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Spotlight Nonprofit: Helping poverty-stricken, single moms get their MoJo

LatinaLista — According to the U.S. Census, there are 157 million women in the United States (men number only 151.8 million). Of that total, 85.4 million are mothers; 9.9 million are single moms — the group most likely to live in poverty.

Over half of family poverty is single mother poverty. Poverty rates are higher for single mothers who are women of color. In 2010, the poverty rate was 50.3% for Hispanic single mothers, 47.1% for Black single mothers, and 32.7% for non-Hispanic White single mothers. Three fifths of poor single mothers were Black or Hispanic.

Over half (52%) of poor single mothers were employed in 2010 and 14% were employed full-time all year. A majority of those who were jobless the entire year had at least one child below age 6.

However, there are too few programs in the U.S. whose goal is to specifically help put these single moms to work so they can provide for their children, but there is one unique program that does just that — American MoJo.

Launched about two years ago by twin entrepreneurial brothers, the Boston-based American MoJo, with the tagline “Socially Responsible American Manufacturing,” has one mission — to help single moms escape poverty. The organization does this by creating sustainable jobs for the women so they can accomplish three objectives:

  • Receive better wages
  • Have a chance at a new career path
  • Get free from the prohibitive daycare costs that keep so many mothers from re-entering the work force.

MoJo, (get it: Moms and Jobs) does this by having a full-service manufacturing plant where the MoJo women make a variety of products that are sold online. Women’s fashion accessories, men’s outer wear and special “momtrepreneur” products top the list of items but MoJo’s real business comes from its logowear lines — promotional products and apparel for partner clients.

In addition, the leaders of the organization envision other ways to help these single moms:

MoJo is also integrating an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, where every one of the employees will be owners. In the future, the goal is to be able to help provide college education funds for MoJo moms’ children, and potentially build out a microfinancing strategy for those MoJo moms who’d like to try to start their own businesses.

Buying products from American MoJo, customers aren’t just guaranteed that what they buy is “Made in America” but that they truly are helping fellow Americans and doing their part to end poverty in the U.S.

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