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Poverty 101 and Working More Effectively with Students and Families in Poverty


Donna M. Beegle, Ed.D. is a highly experienced National public speaker, discussion leader, trainer, and the author of “See Poverty, Be The Difference,” a resource book for professionals who work with people in poverty.

Donna has worked and written articles providing insights and strategies for communicating more effectively across race, class, gender and generational barriers for 17 years. Donna’s inspiring story and work have been featured in newspapers around the nation, on local TV and on National programs such as PBS. Her work on poverty is being featured in a documentary titled: "Invisible Nation" this Fall Her personal history and her studies of communication, poverty, gender, and education make her uniquely qualified to work with organizations and individuals working to improve the lives of people living in poverty.

Donna is the only member of her family who has not been incarcerated. After growing up in generational migrant labor poverty, leaving school for marriage at 15, having two children and continuing to cope with poverty, she found herself, at 25, with no husband, little education, and no job skills. What followed in 10 short years were: self-confidence, a G.E.D., an A.A. in Journalism, a B.A. (with honors) in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Communication with a minor in Gender Studies (with honors), and completion of a Doctorate Degree.

Donna completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Portland State University in 2000, where she taught speech communication courses for eight years. She is currently president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm devoted to improving communication and relationships. Donna is also founder and CEO of the new nonprofit, PovertyBridge, which is dedicated to changing lives for people in poverty.




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Center for Learning Connections, Kent WA 98198-9800, 206.870.5912