Our Model

At Connections, we provide a comprehensive network of services and support to help people living in poverty become economically self-sufficient. Our model, with lifelong mentoring at its core, delivers evidence-based results and impacts all areas of a person’s life.

The Struggle for Economic Independence

Poverty + Crime are a Vicious Cycle of Complex Issues

Poverty is about more than not having enough money or not having a job. Poverty is a cycle that impacts generations of families; it is made up of factors that are multifaceted and complicated.

For example, if you are born to a family in poverty, chances are you won’t have access to educational and training opportunities, so you are undereducated and undertrained. This keeps you from finding a job that pays you wages that support your family’s needs. So, you remain unemployed and rely on government assistance to survive. Because you aren’t in the workforce you lose out on opportunities to gain knowledge and skills, widening the education and skills gap between you and others. You become isolated, only interacting with people in similar situations, with no idea that your life could be different. You may become involved in crime because those are the only options you learn about. Your children are born into a family in poverty, to parents who may be incarcerated.

This cycle is repeated daily in communities all over our nation. Helping people break the cycle of poverty requires more than teaching them how to fill out applications or training them in a skill. It must approached holistically, touching all areas of a person’s life.

How Our Model Works

Economic Independence is our Goal

Isolation & Depression

Generational Poverty

Education & Skills Gap

Unemployment/ Incarceration

Government Assistance

Poverty/Crime Cycle

Components of poverty and crime are like dark clouds chaotically swirling around people, obscuring their vision and impacting their ability to make lasting changes.

Next, the transition cycle

CTS Transition Cycle

With mentoring at its center, our transition cycle meets people where they are and coordinates training, education and other resources to help them meet their life plan goals.

Next, the economic independence cycle

Economic Stability Cycle

Lifelong engagement and support provides the foundation for economic independence, impacting future generations by enabling parents to support and encourage their children.


Our Model Delivers Real, Evidence-Based Results

Within the Connections to Success Model, we walk beside people, mentoring them as they move from poverty to economic independence. We serve people transitioning from generational poverty, incarceration, domestic violence and other challenging and disadvantaged situations. We begin by helping participants complete a life plan to help set personal goals, and we assign a Connections to Success case manager and volunteer mentor to each participant to ensure they have the support they need to reach those goals. Our Personal and Professional Development workshops offer workforce readiness skills, cognitive skill building, job placement and retention, health and wellness, financial education, literacy and GED, educational programs, occupational skills and transitional employment. Once the basics are learned, participants may go on to specific skills training within our model.

To meet the ever-changing needs of those we serve, we create and develop innovative trainings, programs, collaborations and partnerships that address the complex issues around poverty. Whether we are providing professional attire through Dress for Success or giving donated cars to deserving families through our transportation program, our programs and all have the same goal: economic independence for all.

Our multi-faceted approach meets people where they are, helps them see the future, and delivers a strong, smart solution to the complex issues around poverty—and we have the results to prove it.



ROI (Return on Investment)

Our Outcomes Can Be Translated to Financial and Social ROI

The financial impact of our work is most evident in the employment of Connections’ participants. When they complete our programs and land jobs they immediately begin supporting the local economy, and paying into federal and state tax coffers. And, when incarcerated people are supported in new lifestyle choices through our programs, they return to prison in far fewer numbers, thus reducing the costs to taxpayers of maintaining prisoners.

The Social Return on Investment that our work achieves, while calculated differently, is just as impactful. Social ROI is a way to measure change in social value, instead of money, relative to the resources invested. We’re in the business of life transformations, so the social value we help create touches many people beyond those who attend our programs and classes. When people are trained and supported to get and keep jobs, they reduce their family’s need for government assistance, they have better chances of owning their own homes and they encourage their children to become educated—all of which benefit our society. When people feel they have options other than crime, the costs of law enforcement and community safety, court, and probation are also significantly reduced.

Evidence-Based Study

A Return on Investment (ROI) Study was conducted for the re-entry program of Connections to Success (CtS).   The goal of the ROI is to analyze the economic impacts of the program outcomes and costs.  Along with the ROI there is a Social Return on Investment (SROI) which is the long term social impact in the community.

Key Findings

An ROI analysis of our re-entry program measuring project outcomes over a 3 year period for 750 adults found the following:
• Increase in tax revenue of $1,434,430
• Reduction in incarceration costs of $4,950,000
• Cost of all program services of $2,025,000
• Return of $3.15 for each dollar invested in CtS services

A Social Return on Investment occurred from the following results:

• Reduced number of ER visits
• Reduced court and probation/parole costs
• Increased home ownership
• Reduced foster care costs
• Reduced law enforcement costs
• Increased high school graduation
• Increased community safety


Transformation Stories

Participants Transform Their Lives for Themselves, Their Children and Future Generations