It’s Your Turn to Make a Difference: Here Are 7 Nonprofits Helping Women Break Out of Poverty

Posted on March 5, 2018

Did you know every March our country comes together to recognize and celebrate the historical impacts women have made on humankind?

Think about it. Of the important people in your life, how many are women?

Women have made an enormous impact on our country, our communities, and our families. From education to employment to the arts to athletics, their influence weaves through the fabric of our society (literally).

These great leaders are freedom fighters like Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, and Rosa Parks. They’re writers and poets like Maya Angelou, Louisa May Alcott, and Ayn Rand. They’re artists and fashion designers like Frida Kahlo, Coco Chanel, and Berthe Morisot. They’re business leaders and philanthropists like Wendy Copp, Oprah Winfrey, and Indra Noori. They’re scientists like Marie Curie and athletes like Mia Hamm.

We are grateful for these amazing women, and many more not mentioned in this post, who have made their mark, large and small, on history. They cared for others, pursued their passions, and broke down barriers for a more free and prosperous world.

History is bursting with female change-makers: women who overcame difficulty to activate change in their communities. Have you considered: 

Who will be tomorrow’s Harriet Tubman, Maya Angelou, or Rosa Parks?

Change-makers don’t have to be relegated to the past. The greatest figures in history were often first galvanized by hardship. And the data shows there’s plenty of hardship still facing women today, especially cyclical poverty. We believe that if you help women find self-sufficiency and financial freedom, it unleashes an unlimited potential of future change-makers.

That’s the “why”, now here’s the “how”:

This Women’s History Month, we be highlighting a few Catalyst organizations helping women break down monumental barriers, overcome obstacles, and change the trajectory of their own lives and those of their family. These organizations are fighting for and serving women.

Celebrate with us and help empower tomorrow’s change-makers across the country by supporting one, two, or all of them.

1. Women’s Bean Project

From the outside, Women’s Bean Project (WBP) may seem like a place to buy quality dry food such as bean soups, cookie mixes, and teas—which it certainly is—but inside you’ll find a different story. Founded in 1989, Women’s Bean Project provides stable jobs for chronically underemployed and often previously incarcerated women.

“Most of these women don’t even know anyone who has a job other than selling drugs, certainly not real full time employment,” said Tamra Ryan, CEO of Women’s Bean Project. “If you change a mother’s life, you change the life of a family.”

WBP brings in $1.2 million in annual revenue from customers like Amazon, Walmart, and, and the money goes towards women’s salaries, training, and career development. According to the organization, 100% of women who graduate from the program (6-9 months) end up finding a full-time job and keeping it.

What your money goes to:

  • $35 pays for one month of individualized career development
  • $50 pays for professional attire for 5 women to interview for a job
  • $100 pays for one month of basic computer training for 6 women

Support Women’s Bean Project.

2. Akola Project

The Bantu word “akola” is a noun that comes from southern Uganda and means “she works.” This word defines every part of the social enterprise Akola Project, a nonprofit fashionable jewelry brand founded in 2006 that gives “unemployable” women in Dallas and Uganda the employment opportunity to rise above the poverty line and provide adequate care for their dependents. Every dollar from product sales goes towards the mission and so far, the lives of over 500 women (and 4,000 dependents) have been permanently improved.

What your money goes to:

  • Counseling and emotional support
  • Education and business development training
  • Empowerment coaches and peer leadership
  • Financial literacy and savings programs
  • Goal setting workshops
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Local partnership development
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Village fellowship

Support Akola Project.

3. PEARLS for Teen Girls

In Milwaukee, many girls are navigating poverty, food and housing insecurity, struggling schools, high crime, and family distress. In 1993, a local founded PEARLS for Teen Girls. PEARLS is a self-development organization that helps girls learn social-emotional skills that prepare them to succeed in school, establish and maintain healthy personal relationships, nurture their own well-being and become self-sufficient engaged adults. PEARLS stands for the values that define its mission: Personal Responsibility, Empathy, Awareness, Respect, Leadership and Support.

In 2017, PEARLS served 1,618 girls. Over the last five years, 99.86% of PEARLS girls have avoided teen pregnancy. Among the high school seniors, 95.68% have graduated from high school in four years, and 95.43% of those graduates are on track for post-secondary success — far exceeding Milwaukee averages.

What your money goes to:

  • $1,500 for one year of programming for two PEARLS girls
  • $750 for one year of programming for one PEARLS girl
  • $500 to support goal achievement celebration for 20 PEARLS girls
  • $250 for a college tour or career readiness event
  • $100 for one semester of snacks for 15 PEARLS girls

Support PEARLS for Teen Girls.

