In 2023 our Bridges Out of Poverty Rockford Region Community of Practice will focus on three primary trainings for community members. These trainings assist employers, community organizations, social service agencies, and individuals gain insight and strategies.

The first of these trainings will be focused on the Individual Lens. This Workshop is a comprehensive approach to understanding the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from individual to systemic levels. Bridges Out of Poverty uses the lens of economic class and provides concrete tools and strategies for a community to prevent, reduce, and alleviate poverty.

Participants will review poverty research and analyze poverty through the prism of the hidden rules of class, resources, family structure, and language. Throughout the workshop, participants will receive specific strategies for improving outcomes for people living in poverty, but the focus of the workshop is to provide a broad overview of concepts. Learn about proven concepts, strategies and approaches.

For more information and to register, click here


Poverty is a complex problem that demands a comprehensive approach. And therein lies the challenge. Poverty is not resolved with a single program or even set of programs, because there so many variables. Bridges is not a program. It is a set of constructs that can be applied in many settings and in many ways. 

Poverty is a common denominator for many sectors in society.  Its impact is felt by a wide range of entities, including schools, healthcare providers, social services, food services, faith communities, police and other first responders, courts, correctional facilities, workforce development, employers and government. 

Our Poverty Reduction Community of Practice hosts quarterly meetings and includes professionals of all levels (Executive Directors, Management and Case Managers) in each of the Bridges Community Sectors represented in the graphic here: 

The Bridges model operates on the law of attraction: If you like this approach, then take ownership of the ideas and apply them where you live and work.  Your innovations can impact the lives of people in poverty, improve the outcomes of your organization, and help build a broad community initiative.  When you share strategies with others, you are creating a learning community – whether it’s at the water cooler where you work, within your own discipline, or in a community collaborative.

Communities that use the Bridges constructs recognize that to address poverty effectively we must engage the whole community.  All sectors and economic classes need to be at the table and speaking the same language and the Community of Practice supports this ongoing work. The Community of Practice brings people from all sectors and economic classes together to improve job retention rates, build resources, improve outcomes, and support those who are moving out of poverty.

The goals of creating a Community of Practice are to:

  • move individuals from poverty to self-sufficiency
  • reduce social costs to crime, poor health and welfare
  • strengthen educational attainment and job skills
  • improve on-the-job productivity
  • revitalize neighborhoods and build sustainable communities where everyone can live well

The Community of Practice brings key participants together to discuss how the concepts can be applied within their organization, and at a higher level, the entire community.  These discussions will lead to a vision that is developed collaboratively and is supported by staff at all levels. The Bridges Out of Poverty model is currently used in 35 states and 7 countries; there are currently 33 communities across the world that have established Communities of Practice. 

Communities of Practice are currently being developed in additional communities across the State of Illinois.  These include Gurnee, Joliet and McHenry.  We will have the opportunity to meet with these communities to discuss policies that we could influence together for statewide change. 

Find out if your organization is a Bridges Organization by clicking here. 

To stay updated on our project, join our Bridges Out of Poverty Rockford Region Facebook Group, you can find it here: Bridges Out of Poverty Rockford Region | Facebook