Nov 192011
Authors: Elizabeth Drolet

Being poor in college is almost a rite of passage, but how poor is too poor?

According to the U.S Census Bureau, last year, the Food Bank for Larimer County distributed a whopping 1.3 million pounds of food. In a time where a solution is desperately needed, the Bohemian Foundation may just have the answer.

CTV reporter, Elizabeth Drolet caught up with the Bohemian Foundation in their announcement of two innovative initiatives on alleviating poverty, entitled Bridges out of Poverty and Circles.

“So that responsibility and hard work are rewarded, low income residents can imagine positive future paths and can build the skills and resources they need.” Bohemian Foundation Community Programs Coordinator, Sarah Hack said of the effect of the initiatives.

Education, community, and business representatives spoke at the event, which made these initiatives especially unique.

Business and education leaders spoke highly of the initiatives and were optimistic about the future impact of reducing poverty.

“It’s the smart thing to do for both our community and businesses,” David May, President and CEO of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce said.

CSU President, Tony Frank spoke of the consequences if these projects did not receive commitment and were not taken seriously among the community.

“We run the very real risk in the first time of the history of American public higher education of turning to a man or woman and looking at their application and saying to them, your credentials are impeccable, your abilities, your talent, your motivation are all fine; but we are less interested in all of those things, than we are on your family’s economic status,” Frank said.

Bridges out of Poverty focuses on three key areas; Bridges for Education, Bridges for Community and Bridges for Business.

The Bridges out of Poverty framework focuses on training business, education, and community leaders and members to build mutually beneficial partnerships.

CSU Economics Professor, Martin Shields elaborated on how the Bridges for Poverty initiative works.

“By saying, yes we expect you take alot of the initiative on your own, but were going to make sure the infrastructure is there to help,” Shields said.

Circles is designed to empower people from all economic backgrounds.

“When you volunteer for Circles; its about relationships. It’s about creating relationships of mutual respect, regardless of economic class lines; so friend first, volunteer second,” Circles Coordinator, Cynthia Ryk said.

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