Darren Walker appears on 20/20, examining the current state of the American dream

In a special program about the American dream, Diane Sawyer chronicles the new reality of millions of Americans who are working harder than ever but struggling to stay in the middle class.

It features Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who expresses both optimism and concern for the future: “I am confident that our economy will grow. The question is: Will it yield an America with shared prosperity?"

Published on ABC | January 13, 2017
My reality: A hidden America

For more than a year, Sawyer and team traveled coast to coast to explore issues of opportunity, income inequality, striving American workers and community solutions in America.

Millions of Americans are working harder than ever, but feel they are falling further behind. For so many the American Dream’s opportunities seem to have changed since the days when they were growing up. A year and a half ago ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer and team connected on social media with thousands of working Americans from across the country to hear their stories and received video diaries on the reality of their lives. The team set out across the nation to bring these stories into focus—a startling portrait of struggle, frustration and anxiety that explores what it means to be the first generation of middle-class Americans in half a century who are more likely than not to earn less than their parents.

A series of raw and revealing reports uncovers how close to the edge so many Americans live. More than eight million Americans work multiple jobs. Almost half of Americans would be unable to cover their weekly expenses if hit by an emergency costing $400. ABC News finds a man working full time, but sleeping in a storage unit in the same apartment building where he once lived; a man selling his blood plasma to buy a birthday present for his child; and young children sleeping overnight at daycares while their parents work a night shift. In America where workers put in more hours than others in most countries in the western world, there are parallel realities: people who earn huge bonuses and get free food at work while others near them keep their jobs by sleeping in cars in the parking lot.

Watch the full episode here

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.