer fair, featuring agencies that work with low-income community members, will take place from noon-3 p.m. in Connell Student Center.

The summit is being organized in partnership with the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative (SC2) in Macon-Bibb, the Obama administration's agenda to build ladders of opportunity for all Americans who are working hard to make it to the middle class. Since its arrival in 2014, the SC2 interagency team has been working with Macon-Bibb County, community organizations and philanthropic foundations to build capacity around existing resources, provide expertise in support of local priorities, assist in aligning federal and non-federal programs, and facilitate new partnerships and peer learning opportunities.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.