Arlington Community Foundation works closely with Arlington’s safety-net nonprofits – those serving the tens of thousands of Arlington residents who are living on the edge economically – to strengthen their effectiveness in collaborating to address pressing community needs.
After producing a report on the nonprofit safety-net and facilitating community dialogue on emerging needs, Arlington Community Foundation partnered with the Arlington County Department of Human Services (DHS) to launch the multi-year Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative.
Senior managers and front-line staff from key DHS service areas and nearly 30 Arlington nonprofits are participating. This public-private partnership represents a re-design of the safety net system to reduce bureaucratic hurdles and strengthen connections so people in poverty can gain traction and move forward. We are working collaboratively to build the range of resources and social capital that people need to move out of poverty.
Bridges Out of Poverty allows individual nonprofits and County programs to help their clients escape the tyranny of the moment that living in poverty entails and begin to build their own future story.
At the same time, it gives us an opportunity to facilitate collaboration across the nonprofit sector and County agencies for collective impact at the community level. Beginning in fall 2018, Arlington DHS and Arlington Community Foundation along with a wide and a wide array of nonprofits convened by the Arlington Community Foundation began testing this systems re-design of the local safety net.
The 200 Bridges pilot uses a two-generation approach with parents and their children to build opportunities for adequate housing and child care, jobs with better wages, health care, and educational advancement. This united effort involves unprecedented collaboration across the County, nonprofit system, and families.
The Bridges Out of Poverty partners have streamlined the myriad consent forms for different organizations into one common form, while still complying with HIPAA privacy rules, so individuals no longer have to repeat their history over and over. They’ve reduced the “agency time” spent navigating the system.
Arlington County, the Community Foundation, and the many nonprofit partners continue to use what is learned through 200 Bridges and other complementary initiatives to create policies that improve mobility for everyone in Arlington.
For additional information about Arlington Community Foundation’s economic mobility initiatives, contact Anne Vor der Bruegge, Director of Grants and Initiatives.