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Domestic Workers Advocate Ai-jen Poo Wins MacArthur Fellowship

September 17, 2014

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded Ai-jen Poo, a labor organizer who is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and co-director of Caring Across Generations, a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship on September 17.

Poo is one of 21 individuals this year to receive the prestigious MacArthur “genius” grant. The fellows are selected on the following three criteria:

  • exceptional creativity
  • promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment
  • potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

The MacArthur Fellows — artists, scholars, and professionals — were each granted awards of $625,000 over the next five years with “no restrictions on how the money can be spent,” explains the foundation’s website

“With this fellowship, Caring Across Generations and NDWA will endow a Care Force Fellowship Program, to support the caregiver and domestic worker leaders of our movement to spend focused time working to shape the future of care in America,” says Poo on the Caring Across Generations website. In a video on the site, Poo speaks about the domestic workers’ movement, winning the fellowship, and her plans for the award.

“The award is a direct reflection of dynamism and impact of the thousands of domestic workers and caring people whose courage and dedication have built our movement to achieve a more caring world for workers, women, and families,” says Poo on the NDWA website. “It’s everything you do to reveal the caring majority in this country, that is the true genius.”

PHI is a partner in Caring Across Generations, which in coalition with several organizations, including PHI, has successfully advocated to extend minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

PHI President Jodi Sturgeon congratulated Poo, whom she says “has drawn national attention to the care workforce. Poo has been a great ally in the effort to improve jobs for home care workers and the quality of care for the nation’s elders and people living with disabilities.”

— by Deane Beebe

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