A Wider Circle was founded in 2001 by Dr. Mark Bergel. After volunteering to deliver food to impoverished residents in the Washington D.C. area, he was startled by the depth of poverty, poor health, and general inequalities he witnessed in the region.
With no seed money but a strong conviction that he could do better for those living in poverty – that he could end it – Mark decided to drop everything else in his life and converted his living room into a nonprofit office. He founded A Wider Circle with the mission of helping children and adults lift themselves out of poverty. His goal was to create an organization that would address “the whole person” – with programs that would not only tend to people’s tangible needs but also to their “inner needs.”
Using donated furniture and a handful of dedicated volunteers and health professionals, A Wider Circle furnished the homes of 774 children and adults and delivered 33 educational workshops at local shelters in its first year of service. He met with social workers, shelter managers, school personnel, and nonprofit leaders in the region, exploring how to best reverse the trends of more people getting into poverty than finding a path out of it. Interns from local universities – and soon universities from across the country – joined the team each season. With each passing year, the organization became a larger and larger part of the solution.
Today, the mission of A Wider Circle is to end poverty through on-the-ground programs and services, as well as through the development of large-scale solutions to its root causes. Their holistic approach focuses on the creation of stable homes; workforce development; neighborhood revitalization; and the creation of greater awareness and engagement by the community, as a whole.
There is a sentiment in our country that if people have nothing, they should be happy to get anything. A Wider Circle does not see it that way. They believe that if people have nothing, they have already gotten the worst in life. Now, it is time to give them the best. A Wider Circle provides to individuals and families transitioning out of homelessness, fleeing domestic abuse, or otherwise living without the essentials of life. For many, A Wider Circle is the only resource for turning empty spaces into stable and dignified homes.
A Wider Circle’s efforts focus on the creation of stable homes, workforce development, neighborhood revitalization, and the creation of greater awareness and engagement by the community, as a whole. A Wider Circle says no to nobody! Anyone in need of help can find it here. In addition to all of the individuals and families that call A Wider Circle, more than 500 government, social service, and nonprofit agencies regularly contact them for help in serving their clients.
Today, A Wider Circle operates out of a 38,000 square-foot center, which it purchased in May 2015. The organization has 60 staff members, 15 university interns, and more than 30,000 volunteers each year. It is their energy and commitment that allows A Wider Circle to now furnish the homes of more than 16,000 children and adults each year and deliver educational programs to thousands of men, women, and children.
Our $1,000 donation will help support several families with home goods and furnishings. Please help us support this Best Ever Cause by following the link below. Any donation is appreciated!