After running social service programs for 20 years — and painfully realizing that most of them don’t work — Lim Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in Oakland in 2001 to help low-income working families get themselves out of poverty. Instead of forcing participants through job training and other conventional programs, FII encourages families to form small support groups and track their progress toward economic independence. It also pays them a small stipend for each achievement. FII has expanded to San Francisco, Oahu, and Boston and is seeing debts go down and incomes go up, among other promising successes. Lim Miller was one of 23 Americans to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2012. Raised by a poor Mexican immigrant, he said of the fellowship, “I do this work to honor my mother’s struggle.” Follow FII on Twitter @FIInational or Facebook.