Raised by a single mother, our founders — the seven Stanley Brothers plus their four sisters — grew up with a deep personal understanding of the demands placed on many women in our society. That’s why Charlotte’s Web is proud to help create opportunities for women to succeed. The Women’s Bean Project is doing just that: providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.
Change a woman’s life, you change her family’s life as well.
The concept is simple and yet not as common as it should be. Instead of temporary help while struggling to get back on their feet, The Women’s Bean Project is committed to teaching these women new skills by allowing them to make a wage and cultivating a hefty dose of self-worth as they go. That’s what The Women’s Bean Project provides.
While volunteering at a women’s shelter, founder Jossy Eyre noticed that while there was value in short term help, lasting change might be better achieved if women were given the ability to learn how to support themselves and achieve a sense of fulfillment, accomplishment, and — eventually — independence and self-sufficiency. The WBP provides skills-based education and 6-9 months of transitional employment so that women can leave with an improved quality of life. All graduates of the program move on to other jobs in the community and with a greater understanding of their own value, and 93% of these formerly chronically unemployed women are still employed a year later.
The Women’s Bean Project provides:
- Opportunities — for women to discover capabilities, talents, and interests in the workforce
- Service — helping others achieve a basic human right — to live a healthy life
- Empowerment – allowing women to grow into roles within the social enterprise
- Sustainability – lasting change for them and their families
- Community – a safe community at work, since often their family and friends cannot provide the support they need.
Charlotte’s Web understands the value of community. As we’ve observed through our support of another charitable partner of ours, The Realm of Caring, the ability to meet like-minded people who understand your struggle is not just helpful, it can be the crutch needed to lift you up and keep you moving while at the lowest part of your life.
What started from $500 dollars of Jossy’s own seed money, some beans, and the first two women, has grown to be a social enterprise that produces a full line of easy-to-make prepackaged goods (like cornbread, spice blends, 10 bean soup mix, lentil soup, brownie mix, chili mix to name a few – yum!) that are distributed through 1,000 stores nationwide and online at womensbeanproject.com.
How they do it:
- Stabilize women with housing, childcare, insurance, if needed.
- Move to production – work there 60% of the time and attend classes (computer classes, literacy classes, etc.) 40% of the time.
- Every woman learns production. She can choose to continue working in that capacity or move on to other areas, but they still attend skill-building classes.
- Forklift license – Still a male-dominated position, women have the option to obtain this license, which makes her a more desirable candidate when looking for a new job and will increase her future starting pay.
- Each woman is paired with a mentor during her time at WPB. Often this relationship extends after they leave the program.
How Charlotte’s Web Supports the Women’s Bean Project
The value WBP provides is real, lasting, and needed. As a fellow manufacturer (Charlotte’s Web extracts, bottles, and ships our hemp-derived CBD oil), we understand these business realities and challenges faced by WBP. Charlotte’s Web has supported the Women’s Bean Project with hours of consulting on automation and manufacturing equipment from our in-house manufacturing experts. We are also helping them to purchase new, automated equipment.
Inspired by the same Benjamin Franklin quote that was the cornerstone of how we built Charlotte’s Web –“do well by doing good” — the Women’s Bean Project is more than a charity that we support, it’s a business world kindred spirit. As businesses both dedicated to changing lives, we look forward to more ways to help women laboring to transform their lives and the organization that’s making it happen.