Approach #3: Direct Aid
Written by Acting Apprentice and Chorus Cast member Jake Simonds
Every night at HOW TO END POVERTY, the audience gives away $1,000 of money from the ticket sales to a poverty-fighting organization. At the end of the show, they vote on which approach to fighting poverty they think is most effective, and the money goes to an organization which practices the chosen approach. The five approaches we identify are Daily Needs, Making Opportunities, Education, System Change, and Direct Aid. Here is a little more information about Direct Aid.
If you (the audience) choose Direct Aid at the end of the performance, the $1,000 goes to an organization that gets resources to individuals who specifically ask for something that will help get them out of poverty - i.e., classes to obtain a certification, job equipment, medical assistance, etc. These requests get posted on the web, where people can donate directly to individuals in need, similar to how Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns work.
As of January 22nd, some of the requests on a similar organization's site include: a single mother who needs a root canal but cannot afford the 20% insurance co-pay; a father supporting two children and his elderly mother who just got his hours cut at his low-wage job; a family who had their car repossessed when they couldn't make payments while unemployed for a short stint; and a mother who lost her job, who qualifies for unemployment, but needs some help during the three weeks before unemployment kicks in.
Direct Aid acknowledges the gaps in the existing social safety nets. In the requests for aid, we see a woman with insurance, but insurance with a prohibitively expensive co-pay. We see a man who gets by--and provides for his family--only to find himself in a crisis when his hours get cut unexpectedly. We see a family lose their car--and all the money that was already paid into it--when they were between jobs; and we see another woman who needs to cover a temporary gap in wages while she looks for a new job.
Not many programs address the unexpected circumstances that often put individuals and families living in or near poverty into a crisis situation. Direct Aid does. And it helps these people not by prescribing something top-down, but rather by asking, what do you need? The somewhat radical assumption behind this method is that people in poverty know poverty best. They know what they need to get out of poverty, and this is a way for them to get it.
Below, you will find all the details. We know that $1,000 won't solve poverty, and we know it's impossible to solve poverty in 90 minutes. With HOW TO END POVERTY IN 90 MINUTES, we hope to create dialogue between audience members and impact local organizations who are working hard to fight poverty. Which approach will you choose?
Conceived and Written by Michael Rohd and Sojourn Theatre
Directed by Liam Kaas-Lentz
How To End Poverty In 90 Minutes (with 99 people you may or may not know)
February 4 – February 22
602 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211
Box office: (503) 488-5822
All tickets: $40 (+$3 ticketing fee)
Rush Tickets: $20, cash only at the door, night of the show
Arts for All Tickets (EBT card): $5, cash only at the door, night of the show, up to two tickets
Each and every show, 25 tickets are given to local organizations and to individuals who are unable to afford tickets to the show. Email our Director of Community Partnerships, Elliot Leffler, for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org