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Women Encouraging Empowerment Inc.

 50 Walnut Avenue, PO Box 13
 Revere, MA 02151
[P] (781) 284-4251
[F] (781) 626-3336
www.weewomen.org
[email protected]
Fatou Fatty
Facebook
INCORPORATED: 1995
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-3286531

LAST UPDATED: 01/04/2019
Organization DBA --
Former Names Sojourner Feminist Institute Inc (1995)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

Dedicated to educating, advocating, protecting and advancing the rights immigrant, refugee and low income women and their families through organizing, leadership development and service delivery.

Mission Statement

Dedicated to educating, advocating, protecting and advancing the rights immigrant, refugee and low income women and their families through organizing, leadership development and service delivery.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $72,299.00
Projected Expense $72,299.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Domestic Violence
  • English for Women- Led Community Action
  • Mother's Round Table
  • Organizing and leadership Development

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Dedicated to educating, advocating, protecting and advancing the rights immigrant, refugee and low income women and their families through organizing, leadership development and service delivery.

Background Statement

We are committed to providing a supportive community where refugee and immigrant women will organize and lead the social change required to live in just communities where women contributions and diversity are appreciated and promoted. We work to educate residents of their rights while simultaneously bringing our diverse community together through community organizing. 

WEE was created in 2010 in response to the social marginalization of refugee and immigrant women in the neighborhoods of Revere, Winthrop, Chelsea and East Boston. Through our ESOL classes, leadership trainings, Domestic Violence workshops and community events, WEE reaches over 100 women and families per year, facilitating immigrant entrance into the social, economic and civic sectors of society. Our work allows immigrants to realize and achieve their role as assets to their communities. We remain the only non-profit organization in the City of Revere serving this demographic, and our vision, mission and activities continue to be guided by members.

We continue to strengthen our primary program offering ESOL classes to match the high need in the area and to create a pathway for migrant economic self-sufficiency. According to the 2010 census, 29% of Revere residents, 38% of Chelsea, 42% of East Boston and 24% of Winthrop residents are foreign born. In Chelsea more than 62% of residents speak languages other than English, 41% in Revere and 55% in East Boston. Many of these immigrants have low literacy in their first language, a profound lack of English proficiency, few support systems and few job-related skills and lack the ability to navigate daily life in the US. As a result, they experience social isolation, cultural and racial discrimination, and an inability to earn a livable, family-supporting wage. Immigrants want to learn English in order to gain access to better jobs and become self-sufficient and productive citizens. WEE addresses this need. This year we ran 4 classes for about 80 learners and created an additional conversation course. Our ESOL classes combine language instruction with cultural and political education, support and job-readiness. We are hoping to add financial literacy lessons this year. Additionally, WEE supported 150 individuals with information and applications for other services like public housing, food stamps, free health care, cash assistance, legal services, and domestic violence services during this past year.


Impact Statement

Our vision is the social and economic success of immigrant women based on leadership development and collective empowerment.

Needs Statement

We are seeking foundation grants, individual and business donations. We especially need funding to pay our staff who are mostly volunteers. We need a full-time Executive Director budget ($45,000) full-time Community Organizer ($32,000) and Development staff budget. We are also seeking partners and collaborators for our organizational development effort. 

CEO Statement

We area a community-based organization working with women for empowerment and leadership. We promote women and minority rights.

Board Chair Statement

I began volunteering on the WEE board because I want to live in a diverse city and actively participate in making that city open and welcoming to immigrant newcomers. I accepted the role as board president because I have come to see the critical need for the resources that only WEE provides in these communities. WEE has demonstrated that it can deliver much needed English language and other important support and leadership development services. I hope to contribute my experience and skills from the nonprofit and business sectors to help this worthy organization to a level where it can be fully staffed and funded to fulfill it’s great potential. Our goal is to connect with partners in philanthropy to garner financial and human resources for board and organizational growth.

With access to public transportation, good schools and relatively affordable housing, new residents have shifted the demographics in the area just north of Boston significantly. But Revere is a small city where there is no established municipal or nonprofit network to support residents in need of social support, especially newcomers from other countries.

I have been amazed and impressed to see how, over the past four years, WEE has become a well-known and trusted center for helping immigrant women and families in Revere and surrounding communities. In 2013 and 2014 we worked with over 300 individuals in our language classes, programs and community organizing activities. This includes women and men from more than 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and mainland Europe who speak more than twelve languages. 

