Human Services

A Wider Circle, Inc.

  • Bethesda, MD
  • www.awidercircle.org

Mission Statement

The mission of A Wider Circle is simple: to help children and adults lift themselves out of poverty. At the heart of A Wider Circle's work is the realization that breaking the cycles of poverty requires more than just the provision of basic need items; it also requires a restoration of dignity and self-worth.  Our comprehensive wellness programming helps individuals gain greater control of their wellbeing, while the delivery of furniture, home goods and more helps individuals and families meet their basic needs.

Main Programs

  1. Public Housing Wellness
  2. Neighbor-to-Neighbor
  3. Well Mother, Well Baby
  4. School Community Program
  5. Shelter Support
Service Areas

Self-reported

Maryland

Greater Washington D.C. Region

ruling year

2002

Principal Officer since 2001

Self-reported

Dr. Mark Bergel

Keywords

Self-reported

basic needs, health education, poverty, low-income, homelessness, abuse, schools, shelters, domestic violence, education, self-esteem, stress management, community outreach

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EIN

52-2345144

Physical Address

9159-C Brookville Road

Silver Spring, MD 20910

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Family Services (P40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Since its founding, A Wider Circle has served more than 175,000 children and adults. In 2015, alone, A Wider Circle will furnish more than 4,400 homes, providing beds, dressers, and other basic need items to more than 16,000 children and adults. A Wider Circle will also provide workforce readiness support to more than 2,000 adults in 2015, including the delivery of our Job Skills Boot Camp both on-site at A Wider Circle and in low-income neighborhoods.

Each year, more than 20,000 families in the region donate items to A Wider Circle and approximately 15,000 volunteers come, individually or in groups, to serve. Because of this grassroots approach, A Wider Circle's overhead is less than 2%.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Public Housing Wellness

A Wider Circle offers wellness programming for seniors and individuals
with disabilities who are living in public housing, providing health workshops,
basic need items, and beautification of the grounds. The seniors served by this program have been
living in or near poverty their entire lives, and A Wider Circle’s aim is simply to enhance their quality of life by increasing their
access to health information and “uplift activities” such as gardening and arts
& crafts. In 2006, A Wider Circle
established a Wellness
Center within the Sibley
Plaza Public Housing Building, a space into which seniors can come during the
day to socialize and take classes on health and wellness topics. Our workshops are audience-appropriate and
tailored to the needs of the population, with a focus on preventing diseases
that are more likely to affect low-income seniors.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 2

Neighbor-to-Neighbor

The Neighbor-to-Neighbor program collects donated furniture (e.g., beds, dressers, tables & chairs)
from families with more than they need and distributes it to families with
nothing.  The aim of this program is to provide
families with the basic items they need to establish a new home – a critical
component in these families’ long-term struggle for independence and
stability. A Wider serves families
transitioning out of homeless and battered women’s shelters, recovering from
natural disasters, or otherwise living without their basic needs. Each of these individuals also received
health and wellness information at the time of their furniture selections. Because all of the furniture is donated and
transported by volunteers, Neighbor-to-Neighbor remains a low-cost and
efficient system of getting families the home items they need. Our goal for the year is to provide a bed for
every child – a task that will require extraordinary effort on the part of
staff, interns, and volunteers, and one to which we are deeply committed.

Category

Population(s) Served

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 3

Well Mother, Well Baby

Well Mother, Well Baby is a comprehensive program for low-income pregnant adolescents, combining educational workshops such as Newborn Care, Parenting Skills, and Financial Management with the provision of items needed to raise a healthy child. The aim of the program is to produce health-conscious, prepared mothers as well as to provide an ongoing support network so these young women will stay in school and pursue positive career paths. A Wider Circle utilizes a small-group approach, with the same girls attending each class of the 10-14 week workshop series. At the end of the series we throw a baby shower for the participants, complete with cribs, strollers, and essential baby items. Without the program (based on evaluation data from participants and school nurses) the girls would struggle to obtain the baby items and health information, and would not have the powerful support community created by the workshops.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Female Youth/Adolescents (14 - 19 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 4

School Community Program

This program provides
comprehensive after-school programming (e.g., physical education, communication
skills, “world culture days”) for children at low-income schools, as well as
educational workshops for parents, faculty, and staff. The aim of the program is to broaden the
students’ vision of what is possible in their futures, improve day-to-day
communication skills, and help students perform better on their standardized
tests. Joyce Thompson, principal of one
of the participating elementary schools, describes A Wider Circle as making “a major contribution to the improvement of the quality of
life” for the students and parents. The
workshops, she shares, are consistently informative and “the social skills of
our students are much improved as a result of having had the opportunity to
work with the facilitators during the after-school program.”

