NEW OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL FOR WOMEN INC.

Empowering Appalachian Women

Berea, KY   |  www.nosw.org

Mission

The mission of the New Opportunity School for Women, Inc. is to improve the educational, financial, and personal circumstances of under-resourced women in the Appalachian region.

Ruling year info

1998

Executive Director

Sr. Robbie Pentecost

Main address

204 Chestnut St

Berea, KY 40403 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

61-1323868

NTEE code info

Adult, Continuing Education (B60)

Employment Procurement Assistance and Job Training (J20)

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Kentucky contains some of the most economically distressed counties in the country, and Appalachian women in particular face daunting barriers to creating stable and rewarding lives, including limited financial resources, substance use disorder, domestic violence, lack of job skills, and poor emotional and mental health. Appalachian women are often cast in the role of caregiver, and the number of mothers and grandmothers raising children alone has increased with the opioid epidemic. But when women begin to discover their own strengths and abilities, they improve not only their own circumstances but the circumstances of their children and their communities. NOSW seeks to foster an ongoing relationship with women. Our graduates volunteer with the program and mentor other women. They achieve career goals, and some attend college. These benefits extend to their children – increasing interest and success in college – and to their communities.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Two-Week Residential Program

This immersive two-week program equips women with the tools they need to define, pursue and achieve their goals. Over 90% of the women we serve have incomes of $10,000 or less. They face a lack of job skills, substance use disorder, domestic violence, poor mental health, and a lack of access to technology. Women attend our program when they are ready to make a significant life change. NOSW invites up to 12 women to our two-week residential program, where we focus on self-esteem, Appalachian literature and creative writing, math and computer skills, professional skills, leadership, and personal development and wellness. This holistic approach gives women tools to grow in every area of their lives and achieve short- and long-term goals. Beyond our formal programming, woman become part of a Sisterhood of support and have access to scholarships and dental and vision assistance.

Population(s) Served
Women
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people

A two-week residential program isn’t realistic for all women. Feedback from women desiring change, but unable to leave home, led us to develop our three-day non-residential program, which is offered in their home communities or onine. The focus is on integrative health, building confidence and exploring goals and how to achieve them. We also work with women to connect them with resources in their communities. This program may serve as an introduction or stepping stone toward attending the two-week residential program. NOSW is partnering with organizations throughout the region to serve as host sites.

Population(s) Served
Women
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people

Each year we take 8-10 graduates on an intensive four-day retreat designed to boost confidence, identify obstacles to their moving forward, and revisit goal-setting so they can continue pursuing long-term goals. They peer-mentor one another and deepen their relationships while providing needed support. The graduates also practice mindfulness and spend time in nature.

Population(s) Served
Women
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people

NOSW works actively in the Appalachian region to provide follow-up services for graduates including individualized support, funds for dental work and scholarships for higher education. Additionally, outreach programs and information sessions are facilitated in many of the region's isolated communities. NOSW encourages graduates to actively seek roles in their local schools, government and communities.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people
Women

We offer a range of online programs, including three-day non-residential sessions and shorter workshops on wellness, education, mindfulness, artistic expression and employment. Both NOSW graduates and new participants can attend any of our free online offerings.

Population(s) Served
Women
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people
Women
Economically disadvantaged people
Unemployed people

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Of women served from 2022-2024:
• 90% will recognize the interconnectedness of physical, mental, emotional health.
• 60% will report behavior changes that prioritize health.
• 50% will benefit from financial literacy.
• 50% of graduates report feeling better financially prepared for their future.
• 55% of graduates explore opportunities to further their education through pursuing a degree, certificate, GED, or other certification.
• 75% report more confidence in their preparedness for workforce readiness.
• 60% of graduates and participants report being engaged in their local communities.
• 50% of graduates from 2022-2024 will continue to engage with NOSW programming and the NOSW community.

Our Overarching Program Strategies
1. Present a comprehensive approach to health that elevates awareness of the myriad aspects of wellbeing.