WEE helps by providing information and supports people to apply for services such as public housing, food stamps, health care, cash assistance, legal services, domestic violence services. WEE provided 150 children with winter jackets and clothing, toys and school supplies. Now the City of Revere, its schools and many local organizations look to WEE when newcomers seek assistance and when they want to reach more immigrants to participate in community events. Last year, three WEE volunteers and founding members were hired to work in leadership positions in the city of Revere.

To date WEE has been staffed by volunteers and part time paid staff who are stretched beyond capacity because of the increased demand for services. Clearly there is an unmet need for WEE programs and services but the current structure and funding levels are inadequate to fulfill the need and the demonstrated promise of this vital organization. Recognizing that the organization is at a critical juncture, WEE Board, staff and participants undertook a comprehensive strategic assessment and planning process this past winter. We interviewed community stakeholders and identified the need to develop organizational capacity, sustainable funding and visibility. Stakeholders see WEE as a trusted organization that has built good relationships and is highly regarded in the community, but the organization lacks the capacity and the resources to achieve greater impact.

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA
Harbor Communities of Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, Chelsea and surrounding communities.

Organization Categories

  1. Civil Rights, Social Action, Advocacy - Women's Rights
  2. Education - Adult Education
  3. Public & Societal Benefit - Leadership Development

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Domestic Violence

Our Domestic Violence program engage immigrant and refugee women in critical analysis and discussion on violence in our communities: the historical roots of patriarchal, racist and class based system here in the U.S as abroad in their countries of origin. We provide training and access to knowledge and information about legal rights, advocacy, education, referral, outreach and collaboration with other agencies  Our efforts intend to support immigrants and refugee families in overcome barriers such as language, culture, isolation and poverty. Our presence, support and personal background as women of color are highly needed in these communities.

Budget  $10,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other
Population Served Adults Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Females
Program Short-Term Success 
 -Able to provide support to 80% of victims and survivals
-Have 80% of staff and volunteers well equip with knowledge and skills to assist victims and survivors
-Develop women concrete skills in proactive civic engagement, leadership, community organizing, participatory action and community resource development.
-Increase access to resources and support services to victims and survivors to leave abusive situations and rebuild the lives.
Organize with the 20-30 women in two group and give them the tools and opportunity  to be self-sufficient.
 
Program Long-Term Success  WEE envision a place where immigrant and refugee women build actively the just society they wish to live on.
Program Success Monitored By 
We use the Making the Case tool to evaluate our progress.
We apply the indicator to assess if we have been able to fully engage our members and other women in the community through connecting with them, building trust and demonstrate the credibility and effectiveness of their programs. We are interested in how our work supports our member’s education, skills and emotional needs, their strength, challenges in their communities.
We also assess how we are able to motivate our members to create changes in their lives and their communities by using their knowledge and skills to overcome barriers. 
Examples of Program Success  Last year in collaboration with Boston College Human Rights International , we offer Domestic Violence 101 training series of 4 workshops on domestic violence, in 3 languages for 67 women and training of training for staff and volunteers (28) from 3 organizations .We have also placed more than 15 women in safe homes/shelters mostly Arabic speakers. Our members also made two visits to the Massachusetts State House, once to have a conversation with the Speaker of the house Robert De Leo to push for the Domestic Violence Bill and the second, to explain how the safe driving bill is important in realizing the gains of the Domestic violence bill that was passed by the house. The importance of being able to leave an abusive relationship because you can pack the children in the car and escape to safety. This to us is success

English for Women- Led Community Action

The goals of our ESOL Program are to: develop learners English language skills and increase English proficiency; eliminate language barriers and develop members job and advocacy skills; provide opportunity and expand access for more women to attend ESOL classes; bring more women into the economic mainstream; create a pathway to advancement through literacy to job training, employment and/or further education; develop learners’ capacity to effectively advocate for themselves, support their families and fully participate in civic life of their communities and reduce poverty and economic dependency.
Budget  $32,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Adults Females
Program Short-Term Success  100% will receive a higher placement score upon exiting the program, with 75% moving on to level 2 after the first 10 weeks. 80% of students will register for a second session. 85% will become more involved in WEE's community programs and will participate in leadership development and workshops offered
Program Long-Term Success  For students consistently attending classes, 100% will have improved levels of English: increased employment level if desired, increased participation in community and civic life, feel more confident in their English language abilities, be able to better communicate with their children's teachers, healthcare professionals, and better navigate daily life.
Program Success Monitored By 
Pre-class and exit testing to track students' improvement
Written and oral feedback by students
Teacher evaluations, student evaluations  
Attendance records, retention rates
Students self-report at end of session 
 
Examples of Program Success  Student testimonials to follow. 

