Skip to content

Welcome to Copper Shores Bridges

Empowerment. Stability. Community.

Coming to Baraga County, August 2024!

Copper Shores Community Health Foundation is excited to announce the expansion of its Bridges program to Baraga County. Beginning in August, Bridges will offer its introductory class, Getting Ahead, on Wednesday evenings. Applications are due Friday, July 19, 2024.

PODCAST: From struggle to strength

In the latest episode of the Copper Shores Podcast, listen in as Danielle Thoune, a recent graduate of Getting Ahead, a Bridges Out of Poverty class, tells her life story and how she found herself face-to-face with the realities of poverty. 



Focusing on individuals and systems

Empowering our community across all economic classes

Copper Shores Bridges is an initiative utilizing frameworks created and updated regularly by aha! Process. The program is for residents of Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Our Community Needs This

Many hardworking people across the country struggle in poverty to make ends meet despite being employed. When people live paycheck-to-paycheck, they are one flat tire, one burnt out lightbulb or one broken bone from not paying rent, not putting food on the table or not making utility payments on time.

These people are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed, or ALICE. This means that ALICE populations live above the Federal Poverty Line, but do not make above the Household Survival Budget, which includes housing, childcare, food, transportation, healthcare, basic technology (like a smartphone and phone plan), and miscellaneous payments like taxes.

The reality is that observing the Federal Poverty Line alone does not show the full picture of living in poverty in the United States, and certainly not on a community level. ALICE offers a broader view of those struggling with poverty, and without that full understanding, solutions for ALICE cannot be made.

Map of Alice and Poverty in Copper Country

Getting Ahead

The signature program of Copper Shores Bridges is this 16-week program meant to help individuals who are sick and tired of being sick and tired improve stability. This is completely free to participants.


In the free Bridges workshops we educate our community about the complexities of poverty and demonstrate that working together we can make an economic impact on individuals, institutions and our community.

Money Matters

Money Matters is designed to help investigators take an in-depth and personal look at finances. Investigators will discover all about ways to become more financially stable. 

Latest News and Updates about Bridges

July 31, 2023

Podcast: Getting Ahead From the Eye of an Investigator

Copper Shores Bridges is underway, and the first Investigators have graduated from the Getting Ahead program. Cheyenne, a graduate of the first ...
June 14, 2023

VIDEO: Getting Ahead Graduation Ceremony May 2023

Relive the magic of the first Getting Ahead Graduation Ceremony for Copper Shores Bridges! The event celebrated eight individuals who live in ...
October 12, 2022

Steber tapped to lead Bridges Out of Poverty program

After more than three decades in the education field, Mike Steber has been hired as the Bridges Out of Poverty Coordinator at Portage Health ...

Subscribe for email updates!

The story of Bridges Copper Country is just beginning. The journey will feature moments of brilliance, pain, joy and most importantly, growth. If you’re interested in following along, learning how you can participate or simply show your support to those yearning for stability, we invite you to subscribe to our email list. We’ll update you regularly with what we have going on. 

Copper Shores Bridges Staff


Meet the Copper Shores Bridges Staff

Mary Jo Munch - Featured Image

Mary Jo Munch

Grants Manager / Program Coordinator
Michael Steber - Featured Image

Michael Steber

Program Director - Copper Shores Bridges
Kevin Store - Featured Image

Kevin Store

President / CEO

Copper Shores Bridges Steering Committee

The Bridges program is led by an advisory committee of people from around Michigan's Copper Country. They meet regularly throughout the year with staff to provide advice and guidance for the program's operations. 

  • Richelle Dube - AmercInn Calumet
  • Pastor Aaron Gehrke – St. Peter and Paul Church
  • Erin Haapala - Gardenview
  • Tim Keteri – Adams Township School District
  • Robert La Fave – Village of L’Anse
  • Michael Messner – Calumet Electronics
  • Curt Pennala – Keweenaw County Sheriff
  • Jeff Ratcliffe – Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance
  • Joshua Saaranen – Houghton County Sheriff
  • Sam Stonelake – Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance
  • Heather Store – Calumet Electronics
  • Koni Turunen – Upper Great Lakes Family HealthCenter
If you are interested in volunteering as a steering committee member, email or call 1 (906) 523-5920!
aha processes logo

About aha! Process

aha! Process is an award-winning training and publishing company providing workshops, publications, and consulting services to help improve lives and build sustainable success in communities, schools, and higher education. They do this by creating an understanding of the dynamics that cause and maintain poverty from the individual to systems level.

Poverty, middle class, and wealth are about an abundance or lack of resources. Our work helps individuals, businesses, students, and communities build resources for a more successful sustainable future. Learn more about them at

Support Copper Shores Bridges

This program wouldn't be possible without the financial support of our community. We hope you consider making a donation to help individuals find stability in their lives.