Economic Mobility

Supportive Living Environments

Investment Area: Supportive Living Environments

The Richard King Mellon Foundation’s Economic Mobility program’s vision is that all children and youth living in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties will be able to access their most promising future.

The Economic Mobility program has three guardrails that inform all of the program’s funding decisions:

•    The funding program benefits children and youth ages 0-24 years.
•    The program’s funding serves residents of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.
•    The program prioritizes children and youth from low-income families.

 The Economic Mobility program organizes its grantmaking into four investment areas. Collectively, these four investment areas describe the Foundation’s approach to addressing the problem of limited economic mobility. Each investment area contains priorities that further describe the Foundation’s funding interests. Finally, each priority has evidence-informed outcomes that describe specific changes that the Foundation hopes to create. 

Organization’s applying to the Economic Mobility program should be clear in their application how the proposed efforts will advance at least one of the program’s outcomes.
The four investment areas and the priorities and outcomes within each investment area are described in further detail below.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation aims to promote supportive living environments for children and youth through investments designed to help them thrive at home and strengthen family and caregiver relationships. Healthy family relationships, housing stability and quality, and supports that create resilience to trauma all contribute to supportive living environments for children and youth. Each of these factors helps to lay the foundation they need to access their most promising future. Our Supportive Living Environments investment areas has two priorities: (1) children thriving at home and (2) strong family and caregiver relationships.

 Priority: Children Thriving at Home - Ensuring that children and youth can live in high quality, safe, and stable housing ensures their ability to succeed academically, increase their social capital, and thrive in general. Having consistent access to adequate, affordable, and nutritious food is also essential for the well-being of children and youth of all ages. Consequently, the Foundation seeks to provide supportive home environments for children, especially those children and youth experiencing homelessness or disruptive housing transitions. The Foundation will promote children thriving at home through funding focused on two outcomes: stable homes and food security.

Priority: Strong Family and Caregiver Relationships - Nurturing and responsive relationships and stable families are fundamental to children’s success. Dr. Raj Chetty’s research on economic mobility finds that family stability, as measured through a neighborhood’s percentage of single-parent households and teenage births, is one of the most important factors related to the geographic variation in whether children from underserved households experience mobility as adults. Other important measures related to family stability and children’s well-being include exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and child abuse. The Foundation will promote strong family and caregiver relationships through funding focused on three outcomes: Resilience to Trauma; Reducing Risky Behaviors; Strengthening Caregiver-Child Relationship Quality.

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