Dynamic Women’s Professional Network—Helping Single Mom’s Get Back on their Feet

April 2016 View more

Christie Ruffino, President and Founder

Christie Ruffino, President and Founder

When a financial crisis strikes on the heels of divorce, the death of a spouse, or the loss of a job, single mothers often find themselves in a catch-22. Although they may lose a significant portion of income and struggle day-to-day to make ends meet, many women still do not qualify for government aid or other resources.

“Through the years I’ve talked to so many women in this situation,” sympathizes Christie Ruffino, president and founder of Dynamic Women’s Professional Network (DWPN), who speaks from personal experience. “Their hands are tied. They are stuck, struggling, with no help or relief anywhere. But it’s the kids that ultimately suffer.” Looking back at her own experience with her two children, now ages 23 and 27, she understands how increased worries about money, and more hours working away from home, can take away from a mother’s valuable time with her children.

Assets as a Liability

Particularly after a divorce, a woman may be left with assets that keep her in a higher income bracket and that disqualify her from receiving financial aid, but she will have little to no income on which to actually live and pay the bills. “I had no job at the time, but I chose to keep my house,” Ruffino recalls. “The problem, however, is having a house disqualify you for government support. They told me, ‘Come back when you lose your house and then we’ll help.’”

A Fresh Start

Thankfully, with plenty of resourcefulness, help from her family and church, and lots of hard work, today Ruffino owns her own business built around her passion and talent for networking and helping women grow their businesses. DWPN is a network of more than 350 professional women who mentor, equip, and serve one another in their area of expertise to identify and reach new goals, form partnerships, and give referrals to grow their companies and businesses.

Angel Foundation

But remembering the difficulty of those early years as a newly single, divorced mother, and sensitive to the ongoing hardship of other single mothers, Ruffino created the nonprofit DWPN Angel Foundation. It is a unique program that will give single mothers a hand up and not just a hand out to help them weather the storms of financial loss.

The foundation, which received its 501C3 designation just this past year, evaluates the needs of the single mother, or soon-to-be-single mother, and matches her with an Angel Provider – a member or group of DWPN members – who can offer pro-bono support—such as the services of an attorney—and other expertise. It’s all about creating an effective community and making connections.

Like any brand new organization, however, it takes more than great ideas or passion to get things done. It takes a partnership. With the combined effort and resources of the foundation and donors, The Angel Foundation can help make a difference in the lives of these women.

Not Alone

“We have so many women with big hearts who want to help,” Ruffino says, citing the many fundraising events DPWN chapters have organized and sponsored. “I want to be able to help women not only financially, but to give them peace of mind to know they’re not alone.”

To learn more about how you can donate or volunteer to the DPWN Angel Foundation, contact them at www.christieruffino.com

Photo by Robyn Sheldon