Anthony Poore, New Hampshire Center for Justice & Equity
Anthony Poore “came from modest means,” he says. “I’m the product of a single mother, raised by my grandparents, a person of mixed race who identifies as African American.” He grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and started his career as a social worker. “I worked to support self-sufficiency,” he says. “I ran a transitional housing program for women who are victims of battery who are homeless, which was really my first foray into affordable housing. It’s interesting, coming from those roots and then ultimately working at the intersection of economic and community development.”
After relocating to New Hampshire in 1998, Poore truly made the state his home. “My family and I like to hike and exercise,” he says. “Growing up in Ohio, in particular the urban space where I grew up, it’s really neat to live in a space where we have access to the mountains, or the upper valley or the seacoast. It’s just a beautiful state,” he says.
A Community Champion
With his move, Anthony brought his values to the Granite State. Last month, with the launch of The New Hampshire Center for Justice & Equity, he reached a new milestone on that journey.
The Center represents “the convergence of 30-plus years of experience coming to bear,” says Poore. “My career has been in public health, in financing and investing, in education, in affordable housing, in arts and culture. This is the opportunity to take all that work and really to bring it to bear within one institution. So it’s a blessing, and it’s an opportunity.”
The Center seeks to foster a greater dialogue among Granite Staters, including those in leadership positions, to find solutions to systemic racism that will better reflect New Hampshire’s realities and values. The work will focus on the state’s communities of color and similarly marginalized communities. Poore is its president and CEO. (He previously worked as executive director of New Hampshire Humanities from 2018 to January 2021, then launched AP Consulting Group in 2021, working with financial institutions and community-based organizations on economic development projects.)
Poore uses the analogy of a four-legged stool to describe the values that will inform the Center’s work. “The first leg is pattern—that’s community building in organizing.” The second is policy. “Our goal is to use power to help shape policy and focus on structural change.” The third is training and development. “We’ll focus on our young, our nascent nonprofit organizations that are intended to support the needs of their communities, like the New Hampshire Brazilian Council—young organizations that have tons of vision, tons of passion., but need some help with governance.” The fourth leg is operating support, “intentional investments in longer-term goals.”
The Center launched at Manchester Community College with great fanfare. “We invited 500 of our closest friends,” Poore says, including potential financial supporters. “As my grandfather used to say, ‘You know, if you’re going to do God’s work, you’ve got to figure out how to keep the lights on.”
At Walden, Poore serves on our board of directors. “At the end of the day, [the bank] is just consistent with my values,” he says. “Over the course of my time, my career, I’ve always worked toward this thing I call symmetry—that my volunteer experiences and other related activities align with my vocation in the nonprofit sector.”
He and his wife appreciate Walden’s emphasis on local food and agriculture, he says. They’re both avid gardeners “There’s a lot of opportunity to support local institutions—like the growers at the local farmers market my wife and I frequent every Saturday,” he says, adding, “The Lancaster farmers market, by far, is in my opinion, the best farmers market in New Hampshire.”
By now, Poore has spent half his life in the Granite State. Recently his mother, who still lives in Ohio, asked him how that has affected his sense of identity. “I said, ‘Well, I think I’m a granite buckeye, because I was born in the Buckeye State,” he says. “I like that metaphor because I can appreciate my Midwestern sensibilities and values and how they relate to my experience here. And the granite—I consider myself a little bit hard-headed and not afraid to get into what [Civil Rights icon] John Lewis called ‘good trouble.’”
For more information, visit the Center’s website at https://nhcje.com.
Photography: NH Charitable Foundation