CAB 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 101 online course

  • 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.