Safe Passage / Camino Seguro is a non-profit organization located in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Their mission is to empower people and advance progress in a place of great poverty. They work primarily with residents of the largest garbage dump in Central America. Over 60,000 people rely on the dump for their survival, as they make less than $1 per person per day. Safe Passage works not only with children, but the entire family. They provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, and water, offer education for both children and parents, have an on-site infirmary, social entrepreneurship programs, social workers for abusive situations and emotional health, health education, and more! Safe Passage focuses on teaching Guatemalans how to be independent and empower them to have the ability to care for themselves, as well as transition out of their current living conditions.
Junior Achievement focuses on students K-12, teaching them the knowledge and skills that they need for financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness. This is crucial, as recent studies show that over 1/3 of parents do not discuss financial matters with their children, yet 84% of students say that their parents are their main source of information about money management. In addition, when students were tested on basic money knowledge, the average score was only 48.3%. Junior Achievement uses experiential learning to teach students financial literacy, and 76% of students indicate greater confidence in their own abilities after classes through Junior Achievement. JA also teaches students how to prepare for a career or starting their own business, and 92% of JA alumni report they feel as if they can successfully compete in a business environment compared to only 45% of non-JA participants. Junior Achievement believes that through these programs, they can increase economic education, thus bridging the gap and preparing young people for a more economically successful future.
Underdog Pet Rescue of Wisconsin
Underdog Pet Rescue is a local non-profit animal rescue. They focus on all companion animals, from cats and dogs to birds, bunnies, and more. All animals live in foster homes until they find their “furever” family, and they help home over 500 animals each year! In addition to helping home these animals, they provide vet services and training classes. They host many events around Madison to help fundraise, including “Coffee & Canines,” “Pints for Pups,” and “Puppy Parties!”
Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM)
Middleton Outreach Ministry, or MOM, is a local organization located in Middleton, Wisconsin that focuses on servicing Middleton, Cross Plains, and the west side of Madison. Their mission is to assist with ending homelessness and hunger and their organization provides food, clothing, housing assistance, emergency financial assistance, and senior special services – all free of charge! They also have a Mobile Food Pantry program, several food pantry gardens, provide back to school supplies, Christmas gifts, Thanksgiving baskets, and more!
Why Safe Passage?
One of our team members, Enrique, is from Guatemala. He moved here when he was 10 years old, but most of his family are still there, along with his childhood home and family farms. The life in Guatemala varies greatly from the life in the United States, and many families are crippled with lack of basic needs, such as food and water; disease; violence; lack of health care or education; and more. Safe Passage approaches this problem by not only providing for people’s basic needs but also giving them an education so they can learn how to support themselves independently. Enrique and his family have had the opportunity to work with Safe Passage in the past, and he’s passionate about continuing to do so! We are excited to work with this influential organization through Empowered Financial Management and give back to our communities — both locally and internationally — and help others around the world receive similar access to education and health care as we do.
How Do We Help?
In addition to supply drives, we sponsor a child and their family through Safe Passage. Through our sponsorship (this includes you – our clients who have allowed this to happen!), the following resources are provided to this family: daily healthy meals and snacks; monthly food bag for the family; classroom materials and school supplies; on-site medical clinic; schooling (including English, math, science and reading classes); access to their library and computer lab; one-on-one tutors; enrichment programs (such as sports, music and art); adult literacy classes; family wellness program; social workers for abuse, violence and instability; and a caring, nurturing environment for students and their families. We receive letters throughout the year from our sponsor child, which we send out to our clients.
In addition to our sponsorship, some of our team members travel to Guatemala to visit Safe Passage. Through these visits, we have gotten to know Junior personally. We were even able to take him to the zoo for his very first time! We have also visited the multiple Safe Passage sites and the garbage dump itself to visit with students and staff members at each location.
We have also created a partnership with a local organization, Yada Project, and have connected them to Safe Passage. As part of their adult program, Safe Passage teaches women how to make and sell jewelry from recycled materials. Yada Project then sells the jewelry locally in Madison and donates the proceeds back to purchase more jewelry. When our team visits Safe Passage, they bring back the jewelry Yada Project has ordered, since shipping from many third world countries is either not possible or far too expensive.
