Research has shown that 39 percent of the more than 10 million low-income working families with children in the U.S. are headed by single working mothers. Children living in single-mother households have poverty rates more than twice that of children in single-father homes (48 percent vs. 22 percent).
Within communities of color, these figures are considerably higher. According to the Department of Labor, single working women represent 65 percent of low-income and 34 percent of sole-breadwinner households within the African American community.
We believe in the high correlation between positive advances in economic empowerment for single parent women and reductions in child poverty.
Founded in 2016, Walker’s Legacy Foundation is the nonprofit sister arm of Walker’s Legacy, a digital platform for the professional and entrepreneurial multicultural woman. While Walker’s Legacy focused on the middle- to upper-income enterprising professional woman, we realized that there was an entire community of women who could benefit from the offering of our organization. In response, we created the Walker’s Legacy Foundation to provide the entrepreneurial, financial and professional supports needed to improve economic prosperity and reduce economic inequality for multicultural women and girls, globally.
With funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation and local partners, Walker’s Legacy Foundation focuses on encouraging low-income single mothers through entrepreneurship and financial empowerment
In our pilot year, we graduated 52 participants through the Moms Who Hustle (now Moms Who Enterprise) program in four major markets: Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; and Newark, New Jersey.
The 12-week program was specifically designed for enterprising, millennial women of color between the ages of 21 to 35 years old who have entrepreneurial aspirations yet lack the resources and mentorship needed to ensure success. In addition to our custom curriculum, the program also included a mobile app to ensure that participants had access to their modules, assessments and tests from anywhere, at anytime. And, most critical, the program also included free on-site childcare.
Upon completion of the program, 87 percent of participants agreed that they felt more confident, and 54 percent felt confident that they could now network with new people, a significant improvement over pre-program assessment responses. Forty-six percent felt they could confidently deliver an elevator pitch about their business within 30 seconds or less (as compared to 13 percent starting out). By the completion of the 12-week program, 63 percent had completed formal business plans.
When asked about finances post-program, 82 percent of participants had a savings account separate from their checking account, which was a 30 percent improvement from pre-program assessment. Additionally, 48 percent felt more comfortable with using budgets and roughly 40 percent felt confident they could handle financial emergencies as they arise because they had started to save. Lastly, 50 percent of participants post-programming felt confident they could scale their business with what they learned.
Whether she be a beautician working out of her home like Madam C. J. Walker, the first self-made female millionaire, for whom we are named learn more, a woman maintaining her online boutique, or a caterer cooking from her own kitchen, these Moms Who Enterprise are the new faces of entrepreneurship in an economic climate where despite having multiple jobs, making ends meet remains a challenge.
“This course has had a huge impact on my entrepreneurial journey,” says Erin Hughley, writer and founder of Breathless In Detroit, (BiD.TV). “I was able to implement the practices from finances, sales, networking, target marketing and understanding my brand into my business.” ”
For Hughley, our Moms Who Hustle Detroit program reinvigorated her commitment to her work: “I was struggling with the direction I wanted it to go in prior to starting the program. The resources, connections and peer support were immeasurable! It just [made] the start-up process much easier and even more exciting.”
This is why Walker’s Legacy Foundation is betting on low-income single moms. Will you?