What is Circles?

Circles is a unique program that is based on the premise that developing meaningful relationships across socio-economic lines can have a dramatic impact on the effort to move families out of poverty. Knowing that relationships and connections matter, the Circles program matches a person in poverty with at least three middle or upper income partners for at least 18 months to build relationships. The goal of these relationships is to break the cycle of generational poverty by creating circles of support and connections with people who are committed to making real change in our community.

Learn More

Circles is a national program with more than 70 chapters nationwide and in Canada. The goal of Circles is to permanently lift families out of poverty. Circle’s unique strategy utilizes education, goal setting, training, and above all, relationships to help participants develop the resources and social capital they need to rise out of poverty and achieve economic independence.

We recruit highly motivated, low-income participants who will:

  • Enroll in a 12-week Circles Leadership Training Class to build financial, emotional and social resources.
  • Partner with 2-3 Allies, middle or upper income community volunteers who support a Circle Leader’s efforts through networking, listening, and guidance.
  • Attend weekly community meetings for 18 months with peers, Allies, and other interested community members for planning, support and networking opportunities.

The primary indicator of progress in Circles in an increase in earned income.  Nationally, Circle participants earned:

  • 37% more income after 6 months
  • 50% more after 1 year
  • 62% more in 18 months


Friends in Deed (FID) will be launching Circles Washtenaw County in June of 2017.  We are in the process of identifying participants (Circle Leaders—individuals who are leading their families out of poverty) and recruiting volunteers. Learn more about becoming a Leader by phone (734-340-9042) or email.

Circles meetings will be hosted at St. Luke-Ann Arbor, 4205 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI. 48108

Help us build a robust, multi-talented volunteer support team.  Circles volunteers will learn and grow alongside the Circle Leaders and will have an opportunity to share their skills and knowledge.  Learn more about volunteer opportunities.

Funding for our Circles program comes from individuals, congregations, organizations and businesses that share the vision of permanently lifting individuals and families out of poverty. Some have supported us with multi-year pledges.  If you would like to make a donation, click here.  If you would like to join our Fundraising Team contact our Coordinator at:  Suzanne@friendsindeedmi.org

Make a Donation

You can make a gift right away in support of Circles with a credit card or through Paypal: (If you have any problems with the online transaction, please call 734-485-7658.)

Or you can make a pledge and pay later with a check or as part of scheduled contributions:

Or you can subscribe to our automatic monthly donation program:

Automatic Donation Options:

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