After two years of planning, Jeremiah Program is advancing to the second phase of development in Charlottesville, VA, through a partnership with 2GenCville. With a generous seed grant from an anonymous donor, Jeremiah has hired Olivia Branch to lead development and community outreach, as well as head a feasibility study, for the Charlottesville initiative.
Jeremiah Program offers one of the nation’s most successful strategies for transforming families from poverty to prosperity two generations at a time. The organization’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 are stabilized and able to find a path out of poverty. A recent independent return on investment study shows that every $1 invested in Jeremiah families can save up to $4 in social costs.
More than 1,100 single mothers with 3,000 children under the age of 18 are living in poverty in the Charlottesville area. One-fourth of Charlottesville’s families do not earn enough to be self-sufficient, and the vast majority of those families consist of women and their children. These fragile families face significant barriers to succeeding without safe housing and quality early childhood education. As a result, they often are excluded from the area’s economic opportunities.
“We have been working with 2GenCville leaders in Charlottesville for a couple years and have been increasingly impressed by their perseverance and commitment to changing the lives of low-income single moms in their area,” said Jeremiah President & CEO Gloria Perez. “We look forward to working with 2Gen Cville on this next phase of development.”
Over the next few months, Branch, in collaboration with an advisory committee, will explore possibilities for collaboration with existing Charlottesville nonprofits, from early childhood education partners to nonprofit housing organizations to programs that could refer young women.
The committee (member list below) of community leaders with expertise in higher education, early childhood education, business, employment and social services is assisting with the development of the program.
“Olivia has been a trusted anchor in Charlottesville’s nonprofit community for more than 25 years,” says Rydell Payne, Executive Director of local community development organization Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries (CALM) and an advisor to 2Gen Cville. “She is respected in the business and faith communities, and, as a native, knows how to effectively connect people to community needs. With these strengths, Olivia is perfectly positioned to help establish a firm foundation for Jeremiah Program.”
Branch has worked in the Charlottesville community for more than 25 years in media relations and fundraising. She worked with NPR affiliates WMRA and Virginia Public Radio, WVTF, and was Associate Director of Annual Giving at the University of Virginia School of Engineering. Branch has served on numerous broads, commissions and is a member of the Lockn’ Music Festival PR team.
About Jeremiah Program
Jeremiah Program prepares determined single mothers to excel in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces generational dependence on public assistance. The organization’s flagship campuses are located in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; housing for four families opened in Austin, TX, in fall 2013, and ground has been broken on an expanded campus that will welcome 35 additional families in late 2016. In addition, leaders in Fargo, ND–Moorhead, MN, are planning to break ground in spring 2016 on a campus to serve 20 families, and pilot programs are underway with Endicott College in Boston. More information is available at www.jeremiahprogram.org.
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*Jeremiah Program Charlottesville Advisory Committee
- Laura Merricks, Co-chair; Board Member of Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries
- Graham Scharf, Co-chair; Program Administrator, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
- Carey Bailey, Nursing Supervisor, Jefferson Area Child Health Improvement Program
- Bo Carrington, Principal, Seven Development
- DJ Carter, Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries
- Mary Coleman, Director of Annual Giving, The Covenant School
- Lori Cramer, Coordinator, Young Lives Charlottesville
- Ellen Foster, Intake Coordinator, New City Counseling
- Julie Jarrett, Operations Coordinator, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture
- Joanna Jennings, former Executive Director, The Arbor Charlottesville
- Rosalyn Keesee, Architect & Planner, Design Develop
- Kristin Szakos, City Councilor