Defeating generational poverty

Meeting a complicated challenge

At Shepherd, we do life with our neighbors, and see their felt needs first-hand. Some causes of poverty are systemic, and others are situational, but all restrict people’s ability to navigate life. Breaking down our preconceived notions and cultural blind-spots is key to achieving real impact in the lives of neighbors living in generational poverty.


Building assets for holistic change

As we grow in our understanding of generational poverty, we know that there is no quick fix. Throwing money at the complexity of cultural and systemic issues isn’t enough. That’s why our relationship-based model focuses on ten key assets that we’ve found are essential for breaking the cycle of generational poverty.

1. Faith in a personal God who provides purpose and guidance is foundational for hope.

2. Physical health and mobility are key to functioning at school, at work, and within social networks.

3. Relationships provide critical help in times of need, stress, and crisis.

4. Emotional control enables healthy responses to negative circumstances and challenge.

5. Mental acuity in academic skills and critical thinking supports good decision-making.

6. Identifying with stable adults that model stability, planning, and perseverance promotes growth.

7. Self-advocacy—the belief that you can question the status quo and pursue your dreams—empowers change.

8. Knowledge of dominant, mainstream culture helps people succeed and get things done in work and life.

9. Future-orientation supports long-term planning, life-long learning, and perseverance.

10. The money to provide for basic needs such as housing, food, and healthcare is foundational for escaping generational poverty.


The heart of what we do

At Shepherd, our team members and volunteers are deeply committed to a set of core values that define our attitude toward the families we serve.


You can help break the cycle of poverty.