An endowed faculty chair has been named in honor of the Rev. Dr. Carmen Porco, executive director of Housing Ministries of American Baptists in Wisconsin, a partner of American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Community Outreach Ministries.
The Carmen Porco Chair in Sustainable Business is part of the Center on Business and Poverty, a nonprofit organization housed at the University of Oxford, U.K. Porco will be recognized with a plaque during dinner on May 29 at the university’s Rhodes House.
The honor recognizes Porco for combining the elements of the nonprofit, business and government sectors into a successful model for use in communities of poverty. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been influenced by the model, which Porco has applied in six low-income housing communities in Madison and Milwaukee.
“What I see lacking in both the corporate business world and the nonprofit institutions that address poverty is a sense of external mission that incorporates the larger market share—the public—in ways that integrate wholeness,” Porco said in a statement. “Wholeness needs to focus on how each party is serving each other. All are in the business of building and enhancing community. Ultimately, the community is one party, instead of being broken down into specific market shares of their particular focus. We need to quit thinking that nonprofits aren’t businesses and quit thinking that corporations are the only ones with expertise.”
Porco writes about the model in a chapter he contributed to “Justice for Rizpah’s Children: Radical Responses to Childhood Poverty” (Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett, Judson Press, 2019).
“The impact that Dr. Porco’s theology of poverty model has had upon the communities he serves is nothing short of transformational,” said the Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett, ABHMS director of Community Outreach Ministries and Rizpah’s Children, in a press release. “I encourage readers of ‘Justice for Rizpah’s Children’ to take note of the message and engage the model in their own ministries.”