In late 2016, Opportunity America organized a coalition of center-right think tanks and business groups to host a two-day conference showcasing new conservative thinking on poverty and opportunity.

Participants included Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, best-selling author J. D. Vance, American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray and William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, as well as some four dozen researchers and policy experts on topics ranging from single-parent families to college affordability.

Following the conference, Opportunity America distilled some of the best thinking presented at the event in a volume of essays published by the American Enterprise Institute. Among the contributors: AEI president Arthur Brooks, AEI director of economic policy studies Michael Strain, Manhattan Institute senior fellow Oren Cass and Opportunity America president Tamar Jacoby.


Day one agenda and video
Day two agenda and video
Q&A with Paul Ryan video



Speaker Paul Ryan, House of Representatives
Tom Donohue, US Chamber of Commerce

Michael Barone, AEI
John Engler, Business Roundtable
Charles Murray, AEI

Arthur Brooks, AEI
William Kristol, Weekly Standard
J. D. Vance, Author, Hillbilly Elegy

George Arrants, Automotive Service Excellence
John Bailey, Bailey Strategies
Alex Brill, AEI
Stuart Butler, Brookings Institution
Anthony Carnevale, Georgetown University
Oren Cass, Manhattan Institute
Brandon Chrostowski, Edwins Leadership
Grant Collins, Fedcap Rehab Services
Alfa Demmellash, Rising Tide Capital
Robert Doar, AEI
Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI
Michael Franc, Hoover Institution
Lindsay Fryer, Penn Hill Group
Joseph Fuller, Harvard Business School
Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution
Mark Holden, Koch Industries

Wade Horn, Deloitte Consulting
Howard Husock, Manhattan Institute
Kay Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute
Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal
Tamar Jacoby, Opportunity America
Kevin James, Jain Family Institute
Andrew Kelly, University of NC
Jimmy Kemp, Jack Kemp Foundation
Dane Linn, Business Roundtable
Lawrence Mead, New York University
Robert Mendenhall, WGU
Adam Meyerson, Philanthropy Roundtable
Mike Petters, Huntington Ingalls
Eduardo Padron, Miami Dade College
James Pethokoukis, AEI
Michael Petrilli, Fordham Institute
Edward Pinto, AEI

Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review
Angela Rachidi, AEI
Vikrent Reddy, Charles Koch Institute
Heather Reynolds, Catholic Charities FW
Mark Rodgers, Clapham Group
Sam Schaeffer, CEO
Andy Smarick, AEI
Nicole Smith, Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce
Michael Strain, AEI
Steven Teles, Johns Hopkins University
Jason Turner, Secretaries’ Innovation Group
Jason Tyszko, US Chamber
Peter Wehner, Ethics & Public Policy Center
Martin West, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Jason Wiens, Kauffman Foundation
Scott Winship, FREOPP