University of Wisconsin–Madison

Message from the Director

Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger
Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger

December 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I’d like to give you a brief update on some of the exciting projects we’ve worked on this year.

A light snow falls on the Abraham Lincoln statue in front of Bascom Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during winter on Dec. 28, 2015. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
  • Our ongoing DreamUp Wisconsin university-community collaboration to increase the net income of 10,000 Dane County families generated 11 innovative local proposals, three of which are advancing to Schmidt Futures for consideration under their Alliance for the American Dream initiative. Look for the next Alliance for the American Dream challenge in early 2019.
  • IRP awarded Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowships, made possible by The JPB Foundation, to three exceptional junior scholars – Stephanie L. Canizales, Jacob William Faber, and Jamila Michener. Look for the 2019 call for Emerging Poverty Scholars Fellowships on our website this spring.
  • Our grant with The JPB Foundation also supports a series of Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnership Grants. This year, we funded two groundbreaking evaluations with high policy relevance. Look for the 2019 call for Researcher-Practitioner Evaluation Partnerships on our website this spring.
  • We are proud to lead the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers partnership with eight other poverty centers across the nation and their work with five Research Networks. The Networks are in full swing, and we are excited to highlight their work in our publications in 2019.
  • As the sole National Poverty Research Center, our continued partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation has led to collaborations on a wide range of research, training, and dissemination efforts. Some of the highlights include:
  • We continue to engage Wisconsin policymakers via publication of the Wisconsin Poverty Report; our technical assistance contracts and research collaborations with state agencies; and management of the Wisconsin Data Core, one of the richest collections of linked administrative data in the country.
  • Our dissemination efforts are still going strong. To complement our new website, this year we updated the design of our written resources, Focus/Focus+, Fast Focus, Poverty Fact Sheets; continue to hold webinars, produce podcasts, and post seminar videos on YouTube; and contribute to the national conversation about poverty and inequality on Twitter and Facebook.

I would like to welcome Jeffrey Smith as IRP’s new Associate Director of Research and Training and thank our former Associate Director Katherine Magnuson for her vital contributions to IRP over the years and for her continued contributions to our mission.

As you consider your end-of-the-year charitable giving, I hope that you will consider making a contribution to IRP. Your support can help us reach our goals for 2019: using research to inform policy development by (1) supporting scholars and students of color; (2) growing and supporting researcher/practitioner partnerships; and (3) making research more accessible to policymakers.

In closing, I’d like to extend my warm wishes to all our partners and supporters for a productive, peaceful year to come.


Lawrence (Lonnie) Berger