Wings for Widows

Guiding Widows to Financial Wellness

Wayzata, MN   |  https://wingsforwidows.org

Mission

Losing a beloved spouse is one of life's most difficult experiences, regardless of your financial circumstances. But for some, it can be financially devastating. Widows work with a financial advisor to address all the practical matters and they receive personalized care from a widow-volunteer who has been down the same path, at no cost. We help new widows navigate the financial and legal complexities of early widowhood. We empower new widows to gain control over their finances to smooth the transition from heartbreak and loss to a future of hope and possibility. Emotional healing after a loss is tied to financial well-being. The sooner a widow can gain control over her financial situation, the sooner she is likely to take control of the other parts of her life.

Ruling year info

2018

Executive Director

Christopher Bentley

Main address

290 Peavey Road

Wayzata, MN 55391 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-3910357

NTEE code info

Single Parent Agencies/Services (P42)

Financial Counseling, Money Management (P51)

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

According to the 2010 census data, 9% of the female population are widowed with almost one-half of adult women widowed by age 74. Widows outnumber widowers by four to one. Clearly, the need for widows to live, survive, and thrive following the loss of a spouse is considerably greater for women than men. It is common for one of the spouse's to have taken the backseat regarding household finances, banking, and investments, for most if not all the marriage - most often this is the woman. Therefore, there may be many financial duties to learn and/or to take control of as a new widow. During one of the – if not the – most difficult and stressful events in a woman’s life, there is still an estate to settle, bills to pay, benefits to obtain, and numerous issues to address that seem overwhelming. Joint decisions are now her own. Who can she trust in this greatest time of need? Who can she turn to with financial or legal or tax questions? How does she avoid victimization?

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?

Financial Coaching for Widows

This program provides financial coaching to new widows experiencing financial trauma by pro bono CFP financial coaches.

Population(s) Served
Families
Widows and widowers
Women
Men

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of clients served

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our clients are the "newly widowed," defined as a widow experiencing the loss of a spouse within 24 months.

Number of one-on-one coaching sessions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We provide a number of services, including full-service one-on-one financial and legal counseling for new widows.

Number of new website visitors

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The website became active in March 2018, and was upgraded later in the year for 2019. We did not begin using this metric until 2019.

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our volunteers are comprised of experienced widows and financial professionals. We also include our board members.

Hours of volunteer service

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We began tracking this in 2019. Estimate used for 2018.

Total dollars received in contributions

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Donor contributions.

Total dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Grants awarded.

Number of Facebook followers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Social media reach.

Number of widows completing the 3-Minute Assessment survey.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This progress check can be taken by any widow at any time, but was designed to check on the progress of a widow following her loss. The algorithm provides a score that is provided to the widow.

The number of widows using WidowADVICE or WidowTALK services.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Women and girls, Adults

Related Program

Financial Coaching for Widows

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

These services were implemented in 2019.

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.

Wings for Widows fills an important and long over-looked need in the recovery of new widows as they transition from heartbreak and loss to a future of hope and possibility. Our proprietary services help relieve financial stress and worry so that the widow can focus on her grief. We provide a critical component in the greiving process.

If nearly 1,000 widows are being created a year in our 8 most populated counties in Minnesota, ranked 21st in the U.S. by population, there are tens of thousands of widows being created each year across the U.S. Our goal is to assist the widows in our local geography, but eventually to assist new widows across the U.S., with a presence in all major markets.

Wings for Widows provides one-on-one counseling to new widows. Every person’s situation is different, so each receives counseling tailored to her circumstances. Generally, we help “organize, prioritize, and stabilize” her financial situation.

Wings for Widows provides a thorough review and assessment of a widow's financial situation encompassing nine areas: financial, legal, tax, health insurance, life insurance, property and casualty insurance, social security, household administration and charitable gifting. We make sure the decedent's estate is settled and asset ownership is transferred.

We provide each widow personalized plans of action – a “roadmap” of essential must-dos and important tasks. Then we empower our widows to use their roadmap, and move from financial uncertainty to financial order. In doing so, she gains clarity, control, and confidence.

