What We Do


Circles USA works at national and local levels to reduce poverty.

“I never thought about future goals. My mindset was to make it through the day. I grew up in poverty, and my parents grew up in poverty. Now I have goals for myself and my family. This program has absolutely changed my outlook on life, and it has changed my children’s future.”
— Amber Schwingdorf (St. George, UT)

A Circles USA chapter gathers people who are motivated to move out of poverty and matches them with middle-income and high-income volunteers who can support and encourage them on their journey.

Through online or in-person training and weekly meetings, participants (called Circle Leaders) build friendships with volunteers (called Allies). Over time, these relationships help families climb out of poverty and achieve financial stability. The opportunities and obstacles families experience are shared with the larger community, so successes can be celebrated and the barriers can be overcome.

Circles USA helps launch new Circles chapters and helps existing chapters expand into multiple locations within a community.

Circles USA also assists local chapters in identifying and eliminating the Cliff Effect. This is the unfortunate occurrence where a wage increase triggers the loss of benefits worth more than the wage increase. Our research helps each community estimate the income levels that prompt the loss of benefits such as Medicaid, child care, SNAP (food stamps), and housing assistance.