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Nonprofit Overview

Mission: WANDA breaks the cycle of intergenerational poverty one single mother at a time. WANDA believes wholeheartedly in the capabilities of low-income, employed single mothers and envisions a world where they all become financially self-sufficient and achieve the American Dream. WANDA provides education, and a matched savings program over three years. After that time, the participants graduate with one of three life changing assets: college education funds, retirement savings or the purchase of a first-time home. WANDA strongly believes in the asset-building approach because assets are not easily consumed, but rather grow in value and build wealth, allowing all WANDA participants to take control over their finances and build a bright future.

Results: In the last five years: WANDA savers have accumulated over $400,000 in savings! WANDA participants have a 95% retention and graduation rate. WANDA graduates have invested in the following: 20 investments in college education, 8 retirement savings, 5 homes and 4 new businesses Over 70% of Moms report greater understanding of credit and budgeting, setting financial goals, and making better decisions overall Over 70% have taken steps to improve their careers 65% of their children are saving Moms are benefiting from the community: 94% report learning from other Moms and 96% report learning from the donors

Programs: WANDA's program involves education, networking, community building and a matched savings over three years. Single mothers apply to the program and commit to regular attendance at a financial management training, and monthly seminars on financial and professional development in the first year. In the second and third year, participants are invited to an advanced curriculum that builds on skills developed in the first year. Participants commit to regular savings over three years. Those savings are matched 2:1. At the end of three years, the Moms invest all funds in college education for themselves or their children, retirement savings, or a first-time home.

Community Stories

15 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Perla N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I attended a WANDA event and met some of the single mothers in the program. I was really impressed by the determination of these women and what they said about how the program helped them to save money towards building assets and make important personal connections. WANDA also has very smart and passionate group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping the program participants succeed.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I decided to become involve with WANDA as a volunteer because I highly value the work they do for the community. Particularly, I appreciate the population they serve, single low-income mothers. I was raised by my mother and father who both were raised by strong single-mothers. My grandmothers struggled to raise their children in poverty. Nonetheless, these women never gave up. They modeled for others great strength, self-determination, warmth, compassion, resourcefulness, to name a few. I believe that WANDA is such a great resource for single-mothers who are struggling to be financially self-sufficient and seeking to break the cycle of poverty. I am eager to let many others in the SF Bay Area know of this wonderful organization and hope that all single-mothers in the area take advantage of this great resource.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined WANDA as a donor and am involved with planning events and activities to attract and retain additional donors and events that strengthen bonds between single moms and donor/supporters.
I am a supporter of WANDA because I believe that women and single moms are often faced with limited opportunity. I like being part of an organization that has a very visible and immediate impact on the lives of single mothers in our community through education and a savings match. it makes me feel great to be able to provide some support to single moms and give them a hand up!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

WANDA is so much more than a financial savings program - it's a group of dedicated participants and donors who have built a true community that goes way beyond the financial benefits. It equips single mothers with the tools and skills they need to break the cycle of poverty, and provides a network of emotional support that we all need but don't always have access to. Together, these women are making huge strides that far exceeds what they thought was possible alone. I am proud to be a WANDA volunteer and to be a part of an organization that is truly making a positive impact in the lives of women in my local community.

1 Dianne G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer at WANDA as well as an employer of two women who participate in the WANDA program for the past few years. I have seen these women grow in so many ways. Through the community that they found at WANDA and the training they receive at the monthly seminars, these women are finding their voice and making positive changes in their lives. They come into the program with full time jobs, but WANDA takes them to the next step. One of the moms finally had the courage to move out of a bad living situation and find her own place, and another managed to secure a full scholarship at a private middle school for her daughter. WANDA has tapped into something that is truly making a difference in the lives of single moms.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I became involved in WANDA after looking for a non-profit that helps those most in need at a local level; single mothers. WANDA's programs assist single working mothers in creating financial stability and help them to break the cycle of poverty and create a much stronger future for themselves and for their children. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that impacts people directly in my community, and am honored to know many of the remarkable women that WANDA is mentoring. It is incredible to see these women take the tools that WANDA offers them and become empowered and start realizing their goals for themselves and their children.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Perla Mendoza, 37 yrs old with a son whom just turned 18 yrs.old and he will be a graduate of class 2013 of San Mateo High School in May 2013. As a single-mom struggling paycheck to paycheck, deciding which bills to pay as priority and not to mention the daily life of a Mom with food on the table and clean laundry. I felt alone, discouraged and confused. WANDA gave me an opportunity to feel self-worth and hope for myself and my son. When I started the orientation classes I came to realize that I am not the only Mom to feel outside of today's society. I choose to put the IRA account towards funding for my son's college education. That decision alone gave back that hope and small goals to achieve in order to confirm that I do belong in this society . WANDA represented to me STRENGTH and GRATITUDE. I looked forward to learning a new tool to add to my toolbox that was used when I needed to step up and make a confident life decision. Tools that I will always be able to use and depend on when the time comes. I learned how to make a prioritys list, save money, budget with food and connect with other struggling mothers who are going through the same daily issues of a single-mom. For that I will always be forever grateful for having WANDA apart of my life

1 Sheila J. H.

Donor

Rating: 5

I had been looking for a non-profit organization that focused on issues that had personal meaning to me and that used donor $ wisely. When I saw a brochure about WANDA, I resonated deeply with poverty relief as a cause. Then when I met the Executive Director and some of the Board Members at the 3rd Door (a fantastic gym/restaurant on Lytton & High St in Palo Alto), I was really impressed by their intense commitment to the women that are in their asset building and financial skill-building program. I also liked the fact that WANDA was helping women around the SF Bay Area. Really though, I was most convinced about WANDA as an organization worthy of donation, when I began talking with a couple of the women that are in the WANDA program. Both talked about what they had learned about saving, wise spending, and how WANDA was helping them toward their long-term goals with a matched savings plan. After those conversations, I knew that this was a non-profit that was successfully contributing to poverty relief and changing lives in the SF Bay Area.

2 Srijana A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am amazed at the results WANDA has produced in such a short period of time. I have volunteered and interacted with WANDA moms and did a career advice session few years ago. I was blown away by their stories but most importantly by the single mothers who were absolutely determined to change their future for the sake of their children. WANDA gives them the tool to succeed no matter what their financial goals might be. I know several moms who are now able to save for their children's college education and also buy homes. One important aspect that WANDA provides, which I think is equally important, is the access to a network of women who are their support system. It creates a much needed community for single mothers.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Yesenia Ramirez, I am 26 years old single mother to a 6 year old boy. I joined Wanda two years ago, and I love it and would recommend it to any other single mother. I never imagined how useful saving money could be for me and my son’s future. Because of these women and the seminars I’ve learned a lot. Thank you!