The first community to develop a Bridges Steering Committee was Springfield, Ohio. The actions that group took to address predatory practices in Clark County, Ohio, sparked the imagination of other groups that wanted to organize themselves to use Bridges concepts to address poverty in new ways and increase community engagement.
Bridges Steering Committees began cropping up across the nation. Now there are 26 locations in 12 states, as well as in Canada and Slovakia. The list can be found at this location. As communities develop Bridges Steering Committees – an indication that the community is taking a comprehensive approach to addressing poverty – they will be added to this list. There are 23 sites (in nine additional states and Australia) that are emerging into that status.
We’ve found that Bridges communities love to learn from each other. In November 2006 there was a gathering in Columbus, Ohio, of eight communities and four organizations. In 2008 aha! Process hosted the second Bridges Institute, at which there were 58 people from 34 organizations. During October 7, 8, and 9, 2009, aha! Process and Move the Mountain will hold a Bridges and Circles National Community Building Conference in Cincinnati.
With every community that joins the Bridges work, we learn more about how to prevent, alleviate, and eliminate poverty. The Bridges communities on this list are learning centers for the rest of us. Thanks to them for their willingness to share their experiences and knowledge.