The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) fights the cycle of poverty in New York City through innovative programs that build human capital and improve financial security. Launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2006, CEO works with both City agencies and the federal government to implement successful anti-poverty initiatives in New York and partner cities across the United States. Among CEO’s greatest successes have been the creation of the Office of Financial Empowerment, SaveUSA, CUNY ASAP, Jobs-Plus, and a more accurate measure of poverty. Several CEO initiatives have been incorporated into the Young Men’s Initiative, a comprehensive and expansive program designed to address disparities between young African-American and Latino men and their peers.
CEO has helped to drive systemic change across City agencies: City University of New York has doubled graduation rates for students in CUNY ASAP and incorporated elements of the initiative into additional CUNY programs; the Department of Probation has integrated new employment and education services programs to provide those in the probation system with community-based services; and the Department of Small Business Services now incorporates a sector-focused approach into NYC Business Solutions, and has combined CEO and federal funding to better connect job seekers with businesses. Additionally, CEO manages the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant to expand effective solutions to critical social challenges nationwide, and monitor findings to continue to shape New York City’s policy work. CEO also led the federal government to adopt the Supplemental Poverty Measure by the United States Census Bureau, providing a more realistic picture of poverty by accounting for both families’ resources and their expenses. In 2012, CEO was honored by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government by receiving the Innovations in American Government Award.
CEO oversees rigorous evaluations of each program to determine their effectiveness in reducing poverty, encouraging savings, and empowering low income workers to advance in their careers. Located in the Office of the Mayor, CEO is led by Executive Director Kristin Morse. Follow CEO on Twitter at @NYCOpportunity, or visit the NYC Opportunity page on Facebook.