Money doesn’t change human capacity; knowledge and relationships do. – Kathy Givens, Circles Coordinater

The Circles Initiative helps people leave poverty permanently. It’s not about quick fixes, handouts or other Band-Aid style approaches. Instead, Circles equips families and individuals with the relationships, confidence, skills and knowledge required to be self-reliant.

The framework is simple:



Circle Leaders (low-income individuals who are trying to leave poverty) meet together each week to attend a 12-week course where they learn S.M.A.R.T goal setting, fiscal literacy and other vital skills. This is where they begin planning their course out of poverty. A meal and children’s programming are provided.


Next Circle Leaders get matched with Allies. These Allies are individuals from the community with middle to high incomes. Allies are intentional friends to Circle Leaders, providing support, acceptance and encouragement. Once matched, Circle Leaders and Allies meet regularly to check in on each other’s goals and obstacles. (The Allies’ goals and challenges too!) These relationships provide an important sense of belonging a foundation for success that lasts a lifetime.



As Circle Leaders and Allies continue to meet, Circle Leaders are implementing their plans to leave poverty. They can go forward having friends who celebrate their accomplishments and help them address problems that come up. Implementing their plan may take years, but this journey is building long-term stability and a better future for themselves and their children. Circles weekly meetings are powerful examples of how meaningful relationships encourage growth for everyone involved.


When Circle Leaders have reached self-reliance, they graduate from Circles. Often Circle Leaders become Allies to help other Circle Leaders progress to financial stability. Circles isn’t just a group; often we’ve become a family.


Learn more about Circles from CirclesUSA.


Want to help?

Volunteering with Arrive Utah will change your life and the lives you serve.


Want to become a Circle Leader and leave poverty?

Contact us to start the application process with a Circles community near you.


The Circles’ model is an amazing tool to help move participants out of poverty. Attending the weekly meetings and hearing Circle Leaders call the group 'their Circles family' is especially moving. Seeing the work [Circle families] do is very humbling and worthwhile. - Rebecca, Circles Coordinator