6 Compassionate Organizations Working To Lift People Out Of Poverty

A lack of income typically goes hand in hand with lack of access to education and opportunity, creating a vicious cycle that makes it hard for those in need to improve their situation. Recognizing these difficulties, charitable organizations of all kinds work to empower struggling individuals and families and provide them with the tools they need to survive and thrive. We've profiled a number of dedicated groups, listed in no particular order, that offer help to those seeking to leave poverty behind.

Starting us off at #1 is Canada Without Poverty, which seeks to eradicate deprivation throughout the country by educating the public about the human and financial cost of impoverishment, and by identifying public policy solutions. CWP produces numerous articles and fact sheets detailing the hardships faced by impoverished Canadians, and the ways that readers can help. The group also generates in-depth reports for officials and change-makers, discussing topics like how to address inequality from a human rights perspective.

Projects like This is Poverty Canada provide an opportunity for struggling individuals to share their stories in their own words, and the annual Chew On This campaign unites advocates and groups around the country in calling for action on poverty. CWP offers a series of webinars on human rights and public policy, providing insights into topics like food security and early childhood education. The organization also lobbies policy makers and testifies before government bodies about the need for relief and reform.

Following up at #2 is United Community, a human services nonprofit agency in Fairfax County, Virginia. Founded in 1969 with a church clothing drive, the organization has grown to offer a wide variety of services, from youth athletics programs to supplemental groceries for food-insecure families. Its Progreso Center for Literacy & Citizenship helps immigrants from around the world acquire English skills and adapt to American society, with the aid of a supportive community of fellow learners.

The Early Learning Center at United Community provides low-cost childcare and education, along with free health screenings and instruction in topics like dental health and nutrition. Other educational initiatives include mentoring and scholarship opportunities for young people, as well as Healthy Families Fairfax, which helps build positive parenting skills in high-risk families. The group also operates Neighborhood Community Centers where residents can gather to learn and build connections for mutual support.

Our #3 is Opportunity International, which designs and implements financial solutions to help impoverished families build sustainable livelihoods. Its Micro Banking program extends services like savings accounts and startup loans to small-scale entrepreneurs in developing regions, along with technological tools making these opportunities easier to access. Clients can receive training in fiscal literacy and business management, and assistance in building networks of social and professional connections.

With innovations like tailored financial services for refugees, or Trust Group loans enabling marginalized women to act as mutual guarantors, Opportunity International works to address the needs of especially vulnerable groups. Agribusiness lending and training help bolster the economic security of small farmers, while the Education Finance program supports access to high-quality learning. Schools can receive infrastructure loans and technical assistance, and parents can get help covering tuition payments.

Next up is #4, Circles USA, an organization gathering middle-and-high-income volunteers to support families in poverty. Weekly group meetings let struggling individuals network with fellow community members known as allies, who can offer advice and assistance with challenges like managing debt or achieving home ownership. The organization helps new local chapters get started, and offers training sessions to assist allies in building key skills for helping their neighbors.

Circles USA complements its core program with Poverty Reduction Labs, which analyze local social services with help from those receiving benefits. These initiatives aim to identify potential improvements to aid programs, and find better ways to move families into self-sufficiency. The organization also engages in advocacy and outreach to shift the way society deals with poverty, with a particular focus on the paradoxical hardships created when pay raises trigger losses of government assistance.

#5 on the list is the Food Research & Action Center, a nonprofit striving to eradicate food insecurity in the United States through improved public policy. The group works to help elected officials understand the extent of hunger in America, and the need for measures to combat it. FRAC helps citizens urge their representatives to take action on these issues, and organizes initiatives like the Campaign to End Childhood Hunger, which galvanizes efforts to expand meal programs for young people.

FRAC bolsters its advocacy with research, tracking and charting usage of federal nutrition benefits like SNAP. The resulting reports help to make the case for benefits like summer meal programs for impoverished young people, and the group's regional profiles aid in identifying areas of high need. The annual National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference gathers experts, advocates, and public officials from around the country to share knowledge and discuss strategies for fighting food insecurity.

We'll finish with #6, St. Francis Neighborhood Center, dedicated to helping residents of the Reservoir Hill and Penn North communities in Baltimore. The Center offers learning opportunities like the Power Project, a free after-school tutoring and mentoring program that helps participants build academic skills and confidence. SFNC offers internships to let older students gain work and leadership experience, along with college visits and meetings with professional role models to foster aspiration in underprivileged youths.

The Summer of Service Excursion at SFNC is a youth development program that aims to engage young people's interest in improving their communities, with projects like making food for local soup kitchens, as well as teaching them about subjects ranging from animal cruelty to healthy nutrition. The organization also hosts community programs including yoga classes, resource fairs, and free grocery distributions for low-income families.