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Circles Washtenaw County is a community-based program that is committed to increasing the upward mobility for individuals and families in poverty in Washtenaw County. Based on the national Circles®USA model, the Circles program uses a combination of financial and career training combined with intentional relationships across socioeconomic lines to help open up long-term pathways for economic growth.

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Circles - Washtenaw County attends at the Circles USA Conference in Orlando in 2023.

The new leaders of Cohort 6 joining for dinner to kick off the Circle Leader Training!

Cohort 4 Circle Leaders celebrate their launch in 2022!

Join the Circles Community

Become a leader

Circles helps families become stable with a unique approach. Participants are called Circle Leaders and receive training on finances, employment, health, goal setting, and communication skills. As a Circle Leader, you will be matched with 2-3 Allies who are there to support you in your journey out of poverty. Getting out of poverty is easier when you have a circle of support!

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Become an ally

Allies are intentional thought partners for Circle Leaders. As an Ally, your job is to listen, ask questions, make suggestions, and be a true friend and supporter. You and 1-2 other Allies will help Circle Leaders use their unique gifts and skills to reach their goals, and Circle Leaders will help you better understand poverty in your community.

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There are many ways to use your gifts in the Circles community! Some of these opportunities include joining a Resource Team to provide an additional layer of support for Circle Leaders. Every week we are looking for groups to provide and serve a meal for the Circles group. We also have an energetic Children’s Program that welcomes volunteers to share their time and talent!

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


more income after six months


more income after one year


more income after 18 months

Support Circles

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.

Circles Program: The Circles budget covers the cost of Circles staff, supplies for Leader trainings & workshops, meals and the children’s program, and scholarships for Leaders upon completion of the program.

Laptop for Leaders: The Laptop for Leaders program assists Leaders with purchasing a new computer or printer to support their career and educational goals.

Donate Now
Three people each hold a candle in front of the Circles Washtenaw County poster.
Become a Leader

Are you tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Are you ready to make a lasting change and lead your family out of poverty?

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Three people each hold up a painting they made during a Circles meeting.
Volunteer for Circles

Would like to be a part of our vision to empower families and can volunteer your time and talents?

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Need Additional Help?

Call the friends in Deed Help Line: (734) 484-4357

Monday-Friday • 9:30am to 2:00pm

Contact Us
View the Friends In Deed programs.

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