What We Do

Circles® is not a service or benefit program. It is a community-wide solution to help support Circle Leaders—our Albuquerque neighbors who participate in the program—out of poverty and begin the end of poverty in our community. Here's what we do.

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A solution to poverty exists, and it is nonpartisan. Many conservatives believe poverty can be reduced if people accept more personal responsibility. Many liberals believe the key to reducing poverty involves providing more benefits. At Circles, we believe the right and the left can work together to reduce and eradicate poverty. Our model focuses on what

  • individuals can do to change their situations and

  • society can do to remove the barriers that stand in their way.

Poverty is more than a lack of material wealth. Relying on government assistance can be dehumanizing. Adults who cannot provide for themselves and their families report feelings of isolation, shame, and depression. But when people achieve financial security, they experience a surge of pride and confidence. Often, they say they have regained their dignity, their value, and their humanity.

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Volunteers and participants grow and learn together. While participants navigate their way to prosperity, volunteers get an in-depth education on the culture of poverty. Participants' successes and challenges are also analyzed at monthly meetings with community leaders. This new understanding enables a community to identify, discuss, and often resolve the barriers that keep people in poverty. By changing the mindset, systems can be transformed from poverty management to poverty reduction.


Circles is designed not only to support families in moving from poverty to economic stability, but to facilitate systemic changes in the community, which helps eliminate barriers to economic stability. All of these changes add up to a big economic impact, when considering the increase in participants' annual incomes and the corresponding reduction in government assistance.

Line graph shows average increase in income and reduction in government assistance of a CircleLeader