Breath of Fresh Air is a for-profit business intent on training disadvantaged women in the Greater Portland area in marketable skills through the production and sales of food products (currently, delicious & nutritious nut butters!). We take a holistic approach to empowerment, offering personal development services and mentoring during the workday. Our goal is for women to engage in creative self-expression with the hope of gaining confidence and realizing their full potential. Women will work with us for 6-9 months and then transition into full-time employment at Portland-area businesses.
The need for this bridge program is great and the statistics are sobering:
- A third of Oregon’s single working mothers and their children live below the poverty line
- 41% of female-headed families with children are in poverty
- 44% of Oregon households receiving federal food assistance are headed by women
- 70% of those in poverty are women and children
We believe that it is wiser to teach a woman to fish, than to feed her fish. Rather than fundraising, our energy goes towards producing meaningful, quality products that create jobs and provide a platform for skills training. We’re convinced if you create economic and personal stability in a woman’s life, the trickle down effect to her family and community will be powerful and dramatic.
The name Breath of Fresh Air (BOFA) comes from Julie’s grandma who always told her she was a “breath of fresh air.” This name is inspired to create a space/culture that anyone can walk into no matter the challenges they have faced and feel a sense of new beginning and encouragement.