Empowered Women International, Inc.

Rating: 4.9 stars   10 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture, Human Services, Immigration

Location: 1801 N. Quaker Lane Alexandria VA 22302 USA

Mission: Empowered Women International is a non-profit organization helpingimmigrant and refugee women living in the Greater DC Metro area integrate,participate as new citizens and become self-sufficient by using the arts as an economic driver and acatalyst for social and cultural integration.
Results: In recognition of its work and impact, Empowered Women International was selected in as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region” by the Catalogue of Philanthropy for 2007-2008. In 2009, EWI provided entrepreneurial training, career mentoring and support services to 50 immigrant and refugee women. In turn, graduates of our program served, taught and presented art and educational programs in schools and in community organizations. More than 1,500 people participated in our culturally diverse arts programs including presentations of multicultural exhibitions and performances highlighting the art and journeys of immigrant and refugee members of our communities. Over 120 volunteers donated 12,000 hours in service valued at $90,000. EWI has been featured in many local, national, and international media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Voice of America, and many others.  In addition to being selected as “one of the best small charities in the Greater Washington region” by the Catalogue for Philanthropy, EWI also received “The Enterprise Award 2008” from the same organization.  In 2009, EWI’s President Marga Fripp received “The Alex Award 2009” from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts. The Virginia House and Senate honored EWI with a Commendation for outstanding achievements in the community, and for promoting the arts and cultures of immigrant and refugee women artists.  In 2010, EWI was selected as a Finalist for “The 2010 Arts Build Communities Rising Star Award” by the Virginians for the Arts Foundation.
Target demographics: Low-income immigrant and refugee women
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2009, EWI trained and provided support services to aproximately 50 women.
Geographic areas served: Washington, DC-MD-VA
Programs:

EWI provides artistically talented immigrant and refugee womenwith career and micro-entrepreneur training, marketing services, marketlinkages, teaching and retail opportunities to help them generate income fromtheir art and become self-sufficient. Through our educational and outreachprograms, EWI’s immigrant and refugee women artists and artisans presentmulticultural visual and performing arts programs, and teach arts-basedworkshops and residences in public schools and community organizations.

Each year EWI trains and presents more than 200 local visual andperforming immigrant and refugee women at various venues across the GreaterWashington DC area. Most of these women are emerging artists living in isolation,earning minimum wages, lacking venues, resources and marketing skills toshowcase their art and tell their stories. EWI provides these artists withprofessional development courses, micro-entrepreneurial training, incomegenerating opportunities through retail, art marketing services, andopportunities to present multicultural art programs.

In 2008, 235 immigrant women benefited from our services, and morethan 1,500 people participated in our culturally diverse arts programs.

Through outreach programs,EWI brings its immigrant artists to teach and present multicultural artprograms to young children in public schools, and in the community tolow-income and disenfranchised audiences. This year, EWI artists offered aseries of art educational programs such as: storytelling, bookmaking, jewelrydesign and art marketing classes to help women ex-offenders served by Friendsof Guest House, to develop vocational and life skills to reintegrate andparticipate in the society. Additionally, EWI artists presented arteducation programs to hundreds of children in elementary and middle schools in Arlington, Alexandria and Washington, DCarea.

While many organizationsprovide much needed social and legal services to immigrant communities, EWI isthe only non-profit organization in Northern Virginiathat focuses on art to empower and bolster immigrant women’s participation inthe economic and civic life of our community. Our services are distinctive and complementary to the immigrant serviceproviders in the community allowing us to forge effective collaborations andpartnerships.

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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I joined the Board of Empowered Women Internaitional in January, 2010. I knew from my experience with Marga Fripp that I was embarking on a first class journey of volunteerism and service for this extraordinary organization. I have never met anyone like Marga - her brilliance, her perseverence, her ability to motivate and lead. Empowered Women International, under the steady hand of Marga, has accomplished, with very few resources, more than is accomplished by much larger and more well-funded non-profit. Her work ethic is to never give up and to never stop reaching for the gold ring; her ability to connect with people has enabled her to reach out and assist hundreds and hundreds of immigrant women artists in the greater DC area. Her reach also extends throughout the community to churches, other non-profits, schools and shelters. Marga and EWI don't see limitations - they see opportunities that sometimes require mastery of an obstacle course, a challenge that Marga overcomes over and over again.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

training of immigrant women to become contributing members of the community. I have taught skills to women who have then gone on to create products that provide them with a revenue stream, albeit small - a very important first step for these women.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

fund it more strongly. The only thing that EWI lacks is sufficent funding to carry out its remarkable mission to the fullest extent possible.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

Marga Fripp has engaged with me through my full time job working with international visitors invited here by the State Dept.

