Partners Against Poverty

Joe Cistone ’90 M.A.R., CEO of International Partners in Mission, headquartered in Cleveland, which works on behalf of children, women, and youth to create partnerships that build justice, peace, and hope. (

Our partnerships:

“IPM partners globally with over sixty projects in more than twenty-five countries. Our Project Partners promote micro-enterprise, organizational development, and education initiatives to better their local community. In partnership, we provide small grants and technical assistance and training as well as convene partners regionally so that we can learn from one another.”

Images of hope:

“Dorothy Day once said: ‘No one has the right to
sit down and feel hopeless, there is simply too much work to do.’ I am blessed to witness such hope-filled endeavors when I sojourn among IPM’s Partners worldwide – whether it is the recent, long- overdue change of government in el salvador; or the light in the eyes of a young Kenyan girl who has been rescued from a forced early marriage and mutilation and now dreams of continuing her studies at a place like Yale; or the ‘epiphany’ of an American university student who first ventures abroad with IPM on an immersion experience and realizes just how much he or she shares the same hopes and dreams of an age-mate in some far-off village; or the Hindu and Muslim women in Ahmedabad, India, who have developed a kite-making micro- enterprise to overcome historic ethnic and religious differences and provide sustainable income for their families.”

Systemic change:

“Perhaps the biggest misconception about poverty is that it is only ‘treatable’ with giant checks. Money is certainly necessary – now more than ever in the midst of this global economic crisis – but philanthropy is ultimately ephemeral if it doesn’t go hand-in-hand with work for systemic change.”

The two-way street:

“My hope is grounded in the rather simple principle that the struggle against poverty (and for justice and peace!) is a two-way street. Hope is not found only in so-called developing countries where socioeconomic development and constituent democracy may work hand-in-hand to promote human dignity. Hope is also found in north America when individuals and particularly people of faith increasingly understand that our human dignity is bound up with the dignity of our brothers and sisters around the world. Such solidarity – which IPM has worked for thirty-six years to promote – is often a slow and gritty process, but it is a journey worth undertaking and recommitting ourselves to each day. It has the power to nurture and sustain hope for us all.”