One Million Moms OFF Welfare

Empowering Families to Reduce Dependency on Government Subsidies.

Photo of RW Jones
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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 and Topeka Kansas

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Civic Engagement
  • Development & Prosperity
  • Health & Fitness

Date Started


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

LinkedIn 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.

fast forwarded my life one day as a single mom of 4 sons ages (1,2,3 and 4) and thought, will I work every day and forever be broke? All I could see was a life of brokenness, drug abuse, toxic relationships, and I thought this is no way to live! It was in that precise moment I heard a voice that said "drown them". I went for the towels as I prepared their bath and searched for the children to end theirs and my life, but they were nowhere to be found. Then one of them appears out of nowhere eating a cookie, laughing uncontrollably. It was the laughter that broke me out of that place of darkness. I promised God, If he got me out of this hellhole in my right mind, I would come back and help others like me. Im keeping my end of the deal

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

With more than 42 million women and children living at or below poverty in America, a recent report stated we spend $1trillion dollars a year fighting poverty and fail. A Single mother’s daily struggle is one of great mental anguish, as she battles thoughts and feelings of rejection, inadequacy, worthlessness, and shame. These thoughts create depression and a lifestyle of defeated and unhealthy choices that make it hard to bounce back from.

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

The 1MMOW 10-point exit strategy is executed through existing federal and state Self-Sufficiency programs and frameworks. Our community building approach is centered around developing resident leaders within public housing communities, as they are the engines that build thriving communities.

Second, we seek to execute a workforce development strategy that will certify, qualify and credential residents to access careers within the public housing industry. These available jobs are estimated to be more than $116 million dollars in weekly wages.

Third, we administer a self-sufficiency program that is centered around 4 goal attainment areas: Education, Employment, Small Business & Contracting and Homeownership. We help assisted families to purchase homes using their Section 8 vouchers, (a seldom utilized perk of the program).

Last, we work with coalitions and community advocates within the industry to promote our policy initiatives, through campaigns, petitions, conferences and special events. Our policy reform seeks to strengthen existing federal laws (i.e. CFR 135: Section 3) which aim to bring economic opportunities to low-income families living in public housing.

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

A single mom from Columbia, SC hated her full-time day job and wanted to find out how she could do what she loved (helping low-income women find purpose, passion, and quality of life). The thoughts of obtaining 2 unfulfilled jobs were the only sound and logical choice.
The 1MMOW self-sufficiency strategy put HER on the fast track to purpose, passion, and quality of life. The Education and Small Business & Contracting training helped her access ways to satisfy the economic thirst in her household while growing her small business. She enrolled as a full-time graduate student, (maximizing her Tap, Pell, and Student Loans budget) and Resigned from her full-time unfilled job, which gave her the freedom to create, innovate and think about her business model, products, and service offerings to families. She now runs a non-profit with a few contracts including one as a 1MMOW ambassador.

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?

Focusing our attention on the needs of low-income families within public housing and section 8 communities, we are allowed to touch and impact the most vulnerable families. Our organization is comprised of resident leaders (which we develop and train) from public housing and section 8 communities; they sit on our board and make decisions for the communities they call home! Our work reaches underserved communities because it is the place we live, serve, work and play.

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

  • geography
  • work status
  • race/ethnicity
  • age - youth
  • age - elder
  • socio-economic class

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

There are many agencies who “propose” to eliminate and or reduce poverty, such as United Way who fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community. They receive millions of dollars from corporate sponsors to address poverty, but their dollars don’t show up in communities in which we serve. We are residents who call public housing home and are dedicated to creating systems changes and policy reform through a deliberate and proactive strategy which offers families a road already paved, not a pathway proposed to be viable by way of a great idea.

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

Through the execution of the 1MMOW strategy, we have impacted families in a significant way. We have created more than 30 small business with contracts equaling $300k combined; we’ve enrolled more than 100 residents in GED programs / educational training; leveraged more than $500k in community resources; we have raised more than $10k for small business support; leveraged more than $500k in community resources, partnered with local churches to donate cars to assist families with removing transportation as a barrier to self-sufficiency; initiated the first on-site GED program and child care group to a local housing authority in partnership with a local College, and local churches to provide child care for enrolled GED participants; engaged, empowered and increased capacity of more than 300 resident council leaders representing 300+ communities and 300,000 families nationwide.

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

Strategies for scaling include: Directly administering the 1MMOW strategy through grant partnership of HUD’s Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency (ROSS) and Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) programs for 50 Public Housing Authorities (PHA’s); indirectly administering the 1MMOW to 200 PHA’s and resident associations through the implementation of the 1MMOW toolkit, purchase of products and services, staff training and certifications, licensing 1MMOW programming, and setting a new standard of best practices for service delivery, process improvements and engagement for low-income communities.

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

  • Organizational Growth
  • Organizing Conferences
  • Trainings, Consultation
  • Federations, Associations

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

Leveraging existing grants with evidence of strengthening our fee for service revenue streams (i.e. membership, conference/events, training, and programming). HUD appropriates $35 million annually, of which 25% is a set-aside fund for resident associations (Can I Live). This non-competitive set-aside grant allows us to scale and ensure sustainability.

We plan to secure 3 new grants annually through the collaboration and partnership with 3 resident associations throughout the nation.

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?

CIL has a resident advisory board of 21, an executive board of 7 and a 1MMOW Operational team of 14 independent contractors, 10 of which are low-income resident-owned businesses. More than 90% of our board members and team live and are a part of the community that we work with. As more funding opportunities avail themselves to us, we plan to grow and increase the contracts of our 1MMOW operational team and afford new opportunities to qualified resident advisory and executive board members.

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

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. Overall, would you champion this entry as a excellent example to move forward to the next phase of the challenge and become a semifinalist?

Yes, absolutely! - 100%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Is this entry IMPACTFUL on financial wellbeing?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry SUSTAINABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 50%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. What are some of the HIGHLIGHTS of strengths of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 100%

Clarity of Model - 100%

Clarity of Writing - 0%

Idea Originality - 50%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 50%

Impact measurement - 0%

Impact Potential - 100%

Financial Sustainability - 0%

Team - 50%

Partnerships - 0%

Potential to scale - 50%

6. What are some of the areas for IMPROVEMENT of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 0%

Clarity of Model - 0%

Clarity of Writing - 50%

Idea Originality - 0%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 0%

Impact measurement - 50%

Impact Potential - 0%

Financial Sustainability - 50%

Team - 0%

Partnerships - 100%

Potential to scale - 50%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kristina Lersbuasin

This is a great mission and model!