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

To continue to grow the number of immigrant women it can help to become self-sufficient.

What is its top priority in the long run?

To expand into other geographic areas, including internationally, with its programs of training, leadership and business development, and mentoring for immigrant women in need.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 4 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

I went to EWI hoping to learn how to market my art & services; I learned that and so much more, from defining my art business concept to being aware of the legal aspects of the art industry. Marga and her staff are strong and out-spoken, honest people always willing to help us members in any way. Their passion and innovative ideas made me discover the hidden potentials of my passion in the arts and I thank them greatly for that!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Due to my experience with EWI I became more aware of my business identity and was able to pull and retain more clients through out the year then ever before. Now I find myself opening my first photo-base art consultation office; thanks to their support.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

11 people found this review helpful

I've never felt more vital than working with this amazing organization. I've witnessed Empowered Women International's (EWI)incredibly effective programs-- transform immigrant and refugee women from shy,confused, overwhelmed newcomers to confident, skilled, empowered women artisans and business entrepreneurs who are eager to fully participate and contribute to American culture and business. I'm excited to spread the word. EWI makes it's money go farther than any other organization I've ever known. Ninety-Seven percent of every dollar goes to directly benefit EWI women beneficiaries! We need to grow the Board,friends and volunteers,raise more community awareness about how life changing our programs can be. EWI needs more sustaining donors. (Even if people gave $10-$25 each month)It would make such a huge difference for EWI to serve more refugee and immigrant women who are struggling in our area. I encourage people to volunteer with EWI--At the same time you help to transform a life--your life will be transformed as well. \

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've served on the board, coordinated and participated in benefit concerts. coached EWI women on presenting stronger body language and public speaking skills. Observed first hand as the women blossom in confidence and skills.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get more funding to pay our incredible staff a respectable wage for their efforts. Secure more grants and funding for our programs in order to reach more women.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

meeting wonderful international women and developing better understandings of different cultures and sharing ideas.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

absolutely outstanding, highly talented, motivated and sincere in their dedication to the EWI mission to empower immigrant and refugee women to a more rewarding and fulfilling life here in the U.S.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

absolutely change the world! Immigrant and refugee women fully integrating into society, raising their families in a more economically secure world, surrounded by a culturally rich heritage.

Ways to make it better...

If I had more time to share with them.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funding

One thing I'd also say is that...

working with this organization can uplift and empower the lives of many--including one's self!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

Empowewred Women International is an amazing not-for-profit that gives immigrant and refugee women training in porfessional developemntand entrepreneurial skills. A mostly volunteer staff, is headed up by a dynamic executive director who inspires others to volunteer to be become mentors to the program participants, to volunteer to do lead training sesssions, or to host house parties to raise scholarship funds for future particiapnts. It is a very rewarding organization to contribute to.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

serving for the past six months on the board. It is a very rewarding board to be on as EWI empowers so many women to become self sufficient.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

Empowered Women International provides a much-needed service to immigrant and refuge women in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. EWI's founder and President, Marga Fripp, began this very impactful non-profit in 2002 when she herself was an immigrant in very difficult conditions and with no English ability and few, if any financial resources. She did this out of empathy for other women in her same situation. Today, EWI's business and art marketing training programs graduate about 30 women a year, approximately 300 since its founding 8 years ago. My dedication to EWI springs from my total commitment to Ms. Fripp, whose dedication and perseverance in spite of all odds have allowed her to establish EWI as a leading, if small, supporter of down and out immigrant women. She is an inspiration to everyone she meets, in particular to the immigrant women themselves. They come to her when they have nothing and they graduate from her programs with business skills and means of generating income and contributing positively to the community. EWI is an amazing organization, with which I intend to maintain a relationship for years to come.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Attending graduation ceremonies as the clients complete their course of training; teaching classes to low-skilled but determined and talented immigrant womenl seeing what Marga Fripp and the board accomplish every week in terms of outreach and planning

