Provocative Questions

Inspired by our 2016 Symposium, CAPO continues to ask Provocative Questions about poverty. Join our exploration of new and effective means and methods to fight poverty and better serve those living in it. 

Scroll down for links to the reading materials and PowerPoint presentations for each of the presenters.  View videos of the Symposium presentations and speakers on YouTube! You can also click on the images on the right of the page to view a specific video. 

We’ll be continuing the discussion on our Facebook page as well — follow us to join in!

Day 1

Opening Keynote: Moving from Transactional to Transformational Services

BJ Walker, Director, State Government/Strategy and Operations, Deloitte Consulting LLP

This video is available upon request only. Please submit request to

Panel: The Nature, Science and Importance of Innovation

Brendon Bassett, Director of Program Innovation, Metropolitan Family Services, Portland, OR
Dr. Alma Trinidad, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Portland State University
Mark Holloway, Executive Director, Social Venture Partners Portland, OR


Provocative Question #1: Is it more important to get fewer people out of poverty than to provide a minimum amount of service to many? 

Rand Clark, Community of Care Navigator, Denver, CO

Reading recommendations from Rand Clark:


Presentation: Theory of Change and Choosing How to Measure

Melissa Torgerson, Oregon State University
Bruce Weber, Ph.D., Oregon State University


Lunch Keynote: What would it take to cut poverty in half in the United States?

David Riemer, Senior Fellow, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Milwaukee, WI


Provocative Question #2: How would people in poverty benefit from getting direct cash transfers?

Erin Whitemore McCarley M.A., Senior Research and Evaluation Analyst, MIL: Multnomah Idea Lab, DCHS’ Center for Policy + Innovation, Multnomah County, OR
Steve van Eck, Researcher, MIL: Multnomah Idea Lab, DCHS’ Center for Policy + Innovation, Multnomah County, OR
Mary Li, Director, MIL: Multnomah Idea Lab, DCHS’ Center for Policy + Innovation, Multnomah County, OR


Provocative Question #3: Is a child’s zip code more important than their genetic code in determining their health and success?

Larry Wallack, Ph.D., Prof. of Public Health, College of Urban and Public Affairs, Portland State University, OR



Day 2


Opening Keynote: Social Determinants of Health

David Erickson, Director, Center for Community Development Investments, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Provocative Question #4: Is there a business model for poverty reduction? 

Examples: Pay for Success, Social Impact Bonds and other outcome based funding models?

Ian Galloway, Senior Research Associate and Oregon State Community Development Field Manager, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco


Panel: What are Foundations thinking about innovation?


Lunch Presentation

Denise Harlow, Executive Director, Community Action Partnership, Washington, D.C.

Provocative Question #5: How can we dramatically reduce the cost of building affordable housing so we are not building it on the backs of poor people?

Rob Justus, Co-founder, Home First Development and Executive Director, CASH Oregon


Provocative Question #6: What is the benefit of addressing the stress from being poor and facing social inequity for getting out of poverty (Executive Functioning)?

Dr. Reginald Richardson, Ph.D. LCSW, ACSW, Deputy Director/Interim Director, Office of Child Welfare Services, Department of Human Services, State of Oregon


Panel: Techniques for Making Change in Organizations and Programs

Jennifer Godfrey, COO of Social Services, Salt Lake County Community Action, UT
Mark Pereboom, CEO, Metropolitan Development Council (MDC), Tacoma, WA
Jackie Schad, Executive Director, ACCESS, Jackson County, OR
Lisa Stoddard, CCAP, Executive Director, Community Action Partnership, Lewiston, ID