The Foundation’s largest investment is in this research-based program designed to enable single mothers to gain family-sustaining jobs.


The MOMs: From Education to Employment® program was designed based on both national best-practice research and focus groups conducted with the target population as a means to address the barriers to completing an education. The Foundation’s model incorporates case management, academic-success coaching, mentoring, peer-to-peer community building, career guidance, internship and job placement support, and campus cultural awareness building. Additionally, because the greatest predictor of a child’s success is their parent’s educational attainment, children of single mothers benefit from watching their mother strive for higher education.

In September 2013, we partnered Niagara County Community College (NCCC), to pilot the program in order to improve retention, graduation, and employment rates within Regional Economic Council’s targeted high-demand, high-wage fields such as Health, Tourism, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). After 10 semesters of the Mapping Opportunities for Mothers program, over 300 mothers, representing over 425 children, benefited from the program. Eighty-one of these students have graduated.

The program expanded to SUNY Erie (formerly ECC) in April 2017 – Moving Our Mothers From Education to Employment. Over 40 single mother students have been served and the first three MOMs graduates walked the stage to get their degrees this spring!

MOMs: From Education to Employment® moved into Jamestown in January, 2018.  Jamestown Community College launched “SPREE” – Single Parents Reaching Education to Employment in partnership with the Jamestown Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. The program is moving forward and has already served over 25 students.

NCCC Achievements:

  • 145 mothers have found new employment.
  • 96 mothers have found internships.
  • 64 scholarships have been awarded.
  • On average, graduates of the