Through the years it has been exciting to watch communities embed the Bridges Out of Poverty model. So many creative ideas have emerged from collaborations, breaking down barriers and moving to next levels. Individuals, institutions, and communities are being changed by this innovation.

As the movement spread and more people began to hear about Bridges, they started asking for more concrete ways to explain the work. Applying the understanding that mental models help translate from the abstract to the concrete, a group at aha! Process began to discuss the creation of a mental model for the Bridges Out of Poverty work.

Bridges Model Overview

The goals of the model are twofold. It aims to communicate the big picture quickly, and the model helps communities continue planning “what’s next” using each of the Bridges areas of focus—individual, institution, and community. It’s easy to get stuck focusing on individuals at the Getting Ahead and Bridges certified training level, but the real change comes when communities work to achieve the goals listed in all three pillars. As a Bridges initiative moves up each pillar, it begins to effect widespread change at the policy level.

Phil DeVol and I shared this model in a webinar podcast, and I invite you to listen now as we explain each of the levels and each of the pillars. As you compare the work in your community with the work described in the webinar, you may have more questions. Don’t worry! We are available to address your questions and concerns so your community is able to keep moving up.