On organizational letterhead. . .
November 14, 2004
Mr. Bob Vickers, Executive Director
The Robert J. Vickers Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Dear Mr. Vickers:
Greetings! The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections/relationships.
We face a critical problem in our society... poverty and hopelessness–especially among women!
More than one-fifth of all the children in the United States live in a home headed by a single mother and account for the largest number of people from a single group living in poverty within our society. The poverty rate for female-headed families has remained above 35% since 1959. With rising divorce rates and more children being birthed outside of marriage, the percentage of single parent households headed by mothers may begin to rise.
Some of the main problems faced by these women include unemployment, lower than average educational attainment, and a lack of knowledge of community resources that can help empower themselves for any change. Often these women and their families end up dependent on extended family, government subsidies, or the last resort, homeless. National research has shown that problems must be addressed in conjunction with multiple factor areas that a single mother faces. Successful programs include components of mentoring, educational and life skill training, involvement in positive activities, long range goal planning, resume development, job search and interview skills, as-well-as abstinence training. Pregnancy and/or sexual activity must be addressed as one part of the issues in the teen mother's life not as the only factor.
While the statistics seem overwhelming, the solution is fairly simple: Equipping women to succeed. Moving women from dependency to self-sufficiency has been our initiative for more than five years. In fact, Martha’s Women’s Ministries was created to assist and empower these women to move from a life of dependency to a life of self-sufficiency. Martha’s Women’s Ministries empowers women by resourcing them as they move from homeless to homeowner, from unemployment to full-time employment, from financial dependence on others to financial independence. Our program meets women where they are, where they live, and what their needs are. Martha’s Women’s Ministries maintains seventy-five sites in more than thirty states throughout the United States. Since 1959, we’ve served more than 90,000 women. Listen to these quotes from some of our graduates:
• "I’ve learned responsibility and a whole new way of life... I learned it at Martha’s Women’s Ministries..."
• "I want other women to know there is hope."
• "Martha’s Women’s Ministries helped me to find myself and to find purpose again.
• "Martha’s Women’s Ministries is definitely the highlight of my life right now."
Women need and want help–more and more, they are turning to Martha’s Women’s Ministries.
While all sites are required to incorporate key program elements, each site is allowed to vary in the specific methods it employs. This flexibility allows our program to meet the unique needs of the women and communities it serves. Every Martha’s Women’s Ministries program incorporates eight key elements. These elements include:
1. Assessing the unique needs of each community and participant it serves.
2. Providing a mentor for every participant and enhancing the value of these relationships.
3. Requiring a covenant-type committment between the mentor and participant.
4. Aiding participants in networking.
5. Developing an advisory council for each site to provide overall effectiveness and stability.
6. Providing certification training for various elements.
7. Giving individual participant evaluations.
8. Organizing Bible studies and other personal growth and development groups.
Through these eight elements, Martha’s Women’s Ministries creates a context in which women help women. Our program serves to transform women from dependency to self-sufficiency by meeting them where they live, addressing their individual need, and training them to take control of their lives. Once women gain a level of independence, they are expected to then give back to their communities by becoming a part of our program, serving other women in need.
Our plan is not only in place, but it is in progress. Our goal at this time is to provide enhanced services to the seventy-five communities we currently serve and to expand our program into more than 75 new cities–to help women in more than 150 cities throughout the United States! You can help take our plan to the next level. Would you please fund this crucial program as soon as possible? We are respectfully submitting this proposal to you and asking you to consider helping us provide this program to an important part of our society.
Thank you for considering our request. The hope of its’ approval is a boost to us. I am eager to discuss this proposal with you. If you have any concerns, if there is a need for additional materials to be filled out, if I can answer any questions to facilitate this process, or if I can meet and discuss this proposal with you, please call me at (660) 747-6390.
I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce Martha’s Women’s Ministries and its exciting ministry to you. Please accept my sincere "thanks" for your role in resolving the problem of poverty and your willingness to support our innovative approach to this problem. I hope you share my excitement about the potential for our plan to have even greater impact on the lives of women and their families. I am excited to establish a partnership that will bear much fruit.
Lisa Livengood, National Director
Martha’s Women’s Ministries
Martha’s Women’s Ministries
Vision and Mission Statement:
Martha’s Women’s Ministries exists to provide a Christian context to empower women in need to be equipped for life, employment, and a mission’s context providing women to help women.
