FILE - Speaker Paul Ryan

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan says the war on poverty is at a stalemate. But he hopes to do something about that with a new foundation.

Ryan, the former House Speaker and Congressman from Janesville, on Monday announced the creation of the American Idea Foundation.

"The organization [is] founded on the simple but profound premise that the condition of your birth should not determine the outcome of your life," the foundation's website says. "The American Idea Foundation believes that every American deserves the opportunity to achieve their version of the American dream."

Ryan, who left Congress after his term ended earlier this year, said the thought behind the American Ideas Foundation is to talk about lifting people out of poverty and fighting the mindset in Washington that more money is the only answer.

"The American Idea Foundation will identify real-world initiatives that are achieving measurable results, highlight these efforts, and work with policymakers to expand them," Ryan said. "The American Idea Foundation will demonstrate that it is the bottom-up dynamism of individuals and communities that truly makes America a land of prosperity."

The launch comes with two videos. In one, Ryan says the federal government measures success in the fight against poverty not based on how many people are no longer poor, but rather on how many new programs to fight poverty have been created.

"We need to figure out how to rebuild the American Idea," Ryan says in the video. "And there is nothing that comes close to helping people realize their true potential than freedom."

Ryan says he spent 20 years focusing on public policies that can actually help create jobs and opportunities.

"Let's fight poverty by attacking the root causes of poverty, to break the cycle of poverty," Ryan added in the video.

The American Idea Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization based in that promises focus narrowly on organizations who are making an impact in communities around the country and bring those ideas to policymakers so they can be more widely adopted.

Staff Reporter

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.