Communication Across Barriers

Since 1989, Communication Across Barriers (CAB), a national and international gold standard consulting firm has been serving professionals and entire communities on breaking the cycle of poverty in America. Dr. Donna Beegle…poverty expert, life-changing speaker, and recognized author launched the company to provide meaningful, memorable and realistic strategies for individuals, organizations and communities that want to make a real difference in moving and keeping people out of poverty. Our team provides keynote presentations, trainings (in-person and on-line) from two hours to four days, organizational assessments, customized action planning, community development and educational materials. CAB-produced resources include books, learning guides, articles, research, organized games and activities, as well as custom-designed curriculum available to all organizations we work with. CAB, under the passionate commitment of Dr. Beegle, is dedicated to broadening and improving opportunities for people who live in the war zone of poverty and to assist communities and organizations to “fight poverty, not the people who live in it.” (Dr. Beegle)

Our Mission

Communication Across Barriers, Inc., is dedicated to broadening and improving opportunities for all people who live in the war zone of poverty.

Our far-reaching goals are:

  • Assist people living in the crisis of poverty to move out and to stay out of poverty. We provide education and tools to remove the shame, rebuild the confidence and hope, reduce the isolation, and assist people to the education and skills needed to earn a living.
  • Empower communities and organizations to “fight poverty, not the people who live in it.” We illuminate real and structural causes of poverty and provide life-changing information that shatters common myths and stereotypes about people who live in poverty.
  • Offer research-based strategies and insider perspectives for improving relationships, communication, and opportunities.
  • Develop an army of speakers and trainers who can educate and assist organizations in becoming poverty informed.
  • Provide models and step-by-step programs that increase a poverty-informed, community-wide approach to fighting poverty.
  • Educate and engage people who are not in poverty with tools and avenues for making a difference in their own communities.

Our History

In 1989, Dr. Bob Fulford (a significant mentor to Donna Beegle) learned that Donna's brother, Wayne, was in prison and asked if he could visit him. On that visit, the Superintendent shared that his organization was struggling with the impacts of poverty on people in prison. Dr. Fulford told the Superintendent that he and Donna could develop trainings that would improve communication and relationships across poverty and race barriers. Dr. Fulford was teaching at the University of Portland and one class that was particularly relevant was called “Communication Across Barriers.” Dr. Fulford asked Donna if she would like to start a consulting business with him. Donna was working on her Master's degree in Communication at the time. She said yes! Dr. Fulford asked her what title she would like and jokingly she replied, “president.”

The next time Donna saw Dr. Fulford, he had business cards that listed her as President and him as Vice President. He had filed for a business license in the name of Communication Across Barriers and had secured their first contract with the State of Oregon Department of Corrections. Dr. Fulford and Donna developed a 10-week curriculum that included a series of videos, workbooks, and facilitator guidebooks for improving communication and relationships across poverty barriers. Communication Across Barriers was born!

Dr. Fulford died of a heart attack in 2000. His wisdom and knowledge continue to guide Donna and the Communication Across Barriers team as they develop life changing strategies, trainings, and materials for improving communication, relationships, and outcomes for people living in the war zone of poverty.


Communication Across Barriers grew from a small two-person partnership into a national and international gold standard consulting firm. We assist organizations and communities who want to improve outcomes for people living in poverty. Our team provides a variety of tools, trainings and opportunities to make a difference, including:

  • Keynote presentations
  • Workshops
  • Poverty and Coaching Institutes
  • Poverty Competency assessments
  • Customized action planning tools
  • Books, articles, research, and other educational materials
  • Informative, free newsletter
  • Resource-focused website

The programs of Communication Across Barriers include the Opportunity Community Model (OC Model) for youth and adults living in poverty. The OC Model Navigator/Neighbor program matches trained citizens who are not in poverty with citizens who are in poverty. CAB also recently developed the Gold Star speaker program to meet the growing need for addressing poverty impacts in communities.

Our Staff

  • Dr. Donna M. Beegle (President)
  • Charles Forbes (Vice President of Technology)
  • Debbie Ellis (Chief Operating Officer / Curriculum Developer)
  • Elia Moreno (National Program Director)
  • Gabriella Okken (Executive Assistant)
  • Wayne Austin (Shipping)