Women With Drive Foundation (WWDF) 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 our participants in conjunction with a WWDF program officer that is designed to build her skill sets so that she may become fully independent.
According to the University of Michigan’s Center for the Education of Women, women comprise the bulk of those in poverty: 56% of Americans over 18 who live in poverty are women. Further, 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 poor, 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).
Further, in establishing the link between [lack of] 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:
• A coalition of businesses called the Welfare to Work Partnership found that the most significant barrier to employment for their employees was 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 her, 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.
Also crucial is the WWDF model of tapping existing resources within our communities, so that we build upon the successful models other nonprofit organizations already have in place. This feature helps eliminate redundancies, increase efficiencies and helps all of us help more people with the resources we already have. This is good news for our investors and stakeholders, because we are using their dollars wisely in the service of others.
This systemic approach targets the root cause of dependence for women, enabling them to not only elevate their own productivity and prosperity, but it also provides an example to 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.
Women With Drive Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Corporation.