On July 5, 2023, Learn to Earn Dayton welcomed its newest team member, Erica Fields, as Director of Place Based Strategies. Erica will lead Learn to Earn Dayton’s initiatives in focus geographies that seek to increase economic mobility and reduce disparities in student outcomes. In this capacity, she will coordinate opportunities for innovative and collaborative solutions that meet the needs of students and families in Montgomery County, through partnerships, planning, policy advocacy, and data.
Before joining the L2ED team, Fields served as the Executive Director of the Dayton Human Relations Council (HRC). There she led citywide programs to promote and improve understanding and policy that impact fair housing, civil rights, and access to opportunity. Before joining HRC, she held a variety of leadership roles in state and local government addressing a range of social, economic, and governance issues, including advocacy work to push statewide policies advancing youth career pathways, economic self-sufficiency programs for the community’s most vulnerable and underrepresented populations.
Fields is a Dayton Business Journal 40 Under 40 Hall of Famer, BizWoman Power 50 Awardee, and was recently honored by the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center as the 2023 Community Professional for her work in promoting fair housing choice and fostering a secure and diverse community free of discrimination. She earned her BA and MPA degrees from the Wright State University.
This work requires genuine commitment to authentic community engagement – that motivates me. ~Erica Fields, Director of Place Based Strategies
Get to know Erica Fields:
What is most exciting about the new position?
"I believe strongly in opportunities to improve equity, inclusion and access to opportunity. I am most excited about working with our partners to make Montgomery County a place where all children are successful, regardless of where they grow up. It is incredibly rewarding to be a part of a movement that improves neighborhoods from the inside and works to eliminate systems that all too often exclude our most vulnerable."
What do you think is our biggest challenge?
"There is a lot of work to do. We are not here to change children and families; we are here to change systems. This requires significant time, resources and energy."
How can you leverage your past experiences in this new role?
"I am intimately knowledgeable of Dayton’s diverse communities, their challenges, and also their strengths. I have a passion for building equitable and inclusive neighborhoods through community activism, advocacy, and coalition building."
Fields succeeds Nina Carter who now serves as Managing Partner, Place Based Portfolio with the William Julius Wilson Institute (WJWI) of the Harlem Children's Zone. Fields and Carter will continue to align efforts in bringing best practices in place-based solutions to the region.
Recently, Fields attended a conference hosted by the WJWI and Harvard University as part of the L2ED/NWDP team (pictured).