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the size and of what is a small board but comprising a stellar and dedicated group of professionals

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

My experience with Empowered Women International has been exemplary. I work with an impressive group of professionals on the board and a stellar, if small, staff. There is complete synergy and harmony and a confluence of goals among all of us.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Dedicated, intelligent and creative, industrious, and completely in sync with the goals of the organizations. Marga Fripp, founder and President, is a tremendous motivator and delegator. She inspires all of us continually.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Expand across the region, recruit additional immigrant women, hire staff to run multiple offices and to provide training courses. The services of this organization are key to helping its clients to become productive members of the community.

Ways to make it better...

I cannot think of anything that could make my experience better, except to find funding sources more quickly.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Fundraising; adding staff; networking (although the staff and board do a terrific job now of networking and outreach)

One thing I'd also say is that...

This is the finest non-profit I have ever run across or worked with, and I have known many. Marga Fripp deserves special recognition for her dedication, brilliance and compassion.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

I provide professional development services on a pro bono basis because I love the mission of EWI and what EWI stands for - empowering women to reach their highest capabilities while celebrating the rich cultural diversity of the Washington, DC, metro area. It is amazing how much EWI has been able to accomplish with limited funding; but EWI cannot indefinitely sustain their services and maintain their talented staff without additional and increased funding sources. I believe strongly that EWI has amazing programs and a sound empowerment model, and I want to help EWI succeed in getting the funding needed to maintain and expand their services.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the graduation ceremony from the Training For Success program. The women graduating exuded confidence and a professional demeanor and seemed more than ready to market themselves and their work and be successful in their endeavors.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

13 people found this review helpful

Marga has been incredibly innovative in her training program and counseling for some of the most disadvantaged in this area. Truly an inspiration to us all! EWI has brought together a wide range of citizens who would never have met any other way in order to pool their skills to help our underserved immigrant population.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have witnessed first hand the transformation of our immigrant members. They will give you all testimony as to how important EWI has been in their lives...I know they tell us often how much our work has meant to them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find them more funding to expand their work.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching the transformation of our immigrant women.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

first rate and dedicated.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do amazing things. They stretch every dollar even better than any other group I have ever been involved with.

Ways to make it better...

I had more time to give.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, funding, funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Everytime any other group I work with whines about this or that I hold up EWI as a group that does so much with so little...they are trend setters and great role models for other non profits.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

EWI delivers exceptionally high quality programs and provides a holistic suite of much needed services to immigrant and refugee women in the greater DC area, using the arts as a means of civic participation and professional development. Their programs are well-planned and well-executed, and generate a significant impact on the community despite EWI's relatively small size. I attribute this X-factor to the talent, energy and commitment of EWI staff and volunteers.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Both direct feedback from program participants and through personal observation of EWI programs and events.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-5-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

My first involvement was in 2005 when a friend offered to perform in concert as a fund-raiser for EWI, performing his own piano compositions. At that time I helped with tickets, sold CDs of my friend's music to benefit EWI, and helped with food and drinks at the post-performance reception. Since then I have continued to help with receptions at EWI events, or have attended events to support the many women whose artistic endeavors (painting, jewelry, scarves, and other artwork) EWI sponsors. In talking to these women, I have learned that many would have no outlet for their work were it not for EWI, and the EWI provides them with emotional support in this new country.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As an American who has not traveled to most of the countries from which the women who work is sponsored came, I have gained an understanding of the hardships many of these women faced in their countries, as well as their experiences here as immigrants.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

The BEST organization, plays the most vital role in the lives of the ones who need it - immigrant artist women. EWI helps those women find and use their talent, promote them, give them direction and inspiration! EWI is also a wonderful source of business ideas!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Multiple artistic venues, I was part of an exhibit in one of DC's museums, which was an honor, thanks to EWI

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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