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Letters: Path Out of Poverty Runs Through Early Childhood Education (The Advocate)

BY: PATTY RIDDLEBARGER, VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Letters: Path Out of Poverty Runs Through Early Childhood Education (The Advocate)

BY: PATTY RIDDLEBARGER, VICE PRESIDENT OF CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Published 05-12-22

Submitted by Entergy Corporation

Children clapping

Over half (57%) of Louisiana children lived in financial hardship pre-pandemic — the HIGHEST rate in the nation — according to a new report from Louisiana United Ways, United For ALICE and Entergy Corp.

"ALICE in Focus: Children" shows we must be relentless in investing in children and families so every child has the resources they need to succeed.

While 26% of Louisiana children lived below the Federal Poverty Level in 2019, another 31% were growing up as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE families earn above the FPL but not enough to afford a barebones household budget.

The report also reveals significant disparities for children by race: 76% of Black children and 66% of Hispanic children in our state were considered ALICE in 2019, compared to 42% of White children.

Traditional poverty measures significantly undercount the number of children living in financially insecure households. That matters because the FPL is used to determine eligibility for assistance programs, leaving many struggling ALICE families locked out of critical support for housing, food and education.

Access to early childhood education helps children develop the foundational skills needed to succeed in school and allows parents to work. Children with access to high-quality early childhood education are more likely to obtain more education and have higher lifetime earnings, and are less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system.

Lawmakers have the chance to make meaningful investments to expand early childhood education access for low-income families this session. As members of the Ready Louisiana Coalition, we urge legislators to appropriate $94 million to these programs to support Louisiana’s children, families and economy.

"ALICE in Focus: Children" better informs our path toward equitable solutions for ALICE families. It’s time we take the necessary steps to ensure every Louisiana child thrives.

Patty Riddlebarger
vice president for corporate social responsibility, Entergy Corporation

Charmaine Caccioppi
executive vice president & COO, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

Letter to the editor originally published in the May 5, 2022, edition of The Baton Rouge Advocate.

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Entergy Corporation

Entergy Corporation

Entergy, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in New Orleans, powers life for 3 million customers across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy is creating a cleaner, more resilient energy future for everyone with our diverse power generation portfolio, including increasingly carbon-free energy sources. With roots in the Gulf South region for more than a century, Entergy is a recognized leader in corporate citizenship, delivering more than $100 million in economic benefits to local communities through philanthropy and advocacy efforts annually over the last several years. Our approximately 12,500 employees are dedicated to powering life today and for future generations. Learn more at entergy.com and follow @Entergy on social media. #WePowerLife

Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy

For more than 100 years, Entergy has powered life in our communities through strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives help create and sustain thriving communities, position the company for sustainable growth and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our top CSR priorities are education/workforce development, poverty solutions/social services and environmental programs. Entergy annually contributes $16-$18 million in shareholder-funded grants to approximately 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the communities where we operate. In addition, our employees volunteer more than 100,000 hours in those communities' values at more than $3 million.

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