Donna Beegle addresses poverty from experience

April 19, 2024

Dr. Donna Beegle

Dr. Donna Beegle

Donna Beegle will appear at Lamar State College Port Arthur to present her first-hand experience with poverty and how her story has led her to help people across the country.

The event will take place on Friday, April 19, 2024 at LSCPA's Sam and Linda Monroe Performing Arts Center's Main Theater, 1500 Procter Street, Port Arthur, starting at 9 a.m.

Donna Beegle grew up in generational, migrant-labor poverty and was essentially homeless the first 26 years of her life. She is the only member of her family who has not been incarcerated. At 15, she left school to get married and start a family.

But, at 25, she found herself with two children, no husband, little education, few marketable job skills, and no access to affordable housing. With the help of Community Action and mentors, she received stable housing and was able to achieve her GED and—10 years later—her doctorate in
educational leadership. She focused her studies and research on understanding poverty impacts and solutions for assisting children and adults to move out and stay out of the crisis of poverty.

All these experiences provide Dr. Beegle with an authentic voice with which to speak, write, and train across the nation to break the iron cage of poverty. 
Dr. Beegle brings an insider perspective combined with 34 years of working with communities in all 50 states to improve outcomes for our neighbors living in the crisis of poverty. As president of Communication Across Barriers, a consulting firm dedicated to building poverty-informed communities that are armed with tools to break barriers, Dr. Beegle has designed models and curriculum to directly impact people currently in poverty, as well as professionals who want to make a difference for children and adults living in poverty. She works directly with children and adults currently in poverty, as well as professionals who want to make a difference. Dr. Beegle works with social service, housing, educators, justice professionals, health care providers, and communities across the nation who want to assist people of all races in moving out and staying out of the war zone of poverty. Dr. Beegle is also the founder of the Opportunity Community movement, which provides the structure and foundation for communities to work together in new ways to break poverty barriers.
Her inspiring story and work have been featured on CNN and PBS and in publications around the nation. Dr. Beegle has authored four books and training curriculum sets, including “See Poverty...Be the Difference,” “An Action Approach for Educating Students in Poverty,” “Breaking Poverty Barriers to Equal Justice,” and “If Not Me, Then Who? Empowering Our Neighbors.” Dr. Beegle has won numerous awards including Speaker of the Year for the New Mexico Bar Foundation, Woman of Influence for Portland Business Association, Oregon Ethics in Business award, the Telly Award for her poverty-informed work on the Opportunity Knock$ series that helps families get out of poverty, and she was selected as a Woodrow Wilson Princeton Fellow. In addition, she has had two classrooms in the Portland State University School of Social Work named in her honor for the work she has done to change lives for youth and adults in poverty. Her favorite quote is “I know too much to be silent.”