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American Ideals and Broad Based Prosperity

During this year’s Central Florida Poverty Conference held in June, Polis Institute Founder and Director Phil Hissom shared his response to a report on American Poverty from the Council of Human Rights at the United Nations.

Hissom comments on three specific issues raised in the report: the number of children in poverty, income inequality and incarceration rates. He also compares these issues to the core American values of liberty, egalitarianism, and democracy. Since there is a belief that these values will lead to wealth production, he posits the following question: Can we create a more broad-based prosperity in America through our current set of ideals?

These American ideals imply that production of wealth leads to the greatest good. In light of this, Hissom turns his focus to the business sector due to its ability to produce the wealth that is redistributed through the government and social sectors.

During his discussion he weighs the issue of children living in poverty against the value of egalitarianism. He explains the importance of positive labels on children, the education and support of children, their parents, and/or other parties who are raising them.

Next, he addresses the issue of income inequality and compares it to the value of democracy. He discusses the immense gap between groups of people due to wealth concentration and how that affects our electoral process.

He then addresses the issue of incarceration rates while contrasting it to the value of liberty. He explains that America has the highest incarceration rate in the world and how the poor are disproportionately affected by this issue. Along with this, he explains the issue of discrimination in the workforce. Despite low unemployment rates, wages are not enough to sustain a practical living.

Hissom believes that those core values (liberty, egalitarianism, democracy) are important in creating broad-based prosperity, but only by taking them more seriously. He also suggests that there are two other values which need to be elevated: dignity and interdependence, which he combines into what he calls “dignified interdependence”.

Dignity is the fundamental value of the human being and should foster an honest appreciation of what everyone has to offer. He emphasizes the significance of affirming people for who they are: human beings with inherent dignity that stems from being created in God’s image. He believes our job is to help people use their gifts so that they can have an impact on other people. Interdependence embodies the idea of people coming together for the good of the community. We will only reach our greatest potential when we all come together and celebrate our shared successes.

Does it trouble you that America is near the bottom of the list of developed countries in terms of how well we are addressing poverty? This video explains how we can best make use of our fundamental American values to move up that list and, more importantly, change lives and strengthen communities.

 

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Sustainable Program Design

Are you wondering how to make your programs more sustainable? We can help. The Polis Institute helps people, organizations, and groups design collaborative community investment strategies that engage community residents, excite donors, and bring about long-lasting positive change.

To set up a discovery session contact us at info@polisinstitute.org or 866-757-1334.

 

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Best-In-Class Training

Polis’ Dignity Serves is a paradigm-shifting, deeply impactful experience that teaches how to both serve and be served with dignity in every aspect of life. Since 2008, it has helped thousands of people serve others more effectively, using interactive exercises and real-world examples to help participants apply key principles to their personal lives and to the programs that they take part in.

The principles of the course are derived from Scripture and built on the foundation that because every person is created in the image of God, every person possesses dignity. The course is made available through host organizations and is taught by Polis-trained facilitators. Scheduled classes are posted on our website and announced in our newsletter.

Hosting a Dignity Serves Training:

  • Six 90-minute lessons taught week-to-week or over the course of a weekend
  • Taught only by Polis-Certified Facilitators
  • Cost is $50 per person which includes all materials
  • Host organization provides space, snacks, and one meal
  • Minimum class size is 12 people
  • Maximum is limited only by available space at host organization
  • To schedule a training, please contact us at info@polisinstitute.org or 866-757-1334

Attending a Dignity Serves Training:

For more information visit Dignity Serves on Facebook

 

Reviews:
  1. It has completely re-wired the way I relate and look at people in every aspect of my life: family, job and particularly ministry.
  2. The very first lesson, describing the idea that Christ is Dignity and Dignity Serves, was completely eye-opening. I’m not a “new” Christian and thought I had a good grasp on why we serve others. This course really did grow my perspective and show me what service is really about: interdependence. I wish this course would be taught to EVERYONE at our church and at churches throughout the nation.
  3. I better understand Christ’s design for serving others.
  4. It under-girded my understanding of service with sound theology.
  5. It has made me much more aware that those living in urban communities need outside groups and individuals to be committed to stay and build trust over time, not just “trying to fix what’s wrong” in these communities and then leave.