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Nature and Purpose

LIFT was founded in the fall of 1998 by two Yale University students. It was established as a single center within a neighborhood where families could receive assistance from trained volunteers across a spectrum of social services. LIFT’s mission is to help community members achieve economic stability and well-being. It works to establish a new standard for holistic and enduring solutions in our country’s fight against poverty.

Clients are paired one-on-one with a volunteer, who they meet with consistently, week to week. Through this individualized and personalized relationship, clients are assisted in the areas that most support their potential and inherent dignity. These include finding jobs, securing housing, obtaining public benefits, providing an education for their children and making connections with other social service agencies.

LIFT works in several cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, and Boston. Since 1998, it has worked with nearly 100,000 people (are) who have committed to lifting themselves out of poverty.


PULSE students will be paired one-on-one with multiple clients that they will form a consistent relationship with throughout the year. They will meet with these clients weekly, providing personalized assistance to help community members to find jobs, secure housing, enroll in public benefits, and obtain referrals for services like childcare and healthcare. Students will also attend trainings that address local and national poverty issues.