About

Our Mission

Circles RVA empowers individuals and families to permanently move out of poverty and thrive.  We create intentional relationships that expand support communities and engage the wider community to reduce or eliminate the systemic barriers that hinder people from rising out of poverty.

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.

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 2018 Circles® USA Impact Report shows:

  • Circle Leaders earned 39% more income after six months, 54% after one year and 75% more after 18 months
  • 40% decrease in unemployment, 13% increase in part-time employment,
  • 49% increase in full-time employment.
  • Home ownership increased by 22% and 35% decrease in temporary housing.

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

The first class or cohort of Circle Leaders was launched in August 2018.  They have all been matched with their Allies are  making progress toward their goals.   A second cohort will be launched in the first half of 2019, and plans are underway to launch a third in the Fall of 2019.

We are a chapter of Circles USA.

To read or download the 2018 Circles® USA report, click here CirclesUSA 2018 impact report