Heather Reynolds, managing director of the University of Notre Dame’s Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities, will testify before the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth on Thursday (July 28). The hearing, “Building a Modern Economic Foundation: Economic Security and Income Support for 21st Century America,” begins at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed via the committee’s YouTube channel here.
This hearing will focus on evaluating the effectiveness of current safety net programs, with an emphasis on how these programs helped Americans during the pandemic. Committee members and experts will also discuss potential innovations to improve the efficacy of these programs and ways to ensure pathways to economic opportunity for all Americans.
Committee members and their invited guests will discuss the benefits of social programs like the earned income tax credit, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and unemployment insurance, and will focus particularly on how these programs fared during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
LEO’s mission is to partner with service providers who want to disrupt the anti-poverty space. These providers realize that decades of “business as usual” have not sufficiently turned the tide on poverty and have left us with scant understanding of what works to lift lives up. LEO matches top researchers with passionate leaders in the social service sector to conduct impact evaluations that identify the innovative, effective and scalable programs and policies that help people move permanently out of poverty.
Before coming to Notre Dame, Reynolds served as the CEO of Catholic Charities Fort Worth for 14 years. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and her executive MBA all at Texas Christian University. She will speak to the need for comprehensive poverty solutions backed by evidence.
“I serve at LEO because I believe in the vision of the University of Notre Dame to be a force for good in the world. LEO makes good on this commitment as we work to reduce poverty in our country through evidence-based programs and policies,” Reynolds said. “During the years I spent in the poverty-fighting field as a service provider, I found one of the areas we were sorely lacking was evidence of what works. Being at LEO allows me to help our partners pair their work with our amazing research team here at Notre Dame, allowing their impact to show and scale.”