Main Body Content


Be inspired by the Alliance for the American Dream

Three teams from Ohio State convened in Phoenix on January 29 for a competition including 12 teams from 4 states – Arizona, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin – proposing ideas to raise net income of 10,000 middle-class families in their perspective communities by 10% by 2020. The Power of Home proposal was selected by Schmidt Futures and will be advancing in the competition. Advancing ideas were particularly chosen for their interdisciplinary approach, technical components and focus on inclusion for diverse communities.

Ohio State is honored to announce that The Prosperity Promise and The Ohio Microfarm Project will also implement their ideas with funding from key investors throughout the greater Ohio area.

Below provides a summary of the ideas from all three teams.

The Power of Home

An Innovative Platform that Leverages the Purchase of a First Home to Increase Income and Build Wealth Homeownership has long been a gateway into the middle class in the United States, allowing middle-income households to build economic security while investing in their community. Affordable mortgage programs increase access to homeownership for households with lower income and wealth through lower mortgage interest rates and down payment assistance. Yet the purchase of a home in and of itself is insufficient for these households to realize their economic potential. Unplanned home maintenance expenses, income volatility and limited savings put many new homeowners at risk of financial instability.

Power of Home capitalizes on homeownership as an opportunity for social mobility, while mitigating the risks for households on the edge of the middle class. Power of Home is an innovative digital service platform and suite of resources that leverages the purchase of a first home as a springboard for increasing income, reducing expenses and maximizing the economic potential of the home. Through public, private and nonprofit partnerships, Power of Home links financially fragile homeowners to revolving loan funds, decision-making tools, incentive programs and complimentary community resources. Customized messaging and data integration provide ongoing support to help at-risk homeowners hold firmly to their American Dream.

Ohio Microfarm Project

The vision of the Ohio Microfarm Project is to seed a local sustainable economic engine in the heart of the six cities and neighborhoods that host The Ohio State University. Leveraging the power of a leading public university and its recent 40 percent local food purchasing initiative, this project will help create and support a Blockchain-coordinated, local-food production, training, marketing and distribution system for urban and small rural vegetable farmers in and around these cities. Leveraging the expertise of Ohio State Extension, existing local food system innovations, existing community ambitions, and the business savvy of Ohio’s private sector and entrepreneurs, this system is designed to create a permanent and sustainable engine of both upward mobility and middle-class stability for far more than 10,000 Ohioans, mostly in diverse and economically depressed areas.

Specifically, we propose an investment of $13.4 million into a six-city, market savvy, value-driven agriculture production and distribution system that will harvest almost $80 million in economic activity and household savings. We will embed blockchain technology into the backbone of an Industry-4.0 style series of cooperatives for new and existing farmers, both rural and urban, in order to create a data-driven production system connecting producers to the market and each other. Growing intelligently and collaboratively allows these networked microfarmers to compete with out-of-state growers for produce that people demand and are eager to buy. The implementation of this innovative and scalable food production system in six Ohio communities will generate an additional $36.2 million in direct and indirect economic value and another $39.6 million in social savings impacting more than 11,000 households with a 12% net improvement by December 2020.

The Prosperity Promise

Reaching, and remaining within, the middle class is tied to well-paying jobs; securing such jobs starts and continues with educational attainment; and such attainment requires navigating barriers. The nexus of these central dimensions of continuing economic prosperity is at the core of the Prosperity Promise. This initiative brings together three high-profile, established, and respected institutions within central Ohio—The Ohio State University (through its Ohio Education Research Center), Columbus State Community College, and United Way of Central Ohio—with all acknowledging, and ready to respond to, a way forward that is not “business as usual.” Together they will create, implement and assess:

  • A systemic approach to social mobility, creating a collective framework of partners who align their systems to provide the ultimate key to the middle class: a good job.
  • A person-centric approach that empowers students, the population served.
  • A distinctive technological platform that integrates data from multiple sources to provide access to personalized services and predictive information.

Designed to be replicable, this approach can be a playbook for change across Ohio, the region and the nation.

Join the conversation at #AmericanDreamOSU.



Social Sharing Sidebar
Social Sharing