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The WWDF: Yet, another organization helping women in poverty

I recently learned about an interesting organization while perusing Twitter. The Women With Drive Foundation (WWDF) which, according to their website, provides a car to women-in-transition in exchange for their participation in an assessment that identifies her particular barriers to independence. Once identified, a two-year plan is established by the participant in conjunction with a WWDF program officer that is designed to build her skill sets so that she may become fully independent.

When describing their services, the WWDF states that according to the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women, “women comprise the bulk of those in poverty: Fifty-six percent of Americans over 18 who live in poverty are women.”

WWDF also notes that according to UM’s National Center on Poverty, “poverty rates are highest for families headed by single women, particularly if they are black or Hispanic.”

In 2004, 28.4 percent of households headed by single women were at or below the poverty level, while 13.5 percent of households headed by single men and 5.5 percent of married-couple households lived in poverty (Source: Center for the Education of Women).

An effort was then made to establish a link between a lack of dependable transportation and poverty. The Surface Transportation Policy Project cites numerous factors suggesting that inadequate transportation hinders welfare recipients’ ability to seek (and keep) employment.

Among the findings noted in the Surface Transportation Policy Project :

•A coalition of businesses known as the Welfare to Work Partnership, found that for their employees, the most significant barrier to employment was a lack of transportation.

•A national study by Boston-based Volpe Institute revealed that three in every five jobs suitable for welfare-to-work participants are not accessible by public transportation.

•While cities like New York and Washington, DC have extensive rail and bus systems that provide late night and weekend service, most metropolitan areas typically do not offer adequate services during second and third shift hours (Source: Surface Transportation Policy Project).

•Key elements addressed through our participant’s plan may include helping them access higher education, gain financial planning skills, learn interviewing and other life skills designed to empower the participant and her children, and give her a new perspective about her capabilities. By removing the pressure of owning and maintaining a vehicle, WWDF participants have the energy to focus on elevating and empowering themselves – helping them to help themselves transition from poverty.

WWDF also performs another crucial function and that is tapping any existing resources within the communities so that they can build upon other successful models utilized by nonprofit organizations. This feature helps eliminate redundancies, increase efficiencies and helps all non-profits share the resources already available. This is positive news for WWDF investors and stakeholders, as it demonstrates wise use of dollars.

Through this systemic approach, WWDF targets the root cause of dependence for women, enabling them to not only elevate their own productivity and prosperity, but to provides an example for their children. Having this level of independence has a positive effect on their income, the economic vitality of their communities and the lives they touch.

For those who are interested in supporting WWDF’s mission with a tax-deductible contribution today, you can find more on their website www.WWDF.org.

The Women With Drive Foundation fund is a component fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization, donations to which are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Please make checks payable to the Community Foundation and include in the memo “WWDF”. Send to: Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, 208 W. 2nd St, Ste. 213,

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