With a theme this year of going from good to great, the Jeremiah Program is benefitting from support from the Opus Foundation®. The nonprofit offers a two-generational approach for single mothers and their children to eliminate poverty and move into a life of economic independence. Jeremiah’s holistic approach includes safe and affordable housing, career-track college education, empowerment and life skills training and quality early childhood.
In 2014, the Foundation awarded the Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization with a $30,000 Impact Fund grant for the Jeremiah Works workforce development initiative. Funds were used to evaluate the program and develop a concrete plan to improve outcomes. Then, in December 2015, a $40,000 Impact Fund grant was awarded to allow Jeremiah to implement those quality improvements to the program.
Prior to the evaluation in 2014, moms began the Jeremiah Works program six months before their college graduation. The program pairs participants with mentors who help determine their post-graduation needs and assist them with the transition. The evaluation revealed that six months wasn’t early enough as many of the moms needed more time to develop a trusting relationship with their mentor. Unfortunately, many didn’t understand the benefits and weren’t taking full advantage of the opportunity, which was impacting their success. Despite that, the program did have an overall very high success rate. However, since implementing updates, they’ve seen a significant impact.
Now beginning as moms enter Jeremiah, the program has the following three components:
- a skills assessment that matches the mom to a job that will provide a sustainable living and transition them into economic stability,
- mentoring sessions and life skills classes and
- corporate partnerships, allowing moms to volunteer, intern and receive job placements.
Recent funding from the Opus Foundation will support the growth of the corporate partners program.
“We so appreciate the commitment that the Opus Foundation has made and the trust they have put in us,” said Patty Heally Janssen, director of development for Jeremiah Program. “This support is making a difference. It’s making a huge difference of the lives of these moms and in the lives of these kids in a very tangible way.”
Above: Jeremiah's Family Portraits: Moms and their kids pose for family photos. Jeremiah Program is working to help these moms find economic independence.