What made The Moore Agency join the Florida Prosperity Project as a Zip Code Partner?
One of our firm’s guiding principles is: It takes more than a soft pillow to get a good night’s sleep. For Moore, it has always been important to do work that truly matters – work that makes the community and world around us better. Work that gives us the peace of mind to sleep easy. This is true of the clients we work with, and of the time we spend giving back to those in need.
Poverty is at the center of so many challenges in our state; likewise, so many of the challenges lead to poverty conditions. No single person or organization can solve all poverty in Florida, but being a Zip Code Partner allows us to be part of important efforts right here in the community where we are headquartered.
When we learned how close our main office is to the poorest zip code in all of Florida, we knew we had to do something to help those living in 32304 – while using our PR and marketing expertise to shed light on the issue.
What root causes of poverty is Moore focused on?
We are focused on inequities in education & workforce development, as well as food insecurity. These three pillars – education, workforce, and food insecurity – are tightly woven. Research shows that a child who worries about his next meal is so focused on “fight or flight” survival that his brain cannot function at its full potential. Being in this state day in and day out has significant long-term impacts on learning. And over time, education challenges lead to workforce development and talent pipeline deficits. Again, poverty is at the center.
We have worked to address these root causes through our work in recent years with Second Harvest of the Big Bend and Feeding America, donating 20,000 meals to thousands of families in the 32304 zip code; and over the past year through our mentoring and fundraising at Riley Elementary – the poorest elementary school in Florida.
Tell us about The Moore Agency’s work in the 32304 zip code to improve 3rd-grade reading scores and poverty.
Most brain development happens between ages 0 and 5. Access to quality food is critical to brain development and kindergarten is an essential building block for reading skills that students will use throughout their lifetime.
In the summer of 2020, the height of the pandemic shuttered schools that are, for the poorest students, a lifeline to breakfast and lunch. Moore partnered with Feeding America and Second Harvest of the Big Bend in June 2020 to deliver more than 20,000 meals to families in 32304.
Moore founders and owners myself and Richard Moore personally donated as part of the effort, matching Moore’s national donation and applying it locally. This donation powered a “Summertime Food on the Move” program, a mobile food truck-style distribution system that delivered over 11,000 free “Grab and Go” meals.
Over the 2021-22 school year, we worked with the Tallahassee Chamber’s Classroom Connection, a new mentoring initiative that pairs local businesses with classrooms whose students have the greatest need.
Every month, the Moore team visited Mrs. Griffin’s kindergarten classroom at Riley Elementary and spent time with her eager and curious students. We read books together, colored, created art projects, snacked on cookies and played games.
In December, we brought Santa to visit – and his conversation with one student sparked a citywide movement that allowed Moore to raise over $13,000 in under two weeks, ensuring every kindergartener got toys, books, food and other assistance for the holidays. We also used part of the money to help celebrate all Riley students at the end of the school year.
What would you say is the business case for Florida businesses to get involved with tackling generational poverty in their neighborhoods across Florida?
The obvious answer: addressing poverty in your backyard can help make your community and all of its residents happier, safer and more hopeful for the future. It can help businesses identify and nurture young talent so that they have a ready supply of great workers and team members for generations to come. This talent then helps businesses succeed and grow, which creates jobs, and creates a cycle of income potential that might not have otherwise existed.
But there is also this answer, which is perhaps even more important: Tackling generational poverty in the zip codes where your business lives is simply the good and right thing to do. Yes, profit matters for a business but being a good steward also matters. It matters a lot – to the people you help, and to the employees who now more than ever seek a workplace that cares. Taking on a problem like generational poverty tells your team, your clients, and the people living in poverty that you are invested in them, their community, and their future.
Our team members will tell you that some of their favorite and brightest days working at Moore were the summer day we delivered all those meals, and the December morning we brought carloads of Christmas presents, gift cards and food baskets to Riley Elementary kindergartners.
A business with heart is a business that thrives.
Click here to learn about the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida Prosperity Project that is uniting Florida businesses for good around the Florida 2030 Blueprint goal of cutting Florida childhood poverty in half by 2030 and ensuring 100% have a pathway out.