Women's Bean Project

aka WBP   |   Denver, CO   |


To change women's lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.

Ruling year info



Tamra Ryan

Main address

1300 W Alameda Avenue

Denver, CO 80223 USA

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NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (J11)

Single Organization Support (P11)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Women's Bean Project believes all women have the power to transform their lives through employment. So, we hire chronically unemployed and impoverished women and teach them to make nourishing foods we sell all across the nation through some of the largest retailers. Through her work she learns to stand tall, find her purpose and brake the cycle of poverty. Because when you change a woman's life, you change her family's life. 95% of the women we serve have justice intervention. These barriers to employment are addressed through building self-confidence, gaining the job training and life skills needed in today's workforce to put her on the path to personal and economic self-sufficiency.

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?

Women's Bean Project

Jossy Eyre founded Women’s Bean Project (WBP) in 1989 as a result of her volunteer work at a day shelter for homeless women. Eyre saw that while the shelter kept women safe, it couldn’t help them make lasting changes in their lives. Eyre bought $500 worth of beans and put two homeless women to work - the first step in building the social enterprise we are today. She believed that paying women a wage was critical for self-respect and long-term success, and that chronically unemployed women needed a job training program with a longer duration and more intensive services that those generally available.

Over the years, WBP has grown into a well-defined transitional employment program that operates within a manufacturing operation and is unusual programs due to its paid, practical job skills training provided in the context of an operating business environment over an extended period. Nearly a thousand disadvantaged women have earned their futures at WBP, training opportunities and annual product sales have grown dramatically, and the organization’s reach has expanded to include a sales presence in 1,000 stores across U.S.

Women’s Bean Project is financially healthy with a diversified funding base. One-half of operating revenue is generated from product sales, enabling WBP to be more self-sustaining and growth-oriented than programs solely dependent on philanthropic and government support.

Since 1995, WBP has owned former Firehouse #10, located in the Curtis Park/Five Points neighborhood, which was purchased from the City and County of Denver. This location has served us well, but we have outgrown the space and we are actively seeking a larger building that will allow us to increase capacity.

As we celebrate our 30th year of using a market-driven approach to address unmet social needs, we are proud that our overarching purpose – to provide a transitional job as a stepping stone to self-sufficiency – has remained constant.

Women’s Bean Project (WBP) is a mission-driven social enterprise that generates 50% of its revenue through product sales which are reinvested in the business to provide people with jobs and preparation so they can join the mainstream workforce. Research shows that social enterprises offer a sustainable and cost-effective approach to address chronic unemployment, recidivism, and reliance on public benefits.

The Bean Project offers women from backgrounds of chronic unemployment and poverty a transitional job designed to provide immediate income, overcome barriers to employment, and teach the work and interpersonal skills needed to get and keep a job. We believe that the best way to learn how to work is through a paying job so during the 7- month program period, women "earn while they learn”, an approach that sets WBP apart from many workforce programs.

Two-thirds of each woman’s paid time is spent in structured job readiness training in on-site business owned and managed by WBP: the production of gourmet soups and other dry food products. The business is self-sustaining, and the earned revenue supports women’s salaries. The remainder of each woman’s paid time is spent in life skills classes, workshops, mentoring sessions and working with a case manager. Charitable contributions help support these non-revenue generating activities that are critical for long-term success.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Economically disadvantaged people

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.

Percent of women still employed post graduation of our program at 12 months.

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

Ethnic and racial groups, Gender and sexual identity, Social and economic status, Work status and occupations

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

2021, 2022, and 2023 reflect the COVID and post-COVID effects on employment opportunities. We look forward to 2024 having positive results as we had prior COVID.

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.

Women's Bean Project's goal is to serve every woman who needs us and and is ready to change her life. We provide the support and the environment for her to succeed; however, she must do the work and be ready for the change.

We address three areas:
Basic needs: housing, transportation, childcare, education

Job-readiness training: attendance, punctuality, listening to directions, following direction, quality control, coping skills, food safety, dry food
packaging certification, operating semi-automation machinery, peer to peer interaction and appropriate work place behavior.

Life-skills: Computer and financial literacy, adult numeracy and literacy, WRAP - Wellness Recovery Action Planning, Organizational skills,
Dress For Success, Art & yoga, Math Literacy, Language Literacy, GED Support, addiction support.

Women's Bean Project hires every month to allow for all women seeking employment and the desire to transform her life. The number one way women find us is word of mouth. She knows someone who has been through the program and has turned her life around. After that women learn about us through places she has spent time, such as the judicial system (parole officers, probation officers, half way houses, judges), rehab centers, churches. We also have a new program Take TWO, where we interview inside the women's correctional facility.

Our programs are taught by Community Partners. We actively cultivate these community partners to meet the demands of current workforce needs, to ensure our graduates are fully prepared to handle the demands as they enter their new position within the community. These include computer and financial literacy classes, adult numeracy and literacy, organization, Wellness Recovery Action Planning to maintain their sobriety, Art and yoga for coping skills.

Each woman has a job coach to prepare her with the documents she will need to secure a career entry-level position within the community. (Letter of explanation, resume, and anything specific to the position she is seeking).

Mock interviews are performed multiple times in preparation to actual interviews. Practicing allows her to make mistakes and receive constructive feedback.

Over the last 30 years we have served over 1000 women. We have added semi-automation to the production processes in order to give more applicable skills in today's job market. We are working to move to a new facility in order to be able to have the space, technology, and programming needed for better serving the women and increasing the amount of women we can impact each year.

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.
  • 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 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

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, Difficulty in contacting some of the population we serve once they have graduated the program.


Women's Bean Project

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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.

Women's Bean Project

Board of directors
as of 01/30/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ellen Stein-Wallace

Johnson and Wallace Consulting Services

Term: 2023 - 2025

Gwen J Young

Greenberg Traurig

Bret Duston

Academy Bank, N.A.

Amy Kuark

Friendship Bridge

Bob Kumagai

Daniels College of Business, University of Denver

David Prichard

Denver Angels

Helen Lee

Bank of America

Ellen Stein-Wallace

Johnson and Wallace Consulting

Shannon Garcia-Lewis

Strategic Business Partner Group

Milly A Christmann

Marathon Growth Management

Alicia Harvey

Xcel Energy

Christine Jochim

Suncor Energy

Stacey Pojar

Travelers Insurance

Carolyn Romero

community volunteer

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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 10/20/2021

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

  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • 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.