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Second annual Poverty Conference coming to Niagara University

by jmaloni

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Fri, Feb 28th 2014 05:40 pm

The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement will hold the second annual Poverty Conference at Niagara University from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 7.

The conference will be presented by the Niagara County Coalition for Services to the Homeless in co-sponsorship with Buffalo/Niagara Falls and Erie/Niagara Counties Continuum of Care (CoC) and Niagara University.

It will be held in Dunleavy Hall on Niagara University's campus.

The coalition has assembled an experienced panel from various sectors of government to address this year's theme, "Governmental Role in Addressing Poverty - Moving from Policy to Action."

Panelists include:

  • State Sen. George Maziarz
  • Assemblywomen Jane Corwin
  • Assemblyman John Ceretto
  • Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster
  • North Tonawanda Mayor Robert Ortt
  • Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey

The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, will offer opening remarks.

Robert D. Gioia, president of the John R. Oishei Foundation, will serve as the keynote speaker.

This year's conference theme commemorates the 50-year anniversary of Lyndon B. Johnson's State of the Union address, during which the former U.S. president introduced legislation pertaining to the country's "war on poverty." The coalition realizes the need to examine poverty's impact within the community and that addressing poverty is the responsibility of all sectors in society.

The afternoon will provide attendees the opportunity to learn about programs facilitating change in the community, especially those that improve economic stability and advancement for individuals living in poverty.

Approximately 125 people attended last year's conference at Niagara University to hear keynote remarks from Rhonda O'Connor, director of Visions For Change, a Syracuse-based nonprofit that seeks to equip underprivileged individuals with the tools to achieve financial stability.

The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. Institute for Civic Engagement was established in 2011 to reinforce Niagara University's commitment to the region by strengthening existing community partnerships and forming new town-gown relationships.

"We are proud to represent the university on this important initiative," stated Dr. David Taylor, director of the Levesque Institute. "This conference speaks to the heart of our Catholic and Vincentian mission by serving the community and seeking solutions to reducing poverty and the systematic conditions that are created by it."

For more information on the conference, call the Levesque Institute at 716-205-0074.

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