Mother's Round Table

Reaching out for support is hard for immigrant women to do, especially, in a society where independence and self-sufficiency are highly valued. Asking for help can trigger feelings of shame and weakness. Mother’s Round Table provides a supportive environment where mothers can bring up issues that they may have with their child, seek advice and offer their expertise as parents, share common experiences, success, and challenges.

The majority of these immigrant mothers speak very little English. Language barriers and lack of experience make it difficult for women to communicate freely with their children, help them in school, and provide the support that their children need. They are all people of color, low income immigrant women, working at low level service jobs or unemployed. They have few support systems and few job-related skills and lack the ability to navigate daily life and experience instead social and cultural isolation.

Budget  $4,700.00
Category  Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served Females Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Families
Program Short-Term Success  Within the first 10 months, approximately 60-80 women will participate in WEE English classes and Mother's Round Table Program. Over 50% who consistently attend will increase active citizenship & involvement in child's education. We will inform immigrant mothers about employment, social and education opportunities, with 70% or more reporting that they have used a new resource during the 10 month program; receive feedback from mothers and track attendance to measure our program's impact, and offer professional advice through at least five workshops. Mothers will feel more supported and will have a new network of support to continue accessing resources and share parenting advice. 
Program Long-Term Success 
Increased parent participation in their child's education
Increased feelings of support
Increased English language ability and ability to access resources in the community 
Higher rates of self-advocacy, have increased number of immigrant women leaders in the community  
Program Success Monitored By  Track attendance, receive written and oral feedback. We will conduct initial surveys to see what women want out of the program and will conduct exit surveys to measure how their needs have been met. 
Examples of Program Success  We are beginning the program this year and are already have at least 20 mothers interested in participating. We have created surveys and are continuing outreach. We will provide statistics and measurements of success when possible.

Organizing and leadership Development

Immigrant & refugee women in particular face a unique set of social and language challenges, social isolation, low self-esteem, violence and poverty. Our effort is creating leadership opportunity for immigrant women to change that that scenario. 
Organizing is the focus and practice in all WEE, Inc programs and effort. We seek the active participation of committed women and their families as recipients of services and as lead organizers for change in the community. Our work is guided by values of social justice, gender equality and collective empowerment. Our activities is to help women to learn, understand and use their knowledge and skills to overcome barriers to participating fully in society.We want to support our target members who are increasingly newcomers women in the country without any knowledge of organizing and through their involvement at WEE, will be able to exercise the power of critical analysis and participatory action.
Budget  $35,000.00
Category  Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy, General/Other
Population Served Adults Immigrant, Newcomers, Refugees Females
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Support immigrant and refugee women to identify and challenge the entrenched power hierarchies in their workplace, communities in order to transform their voicelessness and devaluation to empowerment, self-representation and self-activity.
  • Develop participants’ critical perspectives, organizing and communication skills, to recognize the balance of power between immigrant and refugee women, employers, service providers, government officials and other recognized decision making bodies.
  • Develop participants’ ability to learn to negotiate social relations and power dynamics with each other, with their families and with potential allies from the community in and around them.
  • Strengthen the "social fabric" of neighborhood units - - that network of informal associations, that enable people to survive and hold on to their sanity in spite of, rather than because of, their marginalization
Program Long-Term Success 

       Our long term goal is to empower immigrant and refugee women in their communities to become lead organizers for social change