We bring hope to the lives of women and their families by enabling women to move from dependency to self-sufficiency through programs designed to meet the needs of women and prepare them for employment in their community. Martha’s Women’s Ministries is distinguishable from other job readiness programs in that each woman is involved in a Bible study and is also matched with a trained Christian woman who will be her mentor as she travels the road from dependency to self-sufficiency. The dynamics of our mission are:
• To provide quality functions, service, and resources to mentor, coach, encourage, and equip women.
• To increase return on dollars invested toward building self-sufficient Christian women and families.
• To increase the efficiency of dollars spent on programming enhancing lives of women and children.
Target Market and Geographic Area Served:
Martha’s Women’s Ministries maintains a national office and seventy-five sites in more than half the states in the United States. Last year, we served 10,000 women–85% of them were on some type of government assistance and were well below the poverty line. All women are accepted to the program as long as they do not have life issues that would prevent them from securing a job. Persons with needs that cannot be met by a Martha’s Women’s Ministries program such as learning English or a drug addiction are referred to programs that can help them.
One in six children in the U.S. lives in poverty according to the Children’s Defense Fund. Many of these children and family members of Martha’s Women’s Ministries participants. In family-oriented as well as child-specific programs, children of all ages are mentored while discovering avenues of prevention and intervention as we attempt to help break the family cycle of poverty.
Two under-served populations of women in the U.S. are now targets of specialized programs. Behind and Beyond Bars is an eighteen months program of work with women in prison six months prior to their release continuing into the first year of their parole. Women in the adult entertainment industry are also being given hope and a future through various Martha’s Women’s Ministries programs.
Martha’s Women’s Ministries is a 501( c)(3), nonprofit organization incorporated in Missouri in 1959 and is governed by a National Board of Directors of seven (see Page 6). See attached 501 (c)(3).
Mrs. Lisa Livengood, National Director (660) 747-6390
Martha’s Women’s Ministries E-mail: llivengood@martha’s.org
P.O. Box 1225 Website: www.martha’s.org
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Financial Request and Purpose:
The needs of an expanding organization like ours are overwhelming. Our current and immediate needs are such that we are asking you for a grant of $20,000 toward our general operating budget.
TOTAL AMOUNT REQUESTED: $ 20,000
Evaluation and Accountability:
The goals of Martha’s Women’s Ministries are measured in lives changed. Our success depends on the success of those we serve. We are confronted with an enormous task of moving millions of women from dependency to self-sufficiency. The progress and effectiveness of Martha’s Women’s Ministries will be determined by ongoing analysis and oversight of staff, advisors, city-specific Board Members, and our National Board of Directors. Because we are committed to integrity, we are willing to complete any reasonable evaluative measure that is requested.
Martha’s Women’s Ministries
Of all family groups, poverty is highest among those headed by single women with children under 18 years, especially if they are African American or Hispanic. Such families are much more likely to be poor than other families with children or families with aged members. The poverty rate for female-headed families has remained above 35% since 1959. In 1998, 38.7 % of such families were poor, compared with 8.5% of families in which males were present. With rising divorce rates and more women having children outside of marriage, single parent households headed by mothers continue to be a growing segment of families. Some of the main problems faced by these women include unemployment and lower average educational attainment. Often these women and their families end up dependent on extended family, government subsidies, or homeless.
Since the implementation of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 individual U.S. states are boasting of large numbers of persons exiting their welfare roles. Those left have special needs or are the "hard-core" who may be unemployable. At the same time the number of women in the adult entertainment industry as well as the number of homeless women has increased. Many who did complete welfare-to-work programs were able to secure jobs with low pay and no benefits. Self-sufficiency is still an elusive goal to many women and their families in America!
According to an article by Rebecca Brown published by the Welfare Information Network, December 2000, women are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. prison population. In 1999 about 53,600 state and federal prisoners were mothers with children below age 18, compared with 29,500 in 1991. Incarcerated women with minor children comprise the majority of women in prison (65 percent in federal prisons and 59 percent in state prisons). While some prisons are experimenting with "honor dorms" for men soon to be paroled, there is no program like Martha’s Women’s Ministries: Behind and Beyond Bars to prepare women for life and employment beyond their release.
