Friday Forums

Empower Missouri’s Friday Forums are our monthly online educational offerings for Missourians to build knowledge on poverty-related policy issues and skill in legislative and grassroots advocacy.

Friday Forums are a place for information sharing, training and the concrete experience of discussing and acquiring a deeper understanding of policies that drive poverty across our state. They are also a source of inspiration, providing contact with new people, fresh ideas, innovative thoughts, different experiences and working methods pertaining to advocacy.

Friday Forums provides an opportunity for participants to: 

  • learn, discuss and express their views on issues of poverty
  • develop the skills necessary to strengthen their capacity to take part in decision-making processes
  • connect with other advocates from around the state

The Friday Forums will enable people who have an interest in issues relating to poverty to: 

  • share their ideas and experiences on current issues and trends affecting low-income people in different parts of Missouri; 
  • suggest ways of strengthening national, regional and local anti-poverty policies and training people to challenge poverty in their communities; 
  • contribute new ideas to the movement on how to make connections with influential people around the state.

Most forums will be held virtually on the third Friday of each month at noon. However, times and formats of the events are subject to change. 

For those who were not able to join the monthly forums, you can watch the recordings aquí.

Please register early for these sessions through the following links:

Friday Forum Schedule: 

September 17, 2021 – Breaking the cycle of poverty one neighbor at a time. We all have a role in combating poverty. Together we can – and must – work to strengthen programs which help move households to economic self-sufficiency, while making changes to policies which trap families & children in the poverty cycle.

Join us as panelists from the Missouri Community Action Network present their 2021 poverty report & explore strategies & solutions to addressing poverty Register here

October 15, 2021 – How does a father find purpose in pain? In 2014, Michael Brown Sr.’s son was killed by white police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, an event that fueled the global Black Lives Matter movement. But his personal story seeking justice and healing has not been told until now.

Join us for an evening forum at 6pm as we pre-screen the documentary, Ferguson Rises, and learn how a father still grappling with the loss of his son is trying to make a difference in the world – Register here

November 19, 2021 – Do you have a vision for your community in Missouri, but are unsure how to address these problems with your national, state and local leaders?

Join us in November as we teach you about messaging boxes and how using this key technique can help you craft your message to legislators. We’ll offer you the tools you need to build a strong message and to think differently about how you communicate in a way that resonates with policymakers Register here

December 17, 2021- The legislative process is a matter in which every person should be well informed. It can be complex and frustrating at times. 

In December, we’ll guide you through Missouri’s legislative process and give you a sneak peek of the bills that have been pre-filed for the 2022 legislative session.

You will leave this educational forum with a greater understanding of how your state government works and how best to go about getting your concerns addressed with policymakers Register here

January 21, 2022 – Eviction irrevocably scars families and causes families to fall in poverty. The effects of eviction include poor physical and mental health, poor access to food, worse educational outcomes, and difficulty obtaining future stable housing. 

In January, sit down with us as we talk about the vicious cycle of poverty and eviction and how the fundamental role of housing in Missouri plays a part in deepening inequality in the state – Register here

February 18, 2022 – Transitioning Home: What happens when someone is released from incarceration? We will discuss the discharge process for our returning citizens. What kind of resources exist and how could they be improved? – Register here

March 18, 2022 – WIC programs across Missouri provide essential services to low-income women and children to support them during pregnancy and early childhood years. 

In March, we’ll dive deeper into the WIC program and show you how the program helps Missouri families put food on the table – Register here

April 15, 2022 – What are Benefits Cliffs? As employment income increases, public assistance programs phase out then disappear completely at income eligibility thresholds for Missouri families. 

In April, we’ll describe why resolving the benefits cliff is crucial for racial equity and how the loss of benefits harms families in need and prevent individuals from seeking opportunities for career advancement in Missouri Register here

May 20, 2022 –  At the end of May, the Missouri General Assembly adjourned after a legislative session that began in January. State policymakers survived the drama of the session while producing some good and bad legislation. 

In May, join Empower Missouri and other panelists as we give you the scoop on what went on in Jefferson City this year.  In this program, we’ll describe what got done, what got started and what we are still fighting for after the 2022 legislative session Register here

 More resources will continue to be added to the site as the events get closer. For additional support or questions about the forums, please contact our Development and Operations Manager at