Bridges Out of Poverty

Bridges Out of Poverty

Invitation to Participate

One Body Collaboratives is currently researching the Bridges Out of Poverty model and is working to establish the Rockford Region as a Bridges Community of Practice


Bridges Out of Poverty is a national antipoverty organization that helps people move toward upward mobility.  The focus of Bridges is on socioeconomic class differences, and they help people understand the importance of these factors and how they are related to their lives.  One Body Collaboratives would be the managing organization for the community implementation, including creating a Community of Practice and implementing the Getting Ahead in a Just-Getting-By World curriculum.

Components of the Project are as follows: 

Community of Practice Implementation - Reducing the social costs of poverty, strengthening the workforce, and building a more prosperous and sustainable community are goals on which most communities agree. aha! Process’s Bridges Out of Poverty community support program provides a family of concepts, workshops, and products to help employers, community organizations, social service agencies, and individuals address and reduce poverty in a comprehensive way. Bridges brings people from all sectors and economic classes together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and support those who are moving out of poverty. The goals of creating a Community of Practice are to: move individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency; reduce social costs to crime, poor health and welfare; strengthen educational attainment and job skills; improve on-the-job productivity; revitalize neighborhoods and build sustainable communities where everyone can live well.  The Bridges Out of Poverty model is currently used in 35 states and 7 countries.  There are currently 33 communities across the world that have established Communities of Practice. 

Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World Curriculum Implementation - Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World is a 16-session curriculum that helps individuals in poverty build their resources for a more prosperous life for themselves, their families, and their communities. Getting Ahead workshops will help our clients move from poverty to self-sufficiency. It is a proven curriculum currently being used in 46 states and 5 countries with over 65,000 graduates.  

In a study completed in 2017 of 260 graduates between 2013-2017, increases of the following were reported: 56% had increased monthly income, 46% had decreased monthly debts, 52% decreased total debts, 42% reported an increase of assets and 37% indicated a decrease of state and federal benefits.  The findings demonstrate that the Getting Ahead curriculum appears to be facilitating knowledge gains about poverty and how to begin to “get ahead” when living in poverty. Participants are leaving the program with more knowledge about how to avoid financial predators, what kind of rent they can afford, and what kind of interest they can legally be charged. They are leaving with increased knowledge of themselves and the resources they need to move forward economically and with an individualized plan for beginning to increase their resources. This increased knowledge is important because financial literacy often correlates with better financial decision making.  

Ongoing Support for Getting Ahead Graduates – When offering Getting Ahead classes to people in poverty, a promise is also made that the sponsor and the community will provide long-term support while graduates are building resources and transition out of poverty.  One Body Collaboratives, through its Family Resource Coordination Center will provide that ongoing support for graduates of the program. 

In order to establish the Rockford area as a Bridges Out of Poverty Community of Practice, we will need partnerships in the following areas:

Bridges Out of Poverty Kick-Off/Workshop: Sponsorship of the workshop, including facilities to host the event. This entails a Certified Bridges Trainer leading the workshop.  Anticipated Costs: $7,500

Community of Practice: Sponsorship of the quarterly events, including facilities to host the meetings. Anticipated Costs: $1,500/quarterly

Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World Curriculum Implementation:
Per Session Expenses $5,500 hard-costs + in-kind donations
Facilities to Host 16/week Sessions (Must include ease of transportation for participants)
Childcare Services at Facility
Trained Facilitator/Co-Facilitator to Lead Sessions
Supplies for Sessions (Flip Charts, folders, markers, etc.)
Food/Refreshments (Based on time of day session is held)
Workbooks for Participants (Investigators)
Payments for 12 Participants (Investigators)

Additionally, we will need agencies to refer individuals to participate in the Getting Ahead curriculum.  Individuals will be referred to the program by nonprofit agency case managers, they will go through an application process to determine criteria of: willingness to attend all 16 class sessions, willingness to help create and live by the rules of the group, personal motivation, and must demonstrate personal stability. Additional criteria include: being 200% below the federal poverty guidelines, not currently receiving disability assistance, and is not currently being in a major life crisis (untreated mental illness or drug/alcohol addiction, domestic violence situation, or homelessness.)

For more information, or to become a partner is this program, please contact Mary Cacioppi, Executive Director, One Body Collaboratives at 815-985-1311, or by email:

For more informtion about the aha!Process and Bridges Out of Poverty, click here