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A staggering 123 million Americans are struggling to meet basic needs. Unfortunately, the narrative around poverty isn’t often told accurately, humanely or from the perspective of the individuals experiencing it.

With rising rates of poverty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, declining wages, and long-standing racial injustices, we, in the media, marketing and advertising industries, have an opportunity: Together, we can help shift misperceptions around poverty, shine a light on the millions of people experiencing it, and amplify the conversation around expanding economic mobility. Collectively, we can replace current narratives with ones that are more accurate, constructive and empathetic.

Ad Council Edge, in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, created a critically important learning initiative for creative agencies, brands, technology and media companies interested in changing the conversation on poverty and economic mobility in America.

PEM Sessions

Provide practical tips, case studies and new narratives to senior level executives and creative professionals on ways we can shift the dialogue on poverty, success, and deservingness, including:

Review the current state of poverty and economic mobility in America

Break down harmful misperceptions and stereotypes fueling inaccurate depictions

Discuss better frames and narratives for talking about (and to) those in poverty

PEM | Intro Splash Video


We hosted sessions for four different industries—creative agency, brand marketing, technology and media— for executives and creative leaders.

Learn With Us

Language Matters: Words to Avoid When Talking About Poverty in America

By Kate Emanuel & Derrick Feldmann
January 20, 2022


By participating in this initiative, you are taking the first step toward changing the narrative around poverty and economic mobility. We encourage you to continuing growing your knowledge of these issues and the work that’s being done throughout the country to shift misperceptions, shine a light on the millions of people experiencing poverty, and amplify the conversation around expanding economic mobility.