inspiring and equipping families
The Building Bridges initiative has successfully completed the first of three phases for full integration of the Building Bridges design into the Bartlesville, Oklahoma community.
Phase One: Pilot (Program Development/ Post Secondary Ed.)
Phase Two: Implementation (Sustainability/Business Model)
Phase Three: Community Wide Scaling (Additional Sites)
At Building Bridges, we strive to move families who have been raised in generational poverty towards self–sufficiency. Building Bridges focuses on building social, human and financial capital to improve overall quality of life. Individuals learn how they can achieve the American dream of having a career. Building Bridges even takes it one step further by instilling philanthropic and leadership skills. Building Bridges can proudly say that 100% of its participants give back to the program and community through donations, fundraising, facilitation of classes and other forms of volunteerism in the Bartlesville community.
Building Bridges initiative works to better equip our community across socioeconomic lines by developing new ideas, structures, and concrete tools needed to reduce poverty. Over 300 volunteers from all economic classes come together to improve job retention rates, build resources, reduce community barriers, and support families who desire to reach a higher level of self-sufficiency.
The following statistics are reflective of a four year pilot starting in April 2010. These statistics are just a few indicators of the total 89 dashboard indicators that are collected every 6 months from participants. Building Bridges currently has 91 adult participants, 93 OKWU students, and 49 children enrolled in the initiative. On average, the Building Bridges’ participants have shown:
83% Increase in earned income
37% Decrease in welfare benefits
56% Increase in cash assets
53% Attending a university or technology center
100% Payday loans paid off
100% High school seniors attend a four year degree program
126% Increase in “People I can count on”
Over $319,000 high interest debt paid off
90% Retention rate
25% Self-Sufficient (23 Adults and 17 Children)
$10 Return on Investment on children alone
An Initiative of Bartlesville Regional United Way
“Since Building Bridges,
I have gone back to school, got married, found a stable place to live, established credit, opened a savings account, and paid off a tremendous
amount of debt. The choices we make now
go beyond day by day thinking. We now work
on long-term goals to benefit our family.”
- Ashley Cole
“I thought there was nothing Building Bridges could offer me at first. I was homeless, jobless, had legal problems, and didn’t have anyone I could count on.
Since then… I got a job, recently married, paid off debt (including legal fines), and now have relationships with my children and grandchildren.”
- Billy Rogers
The average cost to taxpayers to support a child living in poverty is more than $37,000 per year. During its pilot phase, Building Bridges has successfully moved 17 children off of government assistance within the first two years of implementation, a cost savings to taxpayers of $1,258,000 ($629,000/ year).
With the initial $125,000 investment used to implement Phase One for four years, Building Bridges was able to show a $10 return on investment for every $1 donated.
Building Bridges is proud to report that 100% of our students who have graduated high school have gone on to a four year degree program. Three of our young adults have successfully completed their first year of college with honors and are the first in their families to attend a university. All of these college students have parents who have now completed, or are in the process of completing their education as well… truly breaking the cycle of poverty for future generations.
“I’m so glad my mom goes to Building Bridges. I have so much fun playing with my friends. I got to sit in a fire truck which was really cool. I like going to the library too. Sometimes I get a little loud but my teachers don’t mind.”
Building Bridges Partners with Washington County Probationary Office
Building Bridges is making a difference with individuals who have been convicted of non-violent felonies. In 2013, Building Bridges, with the help from a Flash Philanthropy Grant through the Bartlesville Community Foundation and the Washington County Probationary Office, successfully implemented a track for convicted felons to prevent repeat offenses and bridge towards self-sufficiency. Since the original class of nine started in the fall of 2013, participants have already paid off debt, found employment, made strides to go back to school, and have given back by helping facilitate two additional classes that are now underway in 2014.
Building Bridges Partners with OKWU
Building Bridges and Oklahoma Wesleyan University partners in 2011 to cultivate our future workforce, assist with retention rates, and develop strong leadership and communications skills across socioeconomic lines. Classes have been approved for Humanities allowing many degree programs to participate. Currently 93 students have completed the course and become volunteers at Building Bridges.
Building Bridges Partners with Habitat for Humanity
Building Bridges has partnered with Habitat for Humanity since 2009 to assess long term benefits of building social and financial capital for families who have been raised in generational poverty. Habitat for Humanity’s dedication to the partnership has helped 30% of our families with home ownership and allows class time to go towards sweat equity hours.
Building Bridges Partners with Lighthouse
One of Building Bridges newest partnership is with the Lighthouse in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Building Bridges is currently providing two on-site classes per week at the Lighthouse with 14 participants enrolled. The participants are learning in this class how to develop resources and improve communication skills across socioeconomic lines.
Building Bridges partners with various organizations and institutions throughout the community in working together to alleviate poverty.
Building Bridges of Oklahoma