.transparent-header.has-banner-image #header #desktopNav .folder .folder-child-wrapper { background-color: #000; }

Our Beginning

Begun in 2005 by social innovators, Mr. Peter Cove and Dr. Lee Bowes of America Works, the Work First Foundation was founded on the idea that employment is the most important first step towards lifting people out of poverty. We run programs that offer job opportunities to under-served populations, conduct research based on these programs, and administer a fellowship program for young professionals interested in public policy. The foundation also engages in advocacy efforts that promote economic self-reliance for needy individuals and produces research on ways to improve access for low-income individuals' entrance to the workforce. Today, we operate in San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C. and Baltimore, conducting demonstration programs that connect disadvantaged job seekers to opportunities. 

The Work First Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.


Our Mission                   

To lift people out of poverty through employment.


The Facts

23.4 Million

Out of work and on public assistance for more than three years.




Individuals placed into the workforce by the Work First Foundation.




Of placed workers retained in our wage subsidy program.


Demonstration Programs

The Work First Foundation conducts demonstration programs that help unemployed individuals gain and retain jobs. Notably, the Work First Foundation has operated three successful employment demonstration programs in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland.


Take Action


If you are interested in fighting poverty through employment, we offer several opportunities to get involved. You can apply to be a Work First Foundation Fellow, join the fellowship Advisory Council, or make a donation to help us connect people with employment.