About the Initiative

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America explores the human stories of poverty and showcases promising solutions. A few decades ago, if you had a job, you probably did not live in poverty. But today, full-time, well-paying manufacturing and blue-collar jobs that were once a ticket to upward mobility have disappeared, and income disparity is growing. Increasingly, people working full-time in low wage jobs are living in poverty, and today, more and more of those making minimum wage are adults trying to support families.

Our goal is to better inform with facts that go beyond personal biases, media narratives, and presumptions about the American Dream. Over 40.6 million Americans are living below the poverty line, including 13.3 million children. Chasing the Dream’s reporting focuses on inequality: both economic and structural inequities informed by issues of race, age and class. We focus in on what has worked – and is working — to bring people out of poverty, and what lessons we can learn for the future.

Chasing the Dream is a multi-platform project from The WNET Group in New York, distributing stories since 2014. Chasing the Dream has produced more than 250 reports across EVERY platform of public media on-air and online – including national documentaries, news reports on the PBS NewsHour, NewsHour Weekend, and PBS WORLD, along with regional reporting on MetroFocus, NJTV News and Long Island Business Report. Our content partners also include WNYC public radio, Next Avenue, and PBS Member Stations across the country.  Our digital-first projects, like Your American Dream Score and My Everyday Hustle, are designed for community engagement.

Major funding is provided by The JPB Foundation with additional funding from The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund.