The Mission of WEI

Mission Statement:

The Women's Empowerment Initiative is dedicated to impacting the lives of women disadvantaged by social or economic circumstances. The Initiative will enable women to enhance and develop their quality of life and become architects of their future by presenting opportunities for spiritual, educational, and economic transformation. The Initiative is committed to empowering women, thereby strengthening families and transforming communities.


Women's Empowerment as a Catalyst for Re-engagement and Community Transformation

The Women's Empowerment initiative is a 501(c)3 organization organized under the auspices of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, a constituent organization of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Services of the Initiative are offered to women without regard to race or ethnicity, income or educational level, or religious affiliation.

The administrative coordination services of the Initiative are housed in West Philadelphia at 50th and Aspen Streets (19139). A second site for service delivery is Oxford Presbyterian Church in the Mt. Airy section of Philadelphia. The services and impact of the Initiative, though, are without bounds and will be operational at many sites and through many organizations throughout metropolitan Philadelphia. The Reverend Ethelyn Taylor, a well-know Mt. Airy community activist and advocate, has enthusiastically endorsed the Initiative.

This initiative emerged from a confluence of interrelated challenges faced by inner city congregations and other faith-based community organizations searching for ways to faithfully respond to their Christian witness and women thriving to offset ravishes of the feminization of poverty. The proposed partnership between congregations, women, and single parent, female heads-of-household committed to spiritual and social well-being and justice offers the City of Philadelphia a unique platform for public-private partnerships. This Initiative has as its focus congregational, organizational and community transformation, women's empowerment, and public policy advocacy.

Ed Gehres, former Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, reminds us: "We Christians and especially Presbyterians are very good at providing ministries of compassion. In the future, we need to provide ministries of empowerment, thus putting ministries of compassion out of business." This multidimensional ministry will seek to create a platform for community transformation and empowerment.

Foundational Premise

The Initiative is a vehicle to empower women in disadvantaged circumstances to overcome systemic obstacles and to realize greater self-sufficiency and wholeness through acknowledgment and utilization of dormant, yet, innate, God-given strengths. The Women's Empowerment Center was founded on the premise that:

  1. When we empower single head-of-household women, we strengthen the family.
  2. When we strengthen the family, we facilitate and improve opportunities for their children. Thereby:
  3. Empowering women, strengthening the family and improving opportunities for children are catalysts for positively impacting the future of the community.

The presbytery's existing Head Start Learning Tree organization represents 11 locations serving 700 children; the parents of these children, primarily single female heads-of-household, are among the targeted client population of the Initiative.

Revenue Generating Capacity

A unique feature of the Initiative is its revenue generating capacity. Core components are designed and structured to be self-sustaining, revenue generating entities: The alternative staffing agency and the home ownership initiatives will be available for utilization by those women directly associated with the Initiative as well as marketed to the general public in Philadelphia. These components, with proper incubation, will generate sufficient revenue to supplement and defray the cost of other vital support services offered by the Initiative.

Revitalization and Re-engagement

Through partnering in the Initiative, congregations and other faith-based community organizations will have a viable ministry initiative to reengage their respective communities. Opportunities include, but are not limited to:

  • Create a public presence in communities where sanctuary is located through working and ministering with committed adult members of the community.
  • Share human resources and talents within the congregation; and, train leadership and identify new leadership.
  • Network and leverage with other organizations of mutual concern.
  • Provide missional empowerment opportunities.
  • Create an Academy for volunteers, interns, and community organizing training.
  • Build bridges and cross-racial and class barriers.
  • Create or strengthen public-private partnerships and build social capital.
  • Move the congregation outside of the building and into the community.
  • Create a new ministry curriculum.
  • Create public policy to enhance the well-being of women and children.