The Success Equation, an initiative of Children First/CIS, unites our community to reduce poverty through education, collaboration and public policy advocacy resulting in an environment where all children can thrive. Would you like to become more involved and engaged in helping to end child poverty in Buncombe County?

Below are quick opportunities to learn, share, and act.


The House of Representatives is currently considering proposed changes to the Farm Bill, the nation’s most consequential food-related legislation that provides for the most effective anti-hunger program in American history, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More than 41 million Americans utilize SNAP throughout the year to help bridge temporary grocery gaps in their household budget. The majority of Americans that depend on this program for their main source of food are children and seniors.

Currently, proposed cuts would drop millions of people from being eligible for this life-saving program when they need it most. These proposed changes would end SNAP assistance for many low-income parents of young children, older Americans, and working families.


  • Call  1-888-398-8702
  • Follow the prompts to be connected to your Representative
  • Tell them you’re a constituent, and urge them to vote NO on the Farm Bill
    (H.R. 2) and oppose any cuts to SNAP food assistance.


Too many are stuck with jobs that don’t pay enough to make ends meet. Even working full-time, survival is a struggle. Raising the NC wage provides a boost for families.

Join Raising Wages NC during a statewide lobby day in Raleigh on May 22, 2018 to raise the wage for working families of North Carolina. They are joining workers and living-wage business owners to put officials on notice. Reserve your seat now for a ride on the bus to Raleigh. For questions contact Vicki Meath at Just Economics at 828-505-7466 or

Twenty-nine states, more than half the nation, now have a state minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. North Carolina is not one of them. A full-time minimum-wage employee working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks a year would earn $15,080 a year. That’s just above the federal poverty level of $12,060 for an individual. For a family of four, the poverty level is $24,600.

Not only is the minimum wage barely above poverty level, it’s shrinking. Since it was last increased in 2009, the federal minimum wage has lost about 10 percent of its purchasing power to inflation.


Unfortunately, due to unanticipated changes in transit staff and Asheville’s transit management company, City Council was not able to include a 12 additional hours of service in the proposed budget. This was not due to a lack of funds or unwillingness by City Council to pay for expanded transit  it was about a lack of capacity. To that end, they are proposing increased transit staff to help implement future improvements.

Send City Council an email ( thanking them for supporting increased transit staff and ask them to stand strong by supporting and funding an ambitious Transit Master Plan that makes Asheville’s buses run on time, all day, and more often.

The Transit Master Plan draft is available for review and public comments. You can review and comment online with this link, or attend the public session in person on June 18, 2018;  6:30-8:30PM at the Asheville Public Works Building, 1st Floor, Room A109, 161 S Charlotte Street, Asheville, NC. 28801.  A free shuttle will be provided to transport passengers directly from the ART Station to the meeting at the Public Works Building.  The shuttle will leave the ART Station every 15 minutes, starting at 6:15 PM and ending at 8:45 PM. The Draft Final plan will be presented to the Asheville City Council on June 19, 2018;  5:00-7:00PM, Asheville City Hall, 2nd Floor, City Council Chambers, 70 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC. 28801.


You’re invited to join the Success Equation for a Faith Community Coffee onFriday, May 18, 9:30 – 10:30 at Jubilee! Community. The NC Legislature begins the short session on May 16. Come learn about our Success Equation advocacy agenda and how your congregation/faith community can speak up for children and families with state elected leaders. You’ll have a chance to network with others and share ideas for strengthening our advocacy voice. Coffee and light snacks will be served and feel free to share via your networks. Click here to register.


Find out how you can get even more involved
in creating community where all children can thrive!

  • Sign up for our Action Alerts for up-to-the-minute alerts on important policy decisions and ways you can make your voice count for kids!
  • Follow us on our Success Equation Facebook page and on Twitter @CFCISAdvocacy to receive information and updates on how you can help create a community where all children can thrive.
  • Check out our Local, State and Federal Advocacy Tool-kits to guide you in engaging with our elected officials.
  • Volunteer to participate in monthly phone banking to inform our neighbors on important issues impacting children and families. Contact Jodi Ford at 828-620-9091


The Need

No child chooses to be born into poverty. All children deserve to be well cared for, healthy, safe, and educated so they have opportunities for success in the future. Unfortunately, children in poverty usually experience poorer health, safety, and education, as well as greater levels of toxic stress, than children from families with more money. In Buncombe County, right now 1 in 4 children in our county is living in poverty.

Children from low-income families are more likely to come to school behind, have undiagnosed learning disabilities, score lower on academic achievement tests, and drop out of school.  They have less access to adequate health care and are 6 times as likely to live in homes without enough food, in high-crime neighborhoods.

Children from low-income families are also more likely to experience parental joblessness, substance abuse, homelessness, and/or absence of a parent – leading to toxic stress levels that brain research shows hardwires young children’s brains and slows cognitive and emotional development.


History of the Success Equation

bookIn 2010, Children First/CIS launched a listening project to document the experience of families facing poverty in Buncombe County. 113 low-income people,  including teen and Latina mothers, participated in focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Additionally, we interviewed service providers that work with low-income families. Interview participants represented a wide geographic range: from public housing in the city, the Emma community, south Asheville, east Asheville, and Barnardsville.

Children First/CIS presented the issues raised by the listening session to a broader community summit for action ideas. In May 2011, Children First/CIS hosted a two-day appreciative inquiry summit attended by 120 participants representing local organizations, community leaders, low-income individuals and interested community members.  Out of this summit, an Action Plan was created and committees formed.

The current  Success Equation Action Plan includes emphasis in the three key focus areas identified from interviews and at the summit: Early Childhood Development  •  Child &Family Supports  •  Family Economic Stability


Our Roles

The Success Equation unites our community to alleviate the root causes of child poverty. We do this in Buncombe County through the following roles:

  •  Educator – reporting poverty data, messaging about poverty’s impact, and inspiring broader dialogue focused on solutions.
  • Advocate – building a local advocacy voice supportive of public policy and investment in effective programs that meet children’s basic needs and place them on a path to success.
  • Convener – connecting individuals, businesses, government, schools, faith communities, and organizations to enhance promising strategies, collaborations, and creative/provocative ideas.


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