Jeremiah Program expands to meet growing demand

Jeremiah Program is accelerating efforts to meet the growing demand across the country for its proven two-generation approach to reducing poverty. Over the next two years, the organization will increase the number of families served by nearly 70% and expand to several new communities.

LehmanTo realize this growth, the organization has named Jessica Lehman to a newly created position of Chief Operating Officer. With Lehman in this position, President & CEO Gloria Perez will have greater capacity to advise and assist communities in the pipeline, further Jeremiah’s voice in the national conversation on reducing poverty, and raise vital funds to serve more families. Lehman will provide leadership for campus operations, facilities, IT and HR.

Jeremiah recently established a new national headquarters in Northeast Minneapolis to allow for the organization’s growth.

“This is a time of enormous possibility for our organization as we seek to scale our program,” said Perez. “We are deeply grateful for the support of Ascend at the Aspen Institute and for key funders who are early investors in Jeremiah’s national expansion and innovation efforts: Annie E. Casey Foundation, William Randolph Hearst Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Foundation, Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, and Wells Fargo. Expanding our base of philanthropy partners is key to our ability to serve more families in need.”

New campuses coming in Austin, TX, and Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN
Construction is nearing completion on a new campus in Austin, TX, that will provide safe and affordable housing for 35 families, an on-site early childhood education center for up to 60 children, covered playground areas, classrooms for empowerment and life skills training, and staff offices. Families will move into the campus in early 2017.

In Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN, leaders are moving forward with plans to build a campus to serve 20 families on land donated by Catholic Health Initiatives and with major funding from the National Housing Trust, North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Otto Bremer Foundation, Federal Home Loan Bank Des Moines, and Roers Foundation. Once Jeremiah meets a $600,000 match for funding from the Scheels Foundation and a private family foundation, ground will be broken, estimated by summer 2017.

New executive director named to lead expansion in Rochester-Southeast MN
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After extensive assessment of need and capacity, Jeremiah is developing a comprehensive plan to launch its two-generation program in Rochester–Southeast, MN. JoMarie Morris has been named executive director of this effort.

Currently, 10% of the Olmsted County population is living in poverty, and the poverty rate is nearly double—19.3%—for single mother households. Olmsted County’s growing economy—due to the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative and increasing numbers of baby boomers leaving the work force—has resulted in a shortage of qualified workers. Jeremiah Program Rochester will both strengthen the economic vibrancy of the area and proactively help young families headed by single mothers walk the path from poverty to prosperity. The Otto Bremer Foundation has provided $50,000 in early funding.

Innovative approaches showing promising outcomes
As Jeremiah seeks to serve more families, more quickly, the organization is exploring innovative ways to deliver its two-generation model. In Boston, Jeremiah is working with a network of organizations to deliver the core elements of its holistic model. Jeremiah provides empowerment and life skills training and individual coaching at its home base in Dudley Square and assists moms with finding safe and affordable housing and quality early childhood education, if needed. At nearby Endicott College, mothers pursue a career-track, college education, benefiting from Endicott’s cohort style education, small classes, and supportive faculty and administration. Early results show high college retention and improved grades for the mothers, as well as significant program cost savings in a community where land for building new housing is scarce and costly.

On its established campuses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Jeremiah implemented two programmatic innovations this past year that are improving results for Jeremiah families: 1) Expanded career development services to help mothers find better fitting and higher paying jobs; 2) On-site mental health services to improve family wellness for long-term prosperity.

Exploration underway in several other communities
In 2017, Jeremiah will hire a community outreach consultant to lead exploration in Brownsville, NY. Jeremiah has been working with Community Solutions, a New York-based nonprofit that engages partners to measurably improve the health, safety and economic prosperity of the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. In Charlottesville, VA, a community outreach consultant is working with community leaders to explore the feasibility of bringing Jeremiah to the area.