Bridges Out of Poverty Tools and Resources

full bike rack

Tools to continue your learning

All of the following books are available through Aha Process Inc., a Ruby Payne companyBridges out of Poverty AHA Process Inc logo.

Bridges out of Poverty book covers including a framework for understanding poverty: A Cognitive Approach, Bridges out of Poverty fifth edition, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin'-By World, Bridges to Sustainable Communities, and Bridges Across Every Divide.

Visit the website of Ruby K. Payne, an author of Bridges Out of Poverty.


The 11 Bridges Resources


Bridges out of Poverty Mental Model for remembering the 11 Essential Resources


Mental Model of Resources

In Bridges, we define poverty/long term instability as the extent to which an individual does without 11 essential resources. Once built, through the work of the individual and the support of a coaching relationship, we have a stronger foundation of stability for long term success.

Bridges also uses mental models to describe how something might be or work. Mental models help us to process and remember things. The hand model is a mental model of the 11 essential resources for stability. The 8 resources within the hand (hidden rules, spiritual, health, mental, emotional, financial, social capital, and relationships and role models) were determined by service providers/authors of the Bridges out of Poverty framework. An additional 3 (integrity and trust, motivation and persistence, and language) were identified and added to the 8 by individuals experience poverty through the "Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World" Program. This is what makes Bridges such a powerful  framework in that the model was built in partnership with the people we serve with lived experience - not for them - in order to support long term life stabilization together. 

11 Essential Resources Defined

 Money to purchase goods and services.
 Ability to control emotional responses.
 Mental capability to deal with daily life.
 Language/Formal Register
 Ability to use appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
 Social Capital and Support Systems
 Friends, family and other resources to help.
 Physical health and mobility.
 A belief in divine purpose and guidance.
 Integrity and Trust
 Trust, predictability and safety.
 Motivation and Persistence
 Energy, drive and planning.
 Relationships and Role Models
 Access to people who consistently behave appropriately and are nurturing.
 Knowledge of Hidden Rules
 Know unspoken cues and behaviours of different groups.

Bridges out of Poverty Model

Philanthropy, Policy and Quality of Life

The Bridges out of Poverty Model is a foundational framework to move from instability and poverty to long-term resource stability. The model is wrapped around 3 core approaches: Giving Back, Staying Ahead and Getting Ahead. These approaches are applied to 3 key groups: Individual, Community and Institutional with activities that happen in each group related to the core approaches. The Model uses an evaluation and designated outcome method throughout the process with each key group.

Constructs and Language


Everyone at the planning table eliminating barriers

 Giving Back

Resourced individuals:

  • Attain critical mass of resources

Under-resourced individuals:

  • Staying ahead development and data

 Staying Ahead

Resourced individuals:

  • Training certification

Under-resourced individuals:

  • How much of yourself do you own?
  • Financial literacy
 Getting Ahead

Resourced individuals:

  • Bridges training

Under-resourced individuals:

  • Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin'-by World training


Succession planning and endowments

 Giving Back
  •  Institution to institution
  • Planning for growth and stability
 Staying Ahead
  • Sector involvement
  • Barrier identification
  • Community future story
 Getting Ahead
Steering Committee:
  • Selection
  • Training
  • Guidelines


Leadership development and long-term funding sources

 Giving Back
  • Return on investment and partnerships
 Staying Ahead
  • Case management
  • Policy and procedure changes
 Getting Ahead
  • Board selection
  • Institutional training

Creating a Bridges Community in Peterborough

Blue tinted picture of a bridge from a left perspective.
Individual Lens
  • Bridges out of Poverty training for all staff (fosters understanding of societal lenses for improved relationships)
  • Bridges certified trainer for  our agency and community partners  – building critical mass of understanding across partnerships for mutual participants
  • Getting Ahead workshop for those wishing to exit poverty
  • Staying Ahead for all GA grads to build 11 essential resources for long term stability and job retention
  • Financial literacy programs
Blue tinted photo of a bridge from central perspective.
Community Lens
  • Private sector engagement in Bridges training– employers, landlords, banks
  • Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World – referrals from community partners
  • Staying Ahead monthly workshops –building 11 resources for stability in collaboration with our trained Community Partners (guest speakers)
  • Workplace Stability workshops for local employers in partnership with our Employment Ontario offices
  • Continue to share implementation strategies and learn from each other  (hosting bi-annual community of practice meetings for all trained community partners)
Blue tinted photo of a bridge with a right sided perspective
Institutional Lens
  • Certifying a trainer for our entire organization (with mandatory bi- annual refresher).
  • Adapt the way we communicate – (letters, forms, marketing material revised).
  • Respond to participants in the moment (drop in case-manager at  reception)
  • Resist being the ‘expert’  (participant advisory group established).
  • Participant feedback/input cards throughout office.
  • Recruitment and New Hire Orientation process.
  • Workshop re-vamping to match populations we are serving = significant  increased attendance.
  • Shifting from traditional “case-management” to “Life Stabilization coaching” by building the 11 essential resources for stability with participants through a coaching relationship.
  • Striving to become a ‘people centered’ culture at all levels of the organization.