Harnessing the Free Market To Lift Floridians Out Of Poverty

By: Florida Chamber Foundation

At the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Future of Florida Forum, former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli announced the launching of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Project, whose goal is to find pathways out of generational poverty and increase prosperity for all Floridians.
Today, more than 3 million Floridians live in poverty—900,000 of whom are children under 18. The Florida Prosperity Initiative’s goal is to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 50 percent by 2030. We will unite the business community to find ways to harness the free market to attack the ten root causes of poverty in the state.

Speaking to one of the biggest policy barriers, Representative Paul Renner addressed the consequences of increasing the minimum wage for Floridians, and how even modest increases can cause Floridians to turn down promotions and pay raises due to the loss of benefits that accompany higher wages.

“Government has often been a barrier to opportunity, a barrier to work and a barrier to the American Dream,” said Representative Renner. “If we could reduce just 10 percent of the poverty roles in Florida, we would see a benefit to the state coffers of between $500 million and $1 billion per year. We’ve spent trillions in the war on poverty, we don’t need to spend trillions more, we need to spend it more appropriately.”

Senator Jeff Brandes and Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown, Shon Hopwood, discussed the importance of offering second chances to Florida’s non-violent offenders and ensuring they have the tools to attain meaningful employment.

“When people get out of prison, we don’t do a great job of preparing people for success or giving them a second chance, particularly in the Google age,” said Mr. Hopwood. “We think when someone’s served their time, they get a second chance, but rarely is that the case. The stigma of their conviction follows them the rest of their lives, especially in the internet age. The business community can play a huge role in criminal justice reform by considering second chance hiring; it will strengthen communities and change lives.”

Get Involved Today

The Florida Prosperity Initiative break the cycle of generational poverty by addressing issues ranging from housing to food security to workforce issues. To learn more about the prosperity project please visit the Florida Prosperity Project website.


Registration will open soon for the Florida Chamber Foundation Prosperity Summit, May 18-19, 2020 in Sarasota. Click here and complete the online form to be notified when Summit registration opens up.

Contact Michael Williams at mwilliams@flfoundation.org for more information on how you can become more involved.