We envision an example leadership necessary to ensure that new immigrants have equal access to the civic, economic, social and cultural life of the neighborhood.The expected success is that immigrant and refugee women will have become strong leaders, developed skills and insight and provided the organization a strong membership base, strengthened our organizational capacity and women leadership in their communities. Building immigrant women community leadership will empower them to challenge the system of oppression; fight injustice that affect their lives and work towards social change.
Program Success Monitored By 
Shift in individual/community behavior: we will apply this indicator to assess how we have been able to fully engage our members and other women in the community through connecting with them, building trust and demonstrate the credibility and effectiveness of our programs. We will track the growth in consistent involvement of our memberships. how our work supports our member’s education, skills and emotional needs, their strength, weakness, leadership and how effectively members voice guide our work and promote social justice
Shift in critical mass and engagement: we will apply this indicator to assess the effectiveness of internal development as well as the external, community capacity building, structures and community engagement and how our work is able to influence decisions and politics in the community. 
Examples of Program Success  The feedback from our member demonstrates the transformation impact that our work can have on the lives of immigrant women. “You took me from fear to somewhere!” “I feel liberated to stood with women of different race and celebrate the International Women’s Day” “I have never imagined I will ever talked to the director and board members of a foundation. (Grant interview with The Lenny Zakim Fund). WEE’s approach is unique in several meaningful ways. WEE is the only group in the area that works with women from all over the world. Such diverse representation is rare in any organization. In this past year alone, three of our volunteers and founding members have moved to leadership positions in the city. Many of the staff, volunteers and Board are also active with other cross-sector committees and boards, providing further avenues for sharing and gathering information, beneficial in the city and our communities.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Our challenges with programming is inadequate funding and limited capacity. We rely mostly on volunteers and part time staff who sometimes have to use their own personal resources to support the program. The board also step in to provide support in managing their program whenever needed.

Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms Gihan Suliman Ms.
CEO Term Start Nov 2010
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Previous Program Associate at Health Care for All; Research Specialist 
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms Fatou D Fatty Nov 2010 May 2013

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association MIRA Massachusetts Immigrants and Refugees Advocacy Coalition

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

Revere Community School- community learning resources for residents in the area, together we refer students to one another and lower barriers to education access
Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice- community participatory research project, created Know Your Rights toolkit and domestic violence training
Casa El Salvador (East Boston)- worked together on research project with Boston College for English-Language access for immigrant families
Revere Youth in Action- Joint efforts to increase voter registration 
Revere on the Move- Providing healthy living and increasing access to healthy, affordable foods
Mayor's Office, Office of New Revere Residents- create a more welcoming city for newcomers 
Turkish Cultural Center- Bring together diverse groups of immigrants
 Rise (Revere Immigrant Students for Education) and Jobs with Justice- Increasing access to higher education for immigrant students

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

We are in need of a full-time executive director budget to sustain our operations and achieve greater aid to the immigrant community.
 

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 0
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 1
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 2
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 0
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 5
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Under Development
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Exempt
State Registration Exempt

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency N/A N/A

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Laurie Holmes
Board Chair Company Affiliation CERO
Board Chair Term July 2014 - July 2016
Board Co-Chair Ms Dimple Ranna
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation City of Revere
Board Co-Chair Term Aug 2012 - Aug 2015

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Diane Colella Election Commissioner of City of Revere --
Mirna Diaz Diaz Law --
Fatou D Fatty Revere Community School --
Lor Holmes CERO Voting
Mark Louise Water Resource Department, Community Volunteer --
Dora Nakabuye Revere Housing Authority --
Lee Nugent -- --
Dimple Ranna Revere CARES/City of Revere --

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 7
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Women Encouraging Empowerment, Inc. (WEE) is seeking talented and ambitious individuals from the Boston area who are interested in helping to strengthen and sustain work and efforts of the organization. This position is unpaid; compensation is dependent upon the individual (s) capacity to raise funds and launch a successful program. Specifically, we are currently seeking partners and collaborators to organize fundraising and implement the organization strategic plan. The vision is for WEE to become more financially stable, hire full time staff and development programs and organizing efforts. We seek ambitious individuals (graduate or undergraduate students) with a common vision who are interested in supporting the immigrant community in Suffolk County and have high goals for improving opportunities for newcomer families to create a more just society.

In August 2014, WEE undertook a Strategic Planning process. Our plan for 2016 addressed the urgent need for WEE to become more financially stable, hire qualified staff, develop a new coalition around immigrant issues and racial equity and raise community and resident visibility. Our current organizational capacity is not sufficient to carry out these efforts. We are not able to get adequate funding to attract qualify staff and or retain them. WEE thrives thanks to the dedication and support of the board, volunteers and members, who are running our programs on a part-time or unpaid budget. Since last June 2014, WEE has been operating with a part-time program Director who left June 2015.  Despite the challenges of a limited staff, we have proven our strength and endurance to match the high demand in the area, continuing and increasing our programs offerings. One of the board member who is the co-founder is now fulfilling the role of the Director.The board is actively seeking funding to hire a full time Director to manage operations, funding and develop client programming with the support of the board of directors. We are also looking to partner with individual(s) or group who would like to take this on as part of the studies/graduate project or technical assistance support and help the organization achieve its mission.

