Amplify Austin with 24 Hours of Giving

Grateful for Surpassing Its Goal

Jeremiah Program celebrates a successful Amplify Austin, a 24-hour online day of giving starting at 6 pm on February 28 and ending at 6 pm on March 1. Donors caught the vision and helped Jeremiah surpass its $15K goal by giving $16,695.

Nearly 750 nonprofits raised more than $11 Million on Amplify Austin now in its seventh year.


Celebrating Black History Month with Music

““We are a box of crayons, each one unique, but when we get together the picture is complete!” – Martin Luther King Jr.
February is Black History Month and at Jeremiah Program MSP we celebrate that. When you walk down the hallway of our Child Development Center, you are surrounded by artwork that spreads messages of peace and love. You will also see powerful quotes of strong African American figures in our history.

Black History Salute, a Spotify Playlist

We asked our Executive Director, La Juana Whitmore, what Black History means to her and she recalled a childhood memory of playing “Name That Tune” with her family. From songs by Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, and Parliament, music has always been a big part of her life. To celebrate with all of you, we are sharing a playlist from Spotify that brings La Juana joy! (Note: If you don’t have Spotify already, you can signup for a free account.)

National Leaders Promote 2Gen as Opportunity for Future

Aspen Institute Forum on Children and Families

As state and federal lawmakers prepare for the year ahead, there is momentum for solid strategies that move families toward opportunity. The second Aspen Forum on Children and Families, being held February 26-27, will bring together national leaders – policymakers, practitioners, researchers, and philanthropists – to surface bold and practical ideas for investing in the full potential of children and families, two generations at a time.

Jeremiah Program will be one of the success stories highlighted on Wednesday as well as a presentation by Minnesota Viking linebacker Anthony Barr who participated in a Christmas event with Jeremiah December 2018. His foundation, Raise the Barr, “is committed to assisting single parents overcome poverty and/or difficult financial circumstances through attaining a post-secondary degree or certification,” according to its website.

As a Fellow at Aspen Institute, Gloria Perez, Jeremiah CEO, is deeply involved in the research and training on 2Gen opportunities. Ascend Fellows are visionary, entrepreneurial leaders with bold ideas that can move the needle on health and well-being and offer concrete economic and social
mobility pathways for children and their families.

Although the registration is closed for the forum, live streaming is planned for the entire two-day event.

About Aspen Institute
The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

Jeremiah Program Receives 15-year Financial Commitment for New Project

Lack of affordable housing is always an obstacle to economic viability, especially for single moms with a goal of career-track education. Thanks to a 15-year commitment by Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority board, Jeremiah Program’s future Rochester 40-apartment campus will receive dedicated funding from Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8 Vouchers.

The county’s action will assure that funding for 20 apartments stays with the program complex to ensure long-term support for the Jeremiah mission and future families needing temporary support. Dedicated funding will keep rents at the campus affordable and help the nonprofit focus on educational goals of post-secondary degrees for its participants and early childhood education immersion for their preschoolers.

“Jeremiah Program participants pay part of their housing,” said JoMarie Morris, executive director of Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast Minn. “There is still a substantial chasm in housing costs and this commitment will be a tremendous help. It allows Jeremiah to offer deep, temporary support while single mothers do the hard work of pursuing their education and careers that will be life-sustaining.”

Jeremiah is a transformational program promoting independence for families headed by single mothers. With short-term, deep support, it helps families develop the capacity to be self-reliant and most graduates are off public assistance within five years.

The Rochester campus plans to break ground this summer, building a 64,836-square-foot, 40-apartment campus with on-site child development center and much more.

According to a report in the Post Bulletin, “the 20 dedicated vouchers are part of the 556 federal vouchers approved in the county.”

“Our strategy is not to create a life-long dependency on public assistance but use it strategically as interim support building long-term sustainability,” Morris said.


Grant Helps Single Moms Advance Social-Emotional Health of Their Young Children

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) committed $20,000 to Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast Minn. to help parents living in poverty meet the social-emotional needs of their children from birth to age five.

“We are proud to support organizations that are doing the important work of preparing young children for school and educating parents and teachers in the region,” said Rae Jean Hansen, the foundation’s vice president of Early Childhood. “SMIF’s Early Childhood Grants support the Foundation’s focus area of investing in the children and families of our 20-county region in southern Minnesota.”

The overall goal of this grant is to significantly increase the knowledge and ability of single mothers living in poverty to nurture and build their child’s social and emotional skills.

“We are deeply grateful to the foundation for its leadership in providing proven pathways to a bright future for young children through supporting single moms as the primary educator of their children,” said JoMarie Morris, executive director of Jeremiah Program Rochester-Southeast Minn.

The Jeremiah Program Rochester campus is scheduled to break ground in July 2019. Its 65,000 sq. ft. campus will serve 40 low-income families with fully-furnished apartments, on-site Early Childhood Education Center, Empowerment and Life Skills Training Center and more. (Read the campaign case statement.)

