Motherful: Our Statement of Purpose
Updated: Feb 11
Motherful (formerly Mother-in-Arms) supports, empowers, and nurtures single mothers and their families by providing resources, community and education.
Founded in 2018 by three single mothers: Heidi Howes, Elena Lubenets, and Lisa Woodward, Motherful seeks to bridge the gaps in resources experienced by single mothers and their children in Columbus, Ohio. The co-founders recognized the great need for the fellowship and community of other single mothers in their own lives. Single mothers are in a unique position more often than not of overwhelm and exhaustion which keeps them from being able to "see the forest for the trees" and living in a perpetual survival mode trying to do the best for themselves and their children. The co-founders also recognized that often the resources and support that they needed as single mothers were hard to come by and not available in one place or location. The co-founders sought to create an organization that would provide a respite for single mothers and their children where they would be understood and supported both emotionally and physically.
“Nearly 15 million single parent-led households in the United States, more than 80% of them are led by single mothers. This means that more than 22 million children across the country under the age of 18 are being raised without a dad at home. In 2016, the median income for households led my single mothers was only $35,400, which is less than half of the $85,300 earned by married couples.
Pair that with the fact that:
Around 40% of single parents in the US are employed in low-wage jobs
Only a third of single mothers receive any child support
Parenting can put a strain on any family, but there are several hardships that have proven to be prevalent in homes led by single mothers. Employment, income, poverty, and the hardships that follow are all interrelated and pressing issues single moms in America are battling daily. One third of all single moms have to spend more than half of their income on housing, which drains financial resources away from other aspects of living. So it should come as no surprise that a third of all single mother-led families are also considered food insecure. Sadly, housing is something some single mothers simply can’t afford, leading to homelessness. Families with single moms currently make up 60% of all the homeless families in the country, something no single mom wants her children to experience.”
Our plan is to procure funding through donations and social enterprise and we intend to find an office with event space for Motherful by January 2020. Thus far Motherful has raised $2,553 in 2019. Some of these funds are earmarked to be used for legal filing fees of the 501c3 paperwork, website fees, subscription for Meetup.com, and miscellaneous supplies for our monthly community dinners.
Currently Motherful is entirely run by volunteers as we petition for our 501c3 certification and in our first 6 months of operation we have acquired 7 volunteer Board members (Bernadette Dunn, Cindy Duncan, Shikera Kennedy, Heidi Howes, Lisa Woodward, Olga Gerchik, and Elena Lubenets) and served more than 20 single mothers and 30 children through three free community dinners. All single mothers are welcome to attend our community dinners and we intend to use various event venue locations around the city while we do not have our own space to allow access to various demographics and locations around the city. So far we have held our dinners at The Nest, a co-working space in Westerville, and at two.fifty.four, a non-profit youth center in Gahanna.
Community: In Person: At our 3 community meetings thus far in 2019 we procured donated event space for our free community dinner meetings at The Nest Coworking space in Westerville and a non-profit Youth Center in Gahanna called two fifty four. two.fifty.four is a service of:The Gahanna Ages and Abilities Partnership (GAAP) The Gahanna Ages and Abilities Partnership (GAAP) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt faith-based nonprofit organization focused on addressing relational needs in the community. We support and develop inclusive programs involving social, educational, recreational, cultural, and spiritual activities targeting particular age groups.
We are working to connect and collaborate with other local organizations such as the Clintonville and Beechworld Community Resource Center in Clintonville where we are in talks about holding our August meeting.
We have had food donated by the amazing local restaurants: 101 Beer Kitchen, Corelife Eatery on Polaris Parkway, Hot Chicken Takeover, and Bareburger. Each dinner our goal was to feed up to 75 people (we have had 3 dinners in 2019) and we provide childcare onsite for the dinner meeting (through generous volunteers) for the children that come so that mothers can join interrupted for a community support group after the meal.
Education and Resources: We have offered resources such as career coaching and personal finance coaching via speakers and access to mentorship with our growing network of professionals. We have created a 12-week career coaching program that is available free of charge and will be accessible via our YouTube channel and our website.
Online Forum: We currently have a temporary online forum where mothers can connect to each other and support each other with needs they may have such as moving, sharing childcare, emotional support, ideas for parenting and other needs. We intend to create a centralization of resources on our website because we have seen that there are a lot of loopholes to simply locating resources and it can be an exhausting process so we intend to marshall those resources and provide a place where single mothers can go online to find help.
Our intention is to raise funds via varied fundraising and grant writing efforts to local (such as The Columbus Foundation), state, and federal granting agencies to eventually create a social resource center where single mothers can come to receive access to food, social services, childcare, housing, and much more.
We will seek to collaborate with multiple other non-profit agencies throughout Columbus to be a central point of resources, community, and education on the best ways that single mothers can move their families forward. We will create educational programs about home economics, parenting, business, finance, health, and much more to support mothers in learning how to best utilize their time and energy to support themselves and their kids. We will provide space for single mothers to talk with one another and with mentors who have been in their shoes so as to feel less isolated and alone.
5-year plan: We hope to purchase real estate to create an intentional housing cooperative where single mothers can live in community and share resources and labor so that the village can support each other rather than moms living in isolation struggling to support their children's needs on their own, an unsustainable and nearly impossible feat that leaves children and mothers vulnerable and suffering with lack of time, energy and resources.
So far as an all-volunteer operation we have directly impacted no less than 40 single mothers and 20 children through our 3 live events and we intend to serve so many more as a charitable organization in Columbus, Ohio.