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Children Only (5 - 14 years)

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Program 5

Shelter Support

The Shelter Support program provides wellness
workshops (e.g., healthy self-esteem, stress management, and yoga) for shelter
residents, followed by the provision of basic need items as the families
transition out of the shelters. By
utilizing a holistic approach that focuses both on individuals’ tangible needs
and their “inner resources,” A
Wider Circle aims to ensure a smooth transition
from shelters to permanent housing. We
also work with families to create a healthy environment in their new homes by
sending monthly health and wellness newsletters.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Homeless

Poor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, General

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The mission of A Wider Circle is simple: to end poverty for one individual and one family after another. A Wider Circle's services focus on the following areas: 1.) Provision of basic need items; 2.) Comprehensive workforce readiness support; 3.) Wellness programming; and 4.) Long-term, wraparound support.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    A Wider Circle provides basic need items such as beds, dressers, tables, chairs, couches, televisions, sheets, towels, dishes, pots, pans, and other large and small home goods – all of which are collected from donors in the community and then re-distributed free of charge. The organization also provides comprehensive job preparedness support, including job skills classes, job coaches, and professional attire and accessories. Its educational programming is complemented by wellness workshops on topics such as parenting and stress management. Finally, A Wider Circle seeks to match those in need with groups of volunteers who can provide individualized, long-term support on their journeys out of poverty.

    2015 marked the launch of A Wider Circle's pilot Comprehensive Neighborhood Support (CNS) Program in Barry Farm, one of the region's most impoverished neighborhoods. There, the organization has established a neighborhood center, where residents can obtain smaller basic need items and professional clothing, and can access comprehensive job skills training, youth mentoring, and long-term support.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    A Wider Circle has twice been named "one of the bestʺ nonprofit organizations in the region by the Catalogue for Philanthropy and has been called "the quintessential grassroots organization" by the Washington Examiner. While many individual and organizational accolades have come to A Wider Circle, most recently, the organization received the 2015 Paul Sarbanes Excellence in Community Service Award. Our Executive Director, Dr. Bergel has been named a CNN Hero, Washingtonian of the Year, and one of People Magazine's All-Stars Among Us for his efforts to end poverty. The organization has a staff of approximately 45 and recently purchased its 35,000 square-foot Community Service Center.

  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Individuals leaving poverty – this is the ambitious end goal of each of A Wider Circle's programs. We constantly evaluate our efforts to assess effectiveness toward this end, and strive to create a model of service that affects dramatic change in our community and our nation.

    A Wider Circle gathers baseline data on participants in each of our programs, tracking income levels, demographic data, employment status and other key indicators. We then follow up with participants at key intervals during and after their time in our programs to assess the effectiveness of each intervention.

    Six- month evaluations of our Neighbor-to-Neighbor Programs show that nearly 100% of those whom we serve are still using the furniture and home goods they received. They indicate that the comfort of a furnished home provides a sense of stability and acts as incentive for paying rent and remaining in their homes.

    In Job Skills programming, approximately 50% of participants are employed within six months of completing classes. Pre- and post-evaluations of our education and workforce readiness programming also reveal that knowledge and behavior change ranges from 25%-40% for those who participated in at least two-thirds of the programming. Participants will be tracked at six-, twelve-, and eighteen-month intervals to assess success and identify any existing needs.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    A Wider Circle has developed a grassroots, efficient model for the provision of its daily services. As the organization expands, its goals include the following:

    Replication of the CNS Program in high-poverty neighborhoods throughout the region: By providing basic need items, workforce readiness training, wellness programming, and wraparound support directly in neighborhoods where the need is greatest, barriers to participation are removed and residents are able to create dramatic change in their quality of life.

    Launch of the Wraparound Support Program: In early 2016, A Wider Circle's Wraparound Support Program will be fully implemented. Through this program, groups of at least four volunteers commit to providing long-term, wraparound support to an individual or family seeking to rise out of poverty. Together, these groups set and pursue goals in the areas of employment, education, financial stability, health and wellness, and housing stability. Partners will engage in problem-solving, identify helpful resources and trainings, and address barriers to independence.

    People are not getting out of poverty as quickly as others are being born into it. The number of children and adults who live in unacceptable conditions demands that this crisis be addressed with urgency. That is why A Wider Circle works seven days a week, 365 days a year to ensure that every individual and family has the resources they need to build lives of dignity and stability.
Service Areas

Self-reported

Maryland

Greater Washington D.C. Region

Social Media

Blog

Accreditations

Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance

External Reviews

Source: greatnonprofits.org

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

A Wider Circle Inc
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Dec 31
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

A Wider Circle, Inc.

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Principal Officer

Dr. Mark Bergel

BIO

Dr. Bergel earned his bachelors degree at Northwestern University
in Evanston, Illinois,
and both his masters and doctoral degrees from American
University in Washington, DC. 
He has spent decades in community service, as well as managing health and wellness
initiatives for myriad populations. He has lived in the Washington DC
area since 1985.

STATEMENT FROM THE Principal Officer

"At A Wider Circle, we believe that we already have the resources needed to end poverty.  Our task is simply to place greater priority on those in the greatest need.  We work every day to help families trying to get a fresh start, find relief, and just obtain the items they need to then focus on creating greater change in their lives.   Our educational programs are focused on helping people of all ages have the tools and information necessary to gain stability and independence."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Ms. Pam Feinstein

Consultant, Resolution Health, Inc.

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?