A Proven Model

The Circles Model Gets Results  

  • Tracy Thompson points out in her 2011 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review that “circles of change” have long been used as a way to “encourage respectful conversation” and equalize positions of power.

  • We see that clearly in Circles® USA with the inclusion of participants from various income groups, as well as stakeholders in a variety of social positions.
  • Thompson states, “In a well-functioning Circle, members experience a strong sense of belonging, a compelling commitment to shared goals, and a high level of accountability to themselves and to the group…”
  • In expanding the participants and “Circle” beyond the low-income leaders, Circles® USA expands the responsibility for alleviating poverty.
  • With their addition of “Big View” meetings, the sense of commitment and accountability that Thompson describes is shared by community members, policy makers, volunteers, and leadership members.
  • In this way Circles® USA has successfully built trust and accountability across class divides and has worked toward structural accountability.


University Research Supports the Circles Model

  • We know the issues surrounding poverty, and we know our solution is sound. In fact, our approach continues to be supported by university research.

  • The most recent evaluation of Circles and the Circles model indicates its effectiveness in helping to end poverty.

  • The evaluation, THE CIRCLES® JOURNEY: 2001-2014 – “Integrating Research, Practice and Application” so that More Communities Thrive was completed by Professor Mary Jane Collier, University of New Mexico.

  • The Circles model continues to be strongly endorsed, is creative and flexible

  • Social capacity building is sound.

  • Leadership and staff have a realistic, valid and practical view of poverty.

  • Leadership defines poverty and prosperity as the joint responsibility of societies, institutions and communities, as well as individuals.