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For more than a generation, we’ve operated on the assumption that changes in the overall political and economic system were essential to uplifting the underclass. As Renee Glover’s efforts show, it may turn out that this goal can only be achieved the old-fashioned way: by helping individuals learn to help themselves.

Howard Husock, a contributing editor of City Journal, is the Manhattan Institute’s vice president for policy research and the director of its Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. This article is adapted from the forthcoming 20th-anniversary issue of City Journal.