4. Hope House of Colorado

Did you know 67 percent of teen moms live below the poverty line? As a result, many teen moms and their children are homeless, without a safe place to stay. In 2003, Hope House of Colorado opened a remarkable home with 12 bedrooms for single teen moms in Arvada, Colorado. The residential program grew into a GED and college-readiness program for teen moms. In 2017, the organization broke ground on a resource center that allows them to triple the number of teen moms served with services such as parenting classes, life skills counseling, financial literacy workshops, certified counseling, and more. For Christmas 2017, Hope House sponsored a Santa Shop event for 87 teen moms to provide gifts for their families.

“The world saw food stamps. Hope House saw a college education.”

What your money goes to:

  • $80 Counseling: One professional counseling session for a teen mom or child.
  • $79 Bus Pass: Purchase a one-month bus pass for a teen mom.
  • $125 GED Test: Cover the government fees for GED certification.
  • $50 Computer Needs: Help meet our computer, IT & software needs.
  • $25 Early Learning: Educational childcare.
  • $100 Glasses: Help a teen mom cover vision costs.
  • $500 New Tires: Self-sufficiency requires reliable transportation.
  • $30 First Job Needs: Prepare a teen mom for her first day of work.
  • $75/$300 Groceries: Feed a teen mom and her child.

Support Hope House of Colorado.

5. WiNGS

Poverty is on the rise in Dallas, and women face the highest risk. In Dallas County, approximately 286,000 women and girls live in poverty—that’s more than the entire city populations of Buffalo, NY or Corpus Christi, TX. WiNGS, a Dallas-based organization, is on a mission to drop that number by helping women break the chains of poverty and, as the name suggests, fly.

Since 1908, WiNGS has provided three core programs:

  1. Financial Empowerment: Women receive career training, learn job skills, and acquire a stabilizing personal finance system.
  2. Nurse-Family Partnership: First-time, low-income mothers are partnered with an educated nurse for two years to ensure a healthy pregnancy, safe birth, and healthy care for the growing family.
  3. Women’s Enterprise Center: WiNGS provides all the resources (capital, mentorship, support) to low-to-moderate income women to launch women-owned businesses. According to the website, 150 members enroll in WiNGS financial education each month.

“There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for helping women and families in poverty. WiNGS provides individualized solutions for change through one-on-one financial coaching, peer-learning groups, and nurse-family home visits.”

What your money goes to:

  • Women’s Health
  • Financial Empowerment
  • Nurse-Family Partnership
  • Women’s Enterprise

Support WiNGS.

6. Jeremiah Program

When families break apart, poverty can rush in and overwhelm a single mom with hungry dependents, forcing them to rely on public assistance. In 1993, Michael J. O’Connell saw this problem and founded Jeremiah Program in Minneapolis to fix it. Jeremiah Program provides a career-track college education for single moms and a combination of early childhood education, housing, and life skills training for families to find a path out of poverty, two generations at a time.

The results are exciting. The average annual income of graduates from the past five years is $47,609 and 88% of children in Jeremiah’s Child Development Centers perform above age-appropriate developmental benchmarks.

With five additional campuses in Austin, TX, Boston, MA, Fargo, ND, Moorhead, MN, and Rochester, NY, Jeremiah Program is expanding across the nation under the leadership of Gloria Perez, President & CEO.

What your money goes to:

  • Single-mom family housing
  • Training classes
  • Supportive community
  • Child development

Donate to Jeremiah Program now.

7. Youth Guidance – Working on Womanhood.

The presence of trusted, caring adults has a profound impact in the lives of youth. Youth Guidance (YG) intercedes in the lives of at-risk youth with stable adult relationships, social emotional learning tools, and hope for a future. YG started in 1924 to serve at-risk girls with housing assistance, clothing, medical care, legal services, educational opportunities, and more. It’s since developed into a leading in youth programming founded upon an outcomes-driven and evidence-based approach that has served over 10,000 youth and hundreds more parents.

Youth Guidance’s Working on Womanhood (WOW) program addresses the low self-esteem, emotional trauma, and other barriers preventing teenage girls from dreaming of and achieving lifelong prosperity. The program emphasizes five core values: self-awareness, emotional intelligence, healthy relationships, visionary goal-setting, and leadership.

YG is based in Chicago and operates additional programs, including one for young men, Becoming a Man (BAM), with remarkable results.

What your money goes to:

  • Workforce development programs for students
  • Increased access to social services, including academic support and supplementary educational programs
  • School-based counseling
  • Resource and support for families

Donate to Youth Guidance now.