Empowerment Goals

SMIF funding support three core programming modules that prepare mothers with the knowledge, personal skills, and parenting techniques required to increase healthy social-emotional growth in her young children.

A hallmark of Jeremiah Program, Empowerment is a 16-week preadmissions module of training required for program eligibility along with ongoing weekly Life Skills Training.

“Jeremiah feels so strongly about the transformative power of Empowerment training that all employees are required to the class within the first year of employment,” said Morris. “Empowerment is an excellent skill-set to pass on to staff plus it helps all of us understand the hurdles our young moms face.”

Evidence shows that a mother cannot help her child succeed if she cannot herself model and teach emotional regulation, positive self-identity, communication, how to relate to others in a healthy manner, and how to resolve conflict and problem solve herself. Once moms learn this, they invariably tell Jeremiah Program that this was absolutely transformational in their ability to then help their child achieve developmental milestones both in early literacy and in social-emotional success.

The Program Works

In the past five years, 80 percent of Jeremiah Program graduates maintain consistent employment; the average income is $48,000, and 81 percent of Jeremiah children are performing at or above grade level in elementary and middle school. This is a significant achievement for young children coming from poverty, especially in their earliest years when social-emotional development is a foundation for their future educational success and life.

Victoria, a 2017 graduate of Jeremiah Program Minneapolis, gained a degree in Human Resources Management, got a job at the U of M and received two raises within the first few months of work. She is currently enrolled in a master’s program.

“Jeremiah allowed me to blossom into the mother I desired to be. I was able to show my daughter what it looked like to work hard, and she was able to get an education while I was getting my education, too,” Victoria says.

“What I gained from Jeremiah was recognizing I have so much worth. I am extremely powerful and have control over my own life. One of my favorite poets says in her poem, ‘Knowing your worth can save your life.’ I am so thankful that Jeremiah teaches that in both words and actions. They empower us; they believe in us. We may struggle, but we will overcome.”


The Need

Single mothers living in Olmsted County and surrounding 11-County service area experience double the rate of poverty of the rest of the low-income population, the highest rate of low-wage employment and far worse college graduation rates than their peers.

Jeremiah Program is dedicated to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children two generations at a time. Jeremiah’s proven, holistic approach begins with establishing a supportive community for determined single mothers to pursue a career-track, college education. Through a combination of quality early childhood education, a safe and affordable place to live, and empowerment and life skills training, families find stability and a path out of poverty.

The Rochester Campus of Jeremiah Program has collaborated with and built resource and referral networks in every county within our 11-County service area and key major cities of Winona, Owatonna, Northfield and Austin. Through collaboration, Jeremiah is leveraging the resources and assets of human services agencies serving single mothers to recruit, offer pre-admissions Empowerment Training, and implement groups for Life Skills/Parenting Training to continue while the physical campus is being built.

One Way to Celebrate Presidents Day

More than a day for big retail sales.

Presidents Day may have its origins in the celebration of George Washington’s birthday, but today it is widely accepted as a patriotic time to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present.

According to Like Independence Day, Presidents Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. In its modern form, Presidents Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events.

What could be more patriotic than celebrating families who are battling intergenerational poverty and winning? Jeremiah Program is filled with stories of heroic women who are building a better country for themselves and their children.

A Patriotic Offering on Presidents Day

Victoria (2017 Jeremiah Program graduate):

I graduated in August of 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree from Metropolitan State University in Human Resource Management. In September of 2017 I started working in my field at the University of Minnesota in the Masonic Cancer Center, and I am applying to the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota for spring of 2019 to get my Master’s Degree. I have received two raises since starting just a few months ago.

Jeremiah allowed me to blossom into the mother I desired to be. I was able to show my daughter what it looked like to work hard, and she was able to get an education while I was getting my education, too.

What I gained from Jeremiah was recognizing I have so much worth. I am extremely powerful, and have control over my own life. One of my favorite poets says in her poem, “Knowing your worth can save your life.” I am so thankful that Jeremiah teaches that in both words and actions. They empower us; they believe in us. We may struggle, but we will overcome.

Thank you Jeremiah for believing in me and all of the other families who came before us, and will continue to thrive at Jeremiah. You truly make a difference in our lives. 

Jeremiah Program is a vibrant and proven nonprofit organization that offers one of the country’s most successful two-generation anti-poverty solutions for families headed by single mothers. Our mission is to end the cycle of poverty for single mothers and their children, two generations at a time.

Celebrating First Anniversary

Nearly 80 people toured the Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead campus on Wednesday, February 13 to celebrate its first anniversary. Watch the coverage from KVRR TV.

It was a kickoff for Jeremiah’s Giving Hearts Day  (Feb 14) fundraising goal of raising $100,000 in 24 hours. The ambitious goal is fuelled by $40,000 in matching gifts.

