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


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


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 is a Fortune 500 company that powers life for 3 million customers through our operating companies in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. We’re investing in the reliability and resilience of the energy system while helping our region transition to cleaner, more efficient energy solutions. With roots in our communities for more than 100 years, Entergy is a nationally recognized leader in sustainability and corporate citizenship. Since 2018, we have delivered more than $100 million in economic benefits each year to local communities through philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana, and has approximately 12,000 employees. Learn more at 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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