Why have Americans lost faith ingovernment’s ability to effect positive social change–for example, to solve worsening poverty in the wealthiest country on earth? A PBS documentary, “America’s War on Poverty” (premiering in January), looks for the answer, tracing the history of government programs that deal with social injustice and poverty, and exploring the role that government, business, and the community should play in rethinking solutions.

“War,” by the makers of the “Eyes on the Prize” series, is timely. The gap between rich and poor is widening: 1 percent of the population owns 40 percent of the net wealth; 60 percent owns virtually nothing. Poverty increased by 30 percent in the last decade alone. With poverty’s enormous social and human costs, a national dialogue has never been so urgent.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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