How One Organization Discovered a Way to Empower People Out of Poverty
There are 350,000 adults are living in poverty in the Denver Metro area. That is, a single parent with one child living on $16,000 or less per year. In 2008, the CrossPurpose team moved to Northeast Denver to learn what it meant to truly love our neighbors. Through years of multiple poverty relief efforts, they finally realized they were asking the wrong question. Rather than asking ‘how do we help people in poverty?’, they started to ask ‘how do we help people out of poverty?’
CrossPurpose is 6 month program for adults in poverty that helps participants graduate with a career paying at least $15/hr.
Our program provides participants, called Leaders, 150 hours of personal development, 8 individual counseling sessions, the option to choose from one of 20 different career certifications, career coaching, and a new network of supportive relationships. We host a weekly meal called Family Gathering, where volunteers, called Allies, come alongside Leaders and encourage them in their journey through the program.
After Leaders graduate, they join the Alumni Association, where they are eligible to receive continued supportive services, homeownership workshops, continued community, and the opportunity to apply to Change Agency, our idea incubator for entrepreneurial graduates.
Since 2012, CrossPurpose has served almost 300 graduates making $15 or more at a meaningful career, ultimately lifting over 700 people and children out of poverty. For every dollar invested, the social return on investment turns in $8.80, and CrossPurpose graduates have accrued over $7.6M in wealth collectively. Results from an alumni retention survey showed that 92% of alumni are still employed.
Each CrossPurpose graduate completes the program with 100 new relational connections, building a stronger system of social capital and a greater support network, while they continue to receive development opportunities, including homeownership workshops & entrepreneurial coaching through the CrossPurpose Alumni Association.