Opportunity for All

Every child deserves a shot at the American dream. Fighting poverty, discrimination and other barriers is essential to closing the opportunity gap facing America’s children. When every child gets a fair chance at success, America’s families, communities and the economy benefit.


Income and wealth inequality among American families is both distressing and damaging. Furthermore, it is increasing. Today, the richest one percent of Americans own 35 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80 percent own just 11 percent. Recovery from the second most serious economic crisis in our nation’s history has allowed the incomes of the wealthiest 10 percent to climb dramatically while those of the majority, especially of families who struggle to make ends meet, have stagnated.

Better jobs and wages, early childhood education, stronger public education and mentoring, on-ramps to opportunity such as community college, fair taxation and other policies can help close the opportunity gap facing America’s kids and working families. Not all of these solutions are cheap, but the alternatives – higher health costs, lost productivity and massive expenditures in the justice system – are far more costly.


Nearly 16 million children and youth live below the poverty line. Of those, 7 million live in extreme poverty, or below 50 percent of the poverty line. Millions more live in low-wage families with parents who work full-time but simply cannot earn enough to provide for basic family needs.

Poverty interferes with a child’s ability to learn and hinders a family’s chance at achieving the American dream.  It leads to negative health effects and higher incidence of drug use, crime, incarceration, and other outcomes that impose high costs on individuals and society.

Programs like Medicare and Medicaid, Head Start, affordable housing, low-income energy assistance and supplemental nutrition assistance help lift children and families out of poverty, and give them a better shot at getting ahead.


Discriminatory policies and practices—in criminal justice, education, housing, or any other realm—harm kids, communities, and our democracy.

Every Child Matters seeks to eliminate obstacles to opportunity based on race, gender, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation. In particular, Every Child Matters supports fair housing and employment policies and criminal justice reform.