Many nonprofit and community development organizations seek to “empower” low-income residents to help them better their living conditions and achieve personal goals. Studies have shown that individual empowerment, as demonstrated by a “sense of competence, control, and entitlement,” is a key to personal success and community betterment. People who feel empowered tend to vote more regularly, attend civic meetings, contact public officials, and sign petitions. But, according to a recent report,...

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