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2015 to June 30, 2016
Projected Income $72,299.00
Projected Expense $72,299.00
Form 990s

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Revenue $60,023 $33,152 $39,184
Total Expenses $54,357 $35,153 $35,464

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$37,770 $21,250 $27,855
Government Contributions $13,077 $3,475 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified $13,077 $3,475 --
Individual Contributions $1,075 $539 --
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $3,454 $4,610 --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- $44
Membership Dues -- -- $8,695
Special Events $4,647 $3,278 $2,590
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Program Expense $35,845 $13,770 $26,928
Administration Expense $18,512 $21,383 $7,847
Fundraising Expense -- -- $689
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.10 0.94 1.10
Program Expense/Total Expenses 66% 39% 76%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 2%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Total Assets $7,976 $2,310 $4,311
Current Assets $7,976 $2,310 $4,311
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Net Assets $7,976 $2,310 $4,311

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
1st (Source and Amount) The Lenny Zakim Fund $7,500.00
Boston Women's Fund $10,500.00
Boston Women's Fund $12,500.00
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
The Burgess Urban Fund $10,000.00
The Lenny Zakim Fund $7,500.00
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities inf inf inf

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2015 2014 2013
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s with additional revenue breakout detail for Foundations & Corporations and Government funding per the organization. For fiscal years 2015 and 2013, Program expense totals are the total of the items and amounts listed in Part III Statement of Program Service Accomplishments. A breakout of functional expenses for fiscal year 2014 was provided by the organization, as that data was not available in the 990 file.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Revere has a rapidly increasing and diversifying population and, as the community has become less homogeneous and the poverty level continues to rise, barriers such as lack of resources, and more glaringly, a lack of infrastructure for supporting and distributing resources, are creating tensions among different groups within the community. Immigrant & refugee women in particular face a unique set of social and language challenges, social isolation, low self-esteem, violence and poverty. Here there are far fewer nonprofits so support services are insufficient to meet the needs of immigrant women and their families. These women also face discrimination daily in the community at large as well as mistreatment at public offices due to their cultural or language barriers and other issues. These barriers further deny immigrant women ways to be involved in decision making, leading to further isolation. With determined focus to eliminate language barriers, provide a forum for immigrant women to come together and perceive themselves as active contributors to the society, increase their visibility and participation in the community, WEE is the only local organization providing this comprehensive support. WEE’s contextualized learning strategy emphasizes survival, cultural relevance and is action-oriented. Our work is designed to eliminate language barriers while promoting leadership development and civic engagement for community building and transformation. We work to develop participant's critical perspectives, organizing and communication skills, to recognize the balance of power between immigrant and refugee women, employers, service providers, government officials and other recognized decision making bodies. Strengthen the "social fabric" of neighborhood unit-- that network of informal associations that enable people to survive and hold on to their sanity in spite of, rather than because of their marginalization.

Our goal is to have migrant leaders (women) that are able to interact, make decisions and get things done collectively, confronting racism, sexism and hierarchy.

In the long term, we want to advance the movement for racial equity through a coalition of grassroots groups and organizations to promote immigration issues and racial equity. We want regulations, new laws, development efforts and decisions of the institutions and elected leaders be based on the reality on the ground by incorporating the ideas of those most affected i.e., our constituents, the residents. To see our grassroots organizing not only build a counterculture, but also help members of our community feel passionate about who they are, where they came from and their collective effort. This will be an important dynamic in overcoming powerlessness.


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

Our effort is to break those barriers, challenge the negative stereotypes, discrimination and marginalization and work in collaboration with our members to take active part and successfully integrate in their communities. We work to address immediate issues that affect communities through an issues-based community organizing approach which is led by the women and volunteers. Our organizing and leadership development goals are to provide immigrant and refugee women the tools they need in order to succeed in their life, families, better their communities and achieve their goals. We focus on the economic and social education, history of immigrant & refugee women in the US, public speaking, networking, building networking, organizing and facilitation and parenting skills. Through our language classes, design lesson plans focused on providing information for our participants to understand the importance of their collective power . We have developed a series of leadership training materials especially around the ‘know your rights’ focus particularly in regard to the undocumented immigrants so that they are in a position to embody and disseminate knowledge. We introduce our new members to organizing and getting everyone engage in campaigns in support of bills. We work with our members and allies to promote policy advocacy campaigns targeted at challenging discrimination and other injustices immigrants and refugee women face.

