Florida Chamber Expands its Florida Prosperity Initiative to End Generational Poverty

Names Michael Williams as Director, While Also Targeting the Number of Children Living in Poverty by 50%

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 13, 2019) –  The Florida Chamber Foundation is expanding its Florida Prosperity Initiative aimed at ending generational poverty, and today announces that Michael Williams has been named as Director of the initiative. Williams brings 20 years of public and private communications experience, and has an extensive background in faith-based initiatives that have provided him a personal connection to lifting Floridians out of poverty.

The Florida Chamber’s Prosperity Initiative is uniting Florida’s business community to implement long-term solutions that provide economic opportunity for all Floridians, regardless of what zip code they live in.

“Right now there are over three million Floridians living in poverty, and more than 900,000 of those are children under 18 years old. In a state that’s the 17th largest economy in the world, and continues to create jobs higher than the national rate, Florida’s poverty level is simply unacceptable,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber has long-championed ending the cycle of generational poverty, and with the combined force of strategies outlined in the 2030 Blueprint, the Florida Chamber’s goal is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50 percent over the next 10 years.

“I have worked with children in impoverished communities around the country and the one thing they all have in common is they did not choose the circumstances they live in,” said Michael Williams. “This is an opportunity to help children who, through no fault of their own, are facing odds that most of us never will. Florida’s business community has the opportunity to change the lives of countless Floridians.”

Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson, on behalf of the Florida Prosperity Initiative, has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources on breaking the cycle of generational poverty, and the Florida Chamber Foundation is leading and uniting Florida’s business community around this important issue through its Business Leaders’ Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity.

The Prosperity Initiative is supported by Florida Chamber Board member and former Speaker Will Weatherford.

“My time working with Michael gives me full confidence he is the right person to lead the Florida Prosperity Initiative,” said former Speaker Will Weatherford. “In the House, he brought a heart of service and a creative spark into his work. His dedication to ending generational poverty is something I care deeply about and I personally pledge my support to him and to the Florida Chamber.”

“Not every neighborhood affords the same economic opportunities for its residents,” said Todd Powell, Vice President of Weyerhauser and Chairman of the Florida Chamber Foundation Board of Trustees. “Some of our fellow Floridians have been born into situations that prevent them from reaching their full potential and we can make a difference in those lives, particularly in the lives of children. The Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative is the business community’s opportunity to step up and ensure all Floridians have the opportunity to succeed.” To find out more about the Prosperity Initiative, visit the Florida Prosperity Initiative Website.

The Florida Chamber Foundation is the business-led, solutions development and research organization working in partnership with state business leaders to secure Florida’s future. The Foundation’s “Six Pillars” serve as a visioning platform for developing the first-ever, long-term strategic plan for the state. The Foundation’s work focuses on:  1) Talent Supply and Education, 2) Innovation and Economic Development, 3) Infrastructure and Growth Leadership, 4) Business Climate and Competitiveness, 5) Civic and Governance Systems, and 6) Quality of Life and Quality Places. Founded in 1968, the Foundation is a critical voice for improving the state’s pro-business climate to enable Florida to grow and prosper. For more information, visit


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