2. Develop skills that bolster financial literacy: budgeting/financial management classes, sessions on buying a house, debt management, building a savings account

3. Provide education and training in the interpersonal/intrapersonal skills needed for career development.

4. Empower women to be leaders, advocates & mentors: strengths-based leadership development; how to speak to elected leaders; work with partners

5. NOSW is a conduit for networking among graduates and service organizations: orgs that support women; graduates supporting one another; staff connection to women

Our Programs:
• Two-Week Residential Program: Classes and internships that promote self-esteem, culture, leadership, workforce skills, and health and wellness.
• Three-Day Outreach Program: Classes that promote self-esteem, self-efficacy, health and wellness, and motivation for change.
• Online Workshops: Presentations in areas of focus that are drawn from our core curriculum.
• Graduate Group Meetings: Monthly ongoing outreach and support meetings for program participants and graduates.
• Follow-Up Communication and Mentoring: One-on-one coaching for women in addressing life’s challenges and meeting their goals.
• Graduate Leadership Retreat: Refinement of skills , at a graduate leadership level.
• Graduate Scholarships: Funds to cover education-related expenses, including tuition, books, transportation, and child care.
• Graduate Dental Fund: Assistance to offset the cost of dental procedures.
• Foundation Scholarships: Funds to cover education-related expenses, including tuition, books, transportation, and child care.

We have a 30-year history of working with Appalachian women, with demonstrated success. We are the only organization doing this work for this population in this region. We understand the culture that influences women’s choices, their development and how they navigate change. We ground our work in these values: honor diversity, promote self-discovery, recognize choice, display mutual respect, practice kindness, and celebrate each woman’s beauty. Unlike other programs that meet a specific need in a particular moment, NOSW seeks to foster an ongoing relationship with women throughout their development and lifespan. We emphasize peer-to-peer learning and mentorship so that as women become stronger, more confident and skilled, they help other women grow. Many of our graduates volunteer with the program and become mentors in their own communities. They go on to achieve career goals, and some attend college and earn degrees. These benefits extend beyond the women to their children — increasing interest and success in college — and to their communities.

This year our program will celebrate 35 years of serving women. We have a full-time staff of five, our largest staff ever, and this year we expect to serve women in approximately 250 instances:

-24 women in two residential sessions
-36 women in six community-based sessions
-an average of eight women in each monthly graduate support group for a total of 96
-an average six in each of six standalone workshops for a total of 36
-six in our graduate retreat
-20 at our graduate reunion
-25 through our dental and scholarship funds

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve under-resourced women who are ready to make significant life changes. They live in Appalachian counties in Kentucky and sometimes states such as Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. Over 90% of the women we serve have incomes of $10,000 or less when they first attend our program. In our last residential session, 50% of participants had no income at all. Originally the program served middle-aged women, but we now serve women of all ages. Several are in recovery from substance use disorder, and these women often mentor other women in recovery. Many also have experienced abuse or oppression by a partner. Mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety, are common. Yet our women are remarkably reflective and resilient.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Monthly graduate support group meetings. Conversations with our staff.,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Feedback from women desiring change, but unable to leave home, led us to develop our three-day community-based non-residential program. The focus is on integrative health, building confidence and exploring goals and how to achieve them. We also work with women to connect them with resources in their communities. In 2020, when we couldn't meet with women in person, we developed online programs that enabled us to serve even more women, and now we offer a full schedule of online programs.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We stay in touch with women after they participate in our program and invite their input and involvement. Some graduates serve as house sisters for the next generation of women, and others serve on our board. They attend our monthly graduate support groups, our annual graduate reunion, and those who have become leaders attend our Graduate Leadership Retreat. Together as women—staff, board and graduates—we strive to meet women where they are and give them what they need. We are committed to being responsive, holistic and always woman-centered.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    Many of our women do not have access to reliable technology.,

Financials

NEW OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL FOR WOMEN INC.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

NEW OPPORTUNITY SCHOOL FOR WOMEN INC.

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Christie Green

Cumberland Valley District Health Department

Term: 2016 - 2022

Christie Green, MPH, MCHES

Cumberland Valley District Health Department

Mary Absher

[email protected] Graduate 2005

Sam Cole

Berea College

Latona Gamble

NOSW Graduate 2014

Zinnia Hensley

Berea Police Department

Karen Hurley

4C for Children-retired

Bridget McCormack-Finley

Christian Appalachian Project

Leslie Smart

CHI Saint Joseph Health Fdn

Alys Smith

Better2Mediate

Leslie Combs

LAC Consulting

Angie Weaver

City of Williamsburg

Yoko Nogami

Appalachian Artisan Center

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/31/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/31/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.