Empowered Women International, Inc. Overview
Target demographics: Low-income immigrant and refugee women
Direct beneficiaries per year: In 2009, EWI trained and provided support services to aproximately 50 women.
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: - Mentor an immigrant or refugee woman
- Help us find new markets for our art-based products that support women
- Host an EWI art and jewelry party to benefit the organization
- Introduce us to other community members to help us increase our outreach to a wider community
Geographic areas served: Washington, DC-MD-VA
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.
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.