Circles FAQ

A wide range of organizations have started Circles USA chapters, such as United Way, Goodwill, Catholic Charities, Community Action, food banks, homeless shelters, and workforce development programs. Circles USA chapters have also been launched by community foundations, government agencies, chambers of commerce, and churches.

Participants are eligible if their household income is 150 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines. Successful participants are those who are motivated to become economically stable and are dedicated to the Circles USA model. Participants struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, criminal activity, or mental health issues need to be in recovery for six months before starting.

Ideally, chapters have two or three part-time staff members, but volunteers can successfully handle many of the tasks until the chapter gets going. Most chapters hire childcare workers or partner with a local nonprofit that specializes in childcare.

Circles USA chapters typically need 35-45 volunteers who can commit 3-4 hours per week.

Some chapters hire paid personnel whereas in other chapters, the lead organization redirects some of its staff to manage the Circles USA chapter. Some chapters have volunteer childcare workers whereas others have paid childcare staff.

When social distancing protocols allow and chapters can meet in person, a welcoming location is needed for the weekly meetings. The facility should include access to a kitchen and space to hold 100-150 people. Two additional rooms are needed for childcare and youth programs. Parking should be easy to find, and the main rooms should be ADA accessible.

Yes. Many organizations are large enough to start Circles USA at several locations within a community. Some organizations start with one location and expand to other sites later, whereas other organizations launch multiple locations simultaneously.