Skip to Content

Straight Talk SC: Can't Win for Losing

Straight Talk SC
Can't Win for Losing:The Crisis of the Working Poor

Tuesdays: July 22, July 29, August 5 and August 12
Time: 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. each week
Where: All events will be held at Younts Conference Center, Shaw Hall, Furman University
For questions and information, please call OLLI at 864.294.2998

To register, click here.

To view biographies, click here.

All sessions moderated by Mark Quinn, director of member and public relations, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, and former host of SCETV’s Big Picture (bio). 

July 22: Who in South Carolina Gets to Live the American Dream?

Jessica Hennessey, Ph.D., Furman University assistant professor of economics (bio), opens our series with a historical and a current perspective on the definitions and measures of those who are poor or near poor and how South Carolina compares to the rest of the nation.  She’ll also look briefly at three federal policies that have a tangible impact on the group of people we refer to as the “working poor.”

South Carolina State Representatives Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-District 66) (bio) and Kenny Bingham (R-District 89) (bio) will join Mark Quinn for a conversation about the role of state government in improving the plight of the working poor.

July 29: Questioning the American Dream: Families and Neighbors Living on the Brink

Kyle Longest, Ph.D., Furman University assistant professor of sociology (bio) will lead an interactive session looking at the bills, dollars and pennies of a family who is “barely getting by in South Carolina.”

Danny Avula, M.D., deputy director of the Richmond City Health Department (bio), will present what he has discovered during the last decade as his family has lived in intentional community with neighbors very different from themselves.

August 5: Chasing the American Dream: What Does It Take to Climb the Income Ladder?

Sarah Sattelmeyer, senior associate, Financial Security and Mobility, Pew Charitable Trusts (bio), will give an overview of the state of economic mobility in the U.S. and describe what Pew's research indicates are the drivers behind it.

Tammi Hart, executive assistant, Day and Zimmerman (bio), and Dawn Dowden, vice-president of operations, Homes of Hope (bio), will share their real life experiences of poverty and economic mobility.

August 12: Revitalizing the American Dream

Former Spartanburg mayor Bill Barnet (bio) and Carol Naughton, senior vice-president, Purpose Built Communities (bio), will join Mark Quinn for a discussion of how cities can play a role in improving the lives of the working poor. 

Mark Quinn will host a roundtable discussion with Bill Barnet; Curt McPhail, Northside Initiative project manager (bio); Russell Booker, Superintendent of Education, Spartanburg District 7 (bio); Phil Feisal, president, Spartanburg Medical Center (bio); and Tony Thomas, president, Northside Neighborhood Association (bio) on the collective vision and committed partnership that is revitalizing Spartanburg’s Northside, one that brings together the resources and ideas of government, faith communities, public and higher education, the hospital, foundations, and neighborhood associations.  

Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former CEO of Costco Corporation (bio), will provide a business leader’s perspective on why paying good wages is good for business and good for the economy.

Press Coverage

Olli and The Riley Institute Present Summer Series, Crisis of The Working Poor. UpstateBizSC

The Summer Series is presented by The Riley Institute at Furman
and Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Furman