Moms Who Enterprise

A financial literacy and entrepreneurship program designed to help low-income mothers gain skills that reduce family poverty

Photo of Walkers Legacy Information
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Written by


  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

Washington, DC 20019, 20020, 20002 Detroit MI - 48238 Baltimore, MD 21223, 21207, 21213 Newark, NJ 07201

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started

January 1, 2017

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)


  • $250k - $500k

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

Twitter URL


Facebook URL


1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

Our “Aha” moment came when realizing the cross-section between motherhood, childhood poverty, and financial insecurity. According to a U.S. Census Bureau Survey, 39% of the more than 10 million low-income working families with children are headed by single working mothers. Further, studies have found that African American and Hispanic female-owned businesses are the fastest growing entrepreneurial segment in the country. Many of these businesses fail to make it past the fifth year. Primarily because business owners are unprepared to scale or lack the knowledge necessary to create a sustainable business model. Ensuring that women are empowered with the financial savings and resources and prepared to create sustainable businesses.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Overlapping disparities exist between family poverty and entrepreneurship, especially as it relates to single-parent led households and communities of color. Studies have shown low-income working families with children are headed by single working mothers. Women of color are turning to entrepreneurship as a means to create economic sustainability and access to additional financial resources outside of their traditional means of employment.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Moms Who Enterprise looks to solve child and family poverty and increase financial security for low-income families through financial empowerment and entrepreneurship. The 12-week program includes dual delivery of originally created curriculum both in person and via the Walker’s Legacy Foundation mobile app, which is accessible on both phones and tablets. Curriculum includes five (5) dedicated weeks to financial literacy; five (5) weeks of entrepreneurship training; followed by two (2) dedicated weeks of business development. Each program cycle culminates with a formal graduation ceremony and certificate awarding. Our graduates leave equipped with the tools and resources needed to financially plan for their futures, generate wealth, and create sustainable business operations. Thus far, Moms Who Enterprise has piloted in four cities across the nation including Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; and Newark, New Jersey, with plans for expansion in 2018/19.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

WLF has seen the positive impact of its programming through both qualitative and quantitative evaluations. When asked about finances post-program, 82% of participants had a savings account separate from their checking account which was a 30% improvement from pre-program assessment. Additionally, 48% of graduates felt more comfortable with using budgets and roughly 40% felt confident they could handle financial emergencies as they arise because they had started to save. As it relates to confidence, we found that 87% of all program participants agreed they felt more confident and 54% felt confident that they could now network with new people, which was a significant improvement over pre-program assessment responses. Further, to assist with formalizing business endeavors we also awarded $5,000 in micro-grants and complimentary business licensure and certifications to our DC cohort

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We know that 100% of WLF participants come from an underserved population. This is because WLF primarily operates in cities where a higher frequency of low-income women and families exist. Additionally, we partner with municipal agencies such as Department of Human Services, Department of Employment Services, and Department of Small Local Businesses Development to create a pipeline for participant engagement. Many of these agencies regularly work with the population we serve to provide resources

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • race/ethnicity
  • socio-economic class
  • other (please specify on question 5a)

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Organizations like the National Financial Literacy Council, National Education Association, Banks, and CBO offer programs that provide financial literacy and entrepreneurship education. However, many of fail to address the cross-sectional nature of our participants by creating a choice between their child and personal development. The Moms Who Enterprise program allows participants to do both. Our tech-based curriculum deliver provides flexibility and keeps participants connected with the curriculum through presentations, videos, quizzes, and assessments.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

In 2017, Moms Who Enterprise was piloted in four cities. Upon completion, 90% of participants felt more comfortable using budgets and roughly 81% felt confident they could handle financial emergencies as they arise because they had started to save. As it relates to entrepreneurship, 63% graduated with a business plan and 94% of participants post-program felt confident they could scale their business with what they learned. Also, 80% felt they could confidently deliver a 30-second elevator pitch about their business -a 13% increase than reported prior to starting the program. Erin Hughley from Breathless in Detroit, BiD.TV shares - “I was able to implement the practices from finances, sales, networking, target marketing and understanding my brand into my pre-existing business, which prior to starting the program I found myself struggling with the direction I wanted it to go in…”

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Walker’s Legacy Foundation utilizes an originally created technology-based - train the trainer curriculum model which is easily scalable over numerous markets. Additionally, our impact strategy includes creating stronger connections and exposure to micro-financing organizations, offering micro-grant funding in all cities, and removing the barriers of transportation by partnering with mobile transportation companies that have a national footprint.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Walker’s Legacy Foundation is in conversation with large foundations such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Coca-Cola Foundation to create multi-year opportunities that would ensure program continuity and services, increase the number of participants across all markets, deepen the impact in cities where we host programming and provide the opportunity for wrap-around services.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

WLF is led by Founder, Natalie Madeira Cofield, former 2016 Ashoka Changemaker fellow. Strategic operations are led by an advisory board of industry leaders in technology, law, marketing, and journalism. Daily programming is managed by a Program Coordinator (FT) and four City- Program Facilitators (PT). Each city has its own dedicated facilitator to provide on the ground support and coaching. The Moms Who Enterprise Program expansion will include hiring program instructors for additional cities.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color
  • Low-income community
  • Other

If you replied "Other" in the question above, please specify. (optional)


How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others
  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Email

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kristina Lersbuasin

This is a great program and your results are very impressive! Keep up the good work.