Meet Junior, the Empowered Financial Management sponsor child! He is 7 years old and has just graduated into kindergarten! He lives with his mother and younger brother. His favorite color is orange, he loves turtles and his favorite food is pizza! He says reading is difficult, but he loves to read. He also greatly enjoys his art classes. If he makes it through elementary and high school, he can earn five times more than he could without an education! In Guatemala, you must have an education to even be a housekeeper or serve at a restaurant. There is no easy access to education, so the poverty cycle harshly continues generation after generation. Through our support, we are encouraging Junior and his mother to continue his education in order to open up many opportunities for him!
Why Junior Achievement?
We are passionate about helping people achieve their financial goals and have confidence when it comes to their retirement. This preparation, however, doesn’t begin as one nears retirement, but from the beginning of one’s career! We think that it is extremely important to teach children at a young age how to manage their money so they can achieve greater financial success throughout their lifetime. In addition, we love entrepreneurship and the opportunity it provides — not only for the founders, but for those they employ, as well! Haley was involved in Junior Achievement when she was in high school, and her mentor was one the first people to notice her business skills. It began a chain of events that led her to where she is today, and she hopes she can help offer the same positive impact for other students!
How Do We Help?
Not only do we support Junior Achievement financially, but we love working directly with students of all ages! We teach classes for elementary students. In these classes, students learn the basics of financial literacy, what taxes are and how they fund our cities, how taxes help keep the city they live in safer, what the purpose of zoning in a city is, how entrepreneurs start businesses and factors they must take into consideration, and more! These smart students learn so quickly, and they’re eager to soak up as much as they can!
We also love working with high schoolers! This is the perfect time to begin preparing them for a career or teach them entrepreneurial concepts. We work with students to teach them career-readiness, such as teaching them how to interview for a role or create a career plan. Besides the career readiness classes, we also participate in the Titan Challenge. In this course that leads to state competitions, students compete in a computer-simulated complex economy. They work to develop their product and stand apart from the competition as they budget their research and development, marketing, employee, inventory storage and other costs. We coach the top student teams who have the opportunity to compete in a statewide competition with a chance at winning even more scholarships.
Middleton Outreach Ministry (MOM)
We believe that it’s important to support and help cultivate growth in all communities, but most importantly we should start with our own. Even in Madison, Wisconsin, there are members of our community that need support, and we feel it is our responsibility to partner with organizations focused on providing support for living essentials.
How Do We Help?
In addition to supporting MOM financially, we love to spend our time volunteering! All of our team members spend time volunteering at least once a month. Most of our volunteering occurs at the food pantry, assisting clients with shopping or stocking the shelves. We also participate in seasonal support programs, such as passing out Christmas gifts and collecting backpacks and school items needed for children in low-income families. We love our Madison/Middleton community, and we love having the opportunity to work with amazing organizations such as MOM!
Underdog Pet Rescue
Why Underdog Pet Rescue?
Our team is filled not only with people lovers, but animal lovers as well! Having the opportunity to support connecting these kind and deserving animals with loving families is such a rewarding experience, especially because we have experienced having a cherished animal family member ourselves! Our team has a total of almost 10 rescued pets, and that number continues to grow. Visit Underdog’s “Happy Tails” page to warm your heart with the happiest animals you might ever see!
How Do We Help?
Beyond financially supporting Underdog Pet Rescue, we love to spend our time with them, as well! We sponsor “Puppy Parties” and play with young puppies now ready for adoption! We have also sponsored these parties for other businesses, encouraging them to support Underdog or adopt a pet from them. In addition, we have an adoption program for our employees as our company contributes to the adoption fee of any animal adopted from Underdog Pet Rescue.
Pet Adoption Program
Empowered Financial Management has a Pet Adoption Program for clients and staff! We help cover the adoption fees from three local pet rescues: Underdog Pet Rescue, Angel’s Wish, and Ma, Paws, and Me! If you are interested in adoption, reach out to our team to learn more!