For instance, there’s a “benefits clock” that begins ticking the day a spouse dies. We work efficiently to ensure all benefits are filed for, or obtained, by the deadlines. We make sure the necessary bills get paid, work to protect credit scores, and help clients guard against identity theft. We review insurance policies - life, home and auto - and provide recommendations to ensure the widow and her loved ones are protected. We ensure that there is continuity of healthcare coverage, and explain all of the options.

Wings for Widows is most effective working with widows who have lost a spouse in the past 18 months. We “meet widows where they are,” and work at their pace. This means that we may work with one widow a few months after the funeral or we may not work with a widow for twelve or more months after her loss. Some widows are in a hurry to “clear the fog,” and get their financial house in order. Others can’t bear to deal with the list of to-do’s for months after the loss, and it may take a year to get her comfortably back on her financial feet. Our process is accommodative to widows across the spectrum.

To our knowledge, Wings for Widows is the only public charity in the U.S. providing financial counseling to new widows at no cost. We are an all-volunteer organization with a passion and commitment to serve our widow clients and their families. Wings for Widows was founded by an experienced financial advisor who has been working with women in transition for the past decade.

We use our Meet-Assess-Consult-Refer™ process for working with new widows that includes the following;

1. When we are first contacted by a widow we encourage her to take our 3-Minute Assessment. The survey is accessed from the website, or the widow is provided the link. The benefit to the widow is that she is provided a score and corresponding advice; the score will fall into one of three ranges and specific advice is assigned to each score range. The lower her score the more value we may provide.

2. We use a team approach with new widows. Our dedicated team of volunteers are passionate about helping widows through this challenging transition. The first team member is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, knowledgeable about a wide range of financial topics including financial planning principles, education planning, risk management, insurance, investments, tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. He or she has experience with gathering information, analysis, and developing, communicating, implementing and monitoring recommendations. These qualified professionals must meet rigorous qualifications to earn their designation and must complete ongoing education and ethics training. This team member has estate settlement experience and a giving-heart to ensure you receive the one-on-one counseling widows need. The second team member is an experienced widow - someone who has walked the same painful path. Someone who might have made mistakes early on and desperately wants to help new widows from making similar mistakes. Her role is "case manager" who will meet with new widows initially, attend each working meeting, and then monitor her progress until she's back on her financial feet.

3. Widow data, beginning with their first call through the duration of our services (“engagement”), is captured with our secure, cloud-based CRM. The intake team meets with her initially to ensure fit, outline expectations and answer any questions. Financial Coaches and Widow Advocate are assigned, and an Action Plan is provided for the widow to work through. In between meetings, the team is available to answer questions and help keep her on track. Assistance beyond what we provide can be provided at any time using our Referred Services Directory; these service providers have been highly vetted.

Wings for Widows was founded January 8, 2018 and most of that year was spent developing our proprietary tools and processes. We began working with our first widow in October 2018. This year we are on track to serve 200 widows.

The COVID pandemic caused us to work virtually with widows and allowed us to reach widows across the country. In 2021, our team of volunteers has quadrupled. We were able to help widows all across the country.

This year, our organization partnered with the Foundation for Financial Planning. Fund raising has become a central focus to help us add the employees we need to maintain the excellence of our services.

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 shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Widowed men and women experiencing financial trauma after the loss of a spouse.

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

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.),

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

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, 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?

    We primarily get testimonials from satisfied clients following a financial planning engagement with a coach. We share this feedback with the coaches. Occasionally, we'll get feedback from coaches about things that we don't coach using our proprietary tools that we should; we then incorporate these things.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, our financial coaches,

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

    Our clients are grateful for our services and our compassionate coaches. This translates into widows saying good things about us, and nothing is better than word-of-mouth advertising.

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

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We act on the feedback we receive,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Wings for Widows
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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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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • 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.

Wings for Widows

Board of directors
as of 11/12/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Christopher Bentley

Ameriprise Financial Services

Term: 2018 - 2024

Susan Burke

JoAnne Funch

Jeanne McGill

Andy Fried

Tamara Block

Chris Bentley

Kari Schuster

Jerad Justesen

Melissa Brennan

Renee West

Bob Cohen

Maureen Revak

Hectoria Yamoah

Mark Gasner

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 ? No
  • 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 11/11/2021,

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
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/11/2021

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

Policies and processes
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.