The St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative (SJC Bridges) takes an innovative framework to break the cycle of poverty and create community sustainability through cross-sector collaboration. Begun in 2004 by area leaders, the effort grew quickly with the goal of building capacity for the whole community to address poverty, and now SJC Bridges is seen as a leader in a national Bridges movement.
We start with education to develop the insights, motivations and tools to address poverty. We offer the Bridges’ training for professionals and businesses alongside Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World curriculum for people in the experience of poverty.
SJC Bridges also provides “next steps” for Getting Ahead graduates like Networking Meetings and a Money Management class, as well as more opportunities to engage “allies,” those not in poverty who want to play a supportive role and address poverty in our community.
Because ending poverty benefits poverty benefits not just individuals, but the whole community, we work to find systemic responses with partners across the community from business, government and health care, to education, nonprofits and the faith community.