Community Collaboratives

Build a collaborative to coordinate your Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead initiatives.

While many organizations sponsor and conduct Getting Ahead classes independent of others, initiatives in many communities are coordinated and conducted by a collaborative. Collaborating with others in your community offers several benefits:

  • Through collaboration, your Getting Ahead graduates can use resource-building activities of other service providers. For example, in a community with a collaborative, a drug court offender can be referred to a Getting Ahead class in the community. After graduation, he or she can be referred to a network of other Getting Ahead graduates and allies for ongoing support. The graduate also is eligible for a Habitat for Humanity house. If he or she needs further education, a higher education member of the collaborative can make the transition to higher education as easy as possible.
  • A collaborative can streamline funding for foundations and other funding sources. When the collaborative applies for Getting Ahead funding on behalf of several organizations, the funding source is not confronted with competing grant requests for the same program.

Click on the links below to learn how communities are taking a collaborative approach to coordinating and funding Getting Ahead.

GA-Enchanted-Hills-IndianaEnchanted Hills, a trailer park in Cromwell Indiana, has been doing Getting Ahead since 2008. Read Richard Patton’s comments and outcome report:Hi, Phil, we are indeed still completing community workshops in Enchanted Hills. I think that the community in general has benefited the most from the social relationships that Getting Ahead has explained to the participants by means of their inclusion in the discussion. The Bowen Center and I would like to see more vocational training outreach, educational institution outreach, and employer outreach from within our facility.  The following account is a snapshot of what we’ve recently accomplished. I’ve attached a photo hanging on my office wall.  I am pleased to say that I know the positive, living and succeeding whereabouts of all of the individuals pictured.  

Rick Patton
Enchanted Hills Community Partnership Center
Otis R. Bowen Center for Human Services, Inc.

  • Cass County, MI: Nine Getting Ahead investigators graduate. The Getting Ahead group was underwritten by Tri-County Head Start, and the Bridges Out of Poverty initiative is coordinated by the Cass County Human Services Coordinating Council. Read more in this Dowagiac Daily News story.
  • Dubuque, IA writes: We completed our first group last night – except for our “graduation dinner” which we will be having on Friday at a fancy restaurant where the lady from housing with whom I am co-facilitating used to work – it’s good to have connections! And we have seen lots of people supporting and encouraging each other. We have graduates ready to co-facilitate the next round (two groups starting in October) and increasing interest from various groups ranging from churches to business to city government to service organizations. We are in the process of recruitment and fund raising as well as general promotion including a half or full page ad in the local paper thanking our sponsors and celebrating our graduation. Learn more here.
  • Northeast Colorado: Getting Ahead is coordinated by Rural Solutions and Morgan Family Services in the frontier counties of northeast Colorado. Read the Sterling Journal-Advocate and Fort Morgan Times articles about two Getting Ahead graduations.


  • Reno, NV is moving into phase 2 with Getting Ahead grads! We have about 100 GA grads and are developing the next stages of resource building and community change. To kick it off, we did a Vision Boarding Session on May 12, 2014 at our monthly social gathering. Taco Dinner and creativity made a great combination. We had about 17 grads participating with our devoted crew of 11 additional allies to build their personal visions for their own next steps. Then, we moved to our vision of our community here in Reno. As you can see from the photo, it’s a “WE” project fully empowered and growing. This year we will add additional curriculum in three areas – Financial Wealth Building, Emotional Resiliency and Leadership. Its an exciting time in Reno, and we are making it happen TOGETHER!
  • Salina, KS: Getting Ahead graduates speak to business leaders, city officials, social service providers and others in Salina, KS. Getting Ahead training is offered through Heartland Programs, a network of Head Start programs in north-central Kansas. Read more in this Salina Journal story.
  • Schenectady, NY: A collaborative initiative puts matches individuals in a homeless shelter who have graduated from Getting Ahead with businesses in the central city. Read “Paying the Homeless to Stand Outside Your Business:  Schenectady Bridges Project Turns Poverty Upside Down” in the Stanford Social Innovations Review.
  • South Bend, IN: St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty partners with many organizations offering Getting Ahead throughout the South Bend community and beyond. Read an interview with executive director, Bonnie Bazata, in this IN Michiana article, p.18.
  • Stillwater, OK: Stillwater CARES graduation. Brad Essary, GA grad says, “What this class does is empower people.  It creates conditions for dreams to once again flourish and, for many, become reality.”  Lucy Newlin says, “Rather than accepting circumstances as beyond my control, I’m more bold about finding solutions.”



  • The St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative takes a breakthrough framework to break the cycle of poverty and create community sustainability. SJC Bridges’ community-wide approach seeks solutions that shift from managing poverty to eliminating it.

Ready for start your own collaborative? Need more information? Call us at (800) 424-9484 or request information online.