Advocating for and supporting bills and laws that will protect the rights of immigrant women and communities. Providing the space and opportunities to building immigrant women community leadership and empower them to challenge the system of oppression, such as in domestically abusive situation, fight injustice that affects their lives and work towards social change. We have learned from immigrant women with whom we work that English language education and access to information and services is critically connected with leadership development and the capacity for community organizing. Organizing and direct services are not separate among constituents who are low income, immigrant women and families facing both discrimination and lack of basic human need. We also use documentation, research and sharing of knowledge.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

To date WEE has been staffed by volunteers and part time paid staff who are stretched beyond capacity because of the increased demand for services. Despite the challenges of a limited staff, we have proven our strength and endurance to match the high demand in the area, continuing and increasing our programs offerings. Clearly there is an unmet need for WEE programs and services but the current structure and funding levels are inadequate to fulfill the need and the demonstrated promise of this vital organization. Recognizing that the organization is at a critical juncture, WEE Board, staff and participants undertook a comprehensive strategic assessment and planning process this past winter. We interviewed community stakeholders and identified the need to develop organizational capacity, sustainable funding and visibility. Stakeholders see WEE as a trusted organization that has built good relationships and is highly regarded in the community, but the organization lacks the capacity and the resources to achieve greater impact.

To sustain our gains, WEE needs funding to be able to attract and retain highly qualified and committed full time leader and program staff. The board is currently actively looking for funding to hire and Technical Assistance for capacity building.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We use the Making the Case tool of Women Funding to evaluate our work. Staff are trained in using and completing the tool online. We will continue to learn and understand our membership issues, needs, strengths, challenges and opportunities in the communities.

We will utilize the following performance indicators:

a) Shift in individual and community behavior

b) Shift in critical mass and engagement.

We also use both verbal and written feedbacks from staff, members, community participants, and partners, allies, at meetings, events and trainings.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

With access to public transportation, good schools and relatively affordable housing, new residents have shifted the demographics in the area just north of Boston significantly. But Revere is a small city where there is no established municipal or nonprofit network to support residents in need of social support, especially newcomers from other countries.

Over the past four years, WEE has become a well-known and trusted center for helping immigrant women and families in Revere and surrounding communities. In 2013 and 2014 we worked with over 300 individuals in our language classes, programs and community organizing activities. This includes women and men from more than 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Central Africa, the Caribbean and mainland Europe who speak more than twelve languages.  In this past year, three of our volunteers and founding members have move to leadership position in the city helping to bring more attention to the needs of immigrant women and their families. In this past year alone, three of our volunteers and founding members have moved to leadership positions in the city. Many of the staff, volunteers and Board are also active with other cross-sector committees and boards, providing further avenues for sharing and gathering information, beneficial in the city and surrounding communities.

WEE helps by providing information and supports people to apply for services such as public housing, food stamps, health care, cash assistance, legal services, and domestic violence services. WEE provided 150 children with winter jackets and clothing, toys and school supplies. Now the City of Revere, its schools and many local organizations look to WEE when newcomers seek assistance and when they want to reach more immigrants to participate in community events.

 We hosted and collaborated on community forums/consultation, presentations, education and outreach activities in all four communities. We organized a series of 4 workshops on domestic violence, in 3 languages for 67 women and training of trainings for staff and volunteers (28) from 3 organizations in providence RI. Our members also made several visits to the Massachusetts State House,  to advocate and push for the Domestic Violence Bill, safe Driving Bill, DACA/DAPA, Free in-state tuition for undocumented students.

We collaborated with Boston College Center for Human Rights International and Casa El Salvador on a participatory  research project on Migrants Intergenerational Experiences with English language learning ; as well as  developed training resources on Know Your Right Tool Kit (KYR/ESOL) and domestic violence for staff and volunteers of non-profit groups.  We also shared the findings of the research at two National Multicultural Conference and Summit in Atlanta and Lowell, MA .