Special thanks to Matching Partners: Bell Bank’s Pay It Forward, Blackridge Bank, City of Fargo, Eastern Star, Fargo Air Show, Justin & Renee Forde, Matt & Ashley Halvorson, The Halvorson Company, Knights of Columbus/Casselton, Paul & Sharon Madson, Metro Plains Management, Jeff & Lonnie Pederson, Marilyn Pribula, Short Printer, David & Candace Shultz, State Farm Insurance, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Amy & Jonathan Warrey.

Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Karen

Our first Volunteer Spotlight of 2019 is Karen Meyer


Karen has been volunteering with us for five years, and currently serves as a Life Skills facilitator. Life Skills classes are offered weekly for our residents on a rotating calendar which runs 26 weeks out of the year. The classes are divided into five core topics: Foundation & Planning, Health & Wellness, Personal Finance, Parenting & Child Development, and Career Development & Education. Karen has been an integral piece in helping us develop our Life Skills programming, connecting the program to community resources, and has brought so much knowledge, compassion, and energy to our community.

Speaking of bringing knowledge to our community, Karen came up with the idea for our resident library. She set up our library with shelves, books for kids and adults, a rug, and bean bags for families to sit and read or borrow.

Let’s hear some more from Karen:

 How did you hear about Jeremiah Program?
“Through a taekwondo friend of mine who had just participated in Epic Battle and was raving about the good work of Jeremiah Program.”

How long have you been volunteering at Jeremiah Program?
“I am into my 5th year as a volunteer.  I started helping around the office with data entry, then began shadowing Life Skills, and soon was a Life Skills facilitator.”

What do you love most about volunteering at Jeremiah Program? 
“So many things…seeing the residents bond with one another and form a supportive community, watching the moms and kids interact, and witnessing moms wanting to learn and change and do the right thing for themselves and their families.”

Please share a favorite memory/funny story while volunteering. 
“One of my favorite memories is of the very first graduation at the Austin campus.  The mother and son pair were so excited and nervous and the entire JP community came out to celebrate their accomplishments.”

Please share a fun fact about you.
“I am a third-degree black belt in taekwondo, but my biggest accomplishment these days is keeping pace with my 23-year-old daughter on our runs together in Austin and Houston.”

Thank you, Karen, for bringing your vivacious spirit to make an impact for our residents!

Are you interested in volunteering with Jeremiah Program? Check out the opportunities and fill out an application. Thanks for considering lending a hand.



Investment from Philanthropy Partner Stand Together

Jeremiah receives $700,000 to serve more families

National venture philanthropy group and social change platform, Stand Together commitments $700,000 to Jeremiah Program to increase capacity by 25 percent in 2019. The funding is part of a series of investments from Stand Together during January’s National Poverty Awareness Month to expand the work of organizations in its Catalyst Network, a growing group of more than 115 innovative organizations that are transforming communities across the country and helping people break free of the cycle of poverty.

“Jeremiah Program is powered by the belief that people have intrinsic value,” said Gloria Perez, Jeremiah Program President and CEO. “They have the power to change their own lives. With that in mind, our efforts aim to overcome persistent poverty and achieve economic mobility for single moms and their children.”

“To invest in the child is to invest in the mother, and to invest in the mother is to invest in the child,” said Evan Feinberg, executive director of Stand Together. “Caring for both is the best thing you can do to eradicate poverty in a family for good. We’re so pleased to be able to help families through this investment in the Jeremiah Program and eager to hear stories of lives changed.”

The Jeremiah Program serves single mothers and their children, equipping them with the tools and services they need to break the cycle of poverty. Through a network of other women and volunteers, clean and affordable housing, personal and professional skills-building programs and early childhood education centers, women are enabled to care for themselves and their families. Stand Together’s investment in Jeremiah Program will allow the organization to serve 48 more families in 2019, raising the total number of families served to 196 by the end of 2019.

“Our two-generation and capabilities-based approach build family prosperity,” Perez said. “We know it works because we see results including 55% of Jeremiah single moms graduating with post-secondary degrees compared to only 8% in the general population. The children are showing the same capabilities with program preschoolers scoring 89% above kindergarten-readiness standards.”

“The Stand Together financial commitment means more than increasing families served by 30 percent,” said Perez. “It shows our moms that others believe in their quest toward empowerment and significance for themselves and their children. That is life-changing.”

Facebook Fundraiser to Benefit Jeremiah Program

Consider Starting A Facebook Fundraiser

Have you seen more and more Facebook Fundraisers on your newsfeed recently? We have too! Whether it’s your birthday, anniversary, or you just want to spread joy, Facebook Fundraisers are one of the easiest and most effective ways to raise awareness and money for an organization you care about! Facebook charges no fees on donations and will send the money raised directly to the organization of your choice.

Thinking of starting one yourself? Simply follow these easy steps!