Monday, April 09, 2012

An Innovative Community-based Approach to Address Poverty

The other day I had a chance to chat over a cup of coffee with Scott Miller, CEO of Move the Mountain Leadership Center about different approaches to address poverty in Albuquerque and other communities around the country.  Among the topics that we discussed was the local Circles New Mexico project, an innovative approach that brings together various segments of the community. New Mexico is one of 23 states where the organization has implemented this model, which addresses some of the systematic causes of personal debt and increasing financial literacy. The program builds relationships between families living below the poverty line and those earning middle to upper-level incomes.  Here's what Circles New Mexico says on its Web site.
The Circles® model matches volunteers (Allies) with low-income families to expand their resources for greater networks into the community to reach economic stability. Everyone in the Circle works together and in doing so, identifies and dismantles the systemic barriers that keep people stuck in poverty.
This strategy has made great strides in 62 communities around the country. Early results demonstrate that for every $1 spent on the Circles, $2 in welfare and food stamp subsidies are returned to the state, and $4 to the community as new earned income.
The effort, an example of how local communities can work together to address poverty, has gained national recognition. Read a great piece in The Huffington Post.

If you would like to know more about Circles (and currently reside in the Albuquerque-Santa Fe area), you are invited to attend a fundraiser tomorrow, April 10, at Flying Star and Bookworks in the North Valley (4026 Rio Grande NW).  Here is a flyer:

Click on image to enlarge

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