About

Our Mission

Circles RVA offers a relationship-based model to empower individuals and families to permanently move out of poverty and thrive by engaging the strengths, goodwill and existing resources of the community and focus on the collaborative ownership of solutions to break the cycle of poverty.

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Why Richmond?

Approximately 15% of Americans live in poverty. The Richmond poverty rate is nearly twice the national level at 25.3% and the rate is even worse for Richmonders under 18 years: 38.7%. These numbers represent the faces of children, men and women of our community.

In some of Richmond neighborhoods the poverty rate is as high as 50%. To give you an idea of how much (or little) that is, the official poverty line for a family of four is $24,250 per year or less. Some members of our community live on $10,000 per year or less.

How We Work

This video provides an introduction to our process or read more below

Circles® is a nationally-known, proven, and innovative way of connecting people across socioeconomic lines to move people & families out of poverty. Yes, out of poverty!

Circles® has over 80 chapters in North America and provides a curriculum and strategy to meet the challenge of poverty. Circles provides an approach that empowers motivated low-income participants to permanently move from poverty, along with the opportunity for community leaders and residents and faithful people to take collective action to resolve systemic barriers that interfere with low-income individuals attaining economic stability.

Our society has been successful at creating programs that manage poverty, but this approach is about the longer term, harder work of moving people out of poverty. Good jobs, saving, investing and changing lives and families for good.

The Circles® approach is not a 4-week class, and it’s not a handout…it’s a lot of work for everyone involved. But it works.

The 2017 Circles® USA Impact Report shows:

  • Circle Leaders earned 41% more income after six months, 60% more after one year and 88% more after 18 months
  • 39% decrease in unemployment, 14% increase in part-time employment,
  • 44% increase in full-time employment and a 60% increase in self-employment
  • Home ownership increased by 38%

We are working to have these kinds of results in Richmond.

CirclesRVA anticipates supporting 25 individuals and their families per class. Once the first class of Circle Leaders is matched with their Circle Allies, the next Circles class convenes and the cycle of the 12-week training program, followed by long-term coaching, begins again. CirclesRVA envisions supporting two Circles classes per year after the program is operating at full capacity to serve a total of approximately 50 new Circle Leaders and their families annually.

We are a chapter of Circles USA.

To read the Circles® USA report, click here CirclesUSA impact report

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