Women in the adult entertainment industry have unions to protect their rights, but with few exceptions, lack access to holistic ministry programs dedicated to meeting their needs, helping them realize their goals, and empowering them to become self-sufficient. Martha’s Women’s Ministries is uniquely qualified to meet the needs of these and other "women in need."
Our solution to bringing women and families out of poverty is to empower women to help themselves. Martha’s Women’s Ministries seeks to equip women to obtain and sustain success in their work and in their lives. We empower women by resourcing them as they move from homeless to homeowner, from unemployment to full-time employment, from dependence on government subsidies to financial independence. As women progress through the program they gain skills empowering them to change their lives with the expectation that they in turn will serve others in their community.
Our programs transform women from dependency to self-sufficiency.
Long before "welfare reform" became a frequent topic of conversation, Woman’s Missionary Union had a vision. Leaders dreamed of empowering women trapped in the cycle of poverty by providing them a hand up and not a hand out. The Martha’s Women’s Ministries began with intentionally geographically, ethnically, and organizationally diverse pilot projects. Through these pilot projects individual community needs were evaluated and addressed. Today Martha’s Women’s Ministries is located in cities throughout the United States, meeting women in need where they live and empowering them to take control of their lives and futures. Our vision to train woman as ministry leaders is strong today. Recognizing the desire of Baby Boomers, Busters, and Gen X for "hands-on" involvement in making a difference in someone else’s life, Martha’s Women’s Ministries is tailor-made to meet women’s needs while providing the opportunity for women to minister to women.
Martha’s Women’s Ministries continues to expand its reach by improving the effectiveness of current sites while developing new sites in non-serviced cities. Martha’s Women’s Ministries programs are as varied as the geographical locations where they reside. This diversity enables each site to identify and actively address the unique needs of the people and community it was established to serve. In the midst of such diversity, each site remains committed to the overall vision and mission of Martha’s Women’s Ministries.
Nationally, Martha’s Women’s Ministries is committed to providing the best training, support, and resources possible to strengthen and expand this vital ministry. Foundational to each aspect of Martha’s Women’s Ministries are the eight key elements.
1. Advisory council–a policy-making resource and general governing body.
2. Bible study–an opportunity for each woman to grow understanding of personal faith in Jesus Christ.
3. Certification training–an intense event preparing women to begin/lead their own group.
4. Covenants–written agreements of goals and plans between participant-program-mentor.
5. Evaluations–conducted with participants/ministry to facilitate improvement/individual achievement.
6. Mentors–trained women provide support, guidance, and accountability to each participant.
7. Needs assessments–conducted in communities and with women during intake to determine needs.
8. Networking–vital for director as she collaborates with others in meeting program/participant goals.
Project Goals and Objectives:
Everything at Martha’s Women’s Ministries program does is intended to empower a woman to these goals:
Goal #1: Begin and/or grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Objective: Through weekly Bible studies and on-going contact with caring Christians to provide opportunities to women to realize their self-worth as seen through Christ’s eyes.
Goal #2: Complete Martha’s Women’s Ministries program. Objective: Fulfill the requirements for attendance and participation for the prescribed duration of the training program.
Goal #3: Attain self-sufficiency. Objective: By adequately utilizing the life skills and job-readiness training received during Martha’s Women’s Ministries training the woman will secure and maintain employment with benefits for at least six months.
Goal #4: Give back to other women through the Martha’s Women’s Ministries program. Objective: No one is ready to graduate from the program until they have found an acceptable way to come full circle in her involvement with the ministry, i.e. mentoring, caring for children, assisting in the office, participating in a speaker’s bureau, or helping teach a class.
Budget and Request:
As detailed in the Budget on Page 5, the current needs of Martha’s Women’s Ministries for expanding current site ministries while establishing new sites are $ . This includes costs of carrying out all aspects of the program from general office expenses to administration to start-up costs for new sites. We are seeking your partnership in the ever-growing ministry of Martha’s Women’s Ministries. We respectfully request a grant with the remaining money to be funded by other individuals, local, state, and national sources. Your grant would allow us to resource many of the existing sites currently servicing women in need as well as our strategic planning of new site development.
The program is on-going and in full development and implementation at this time. Further planning and development will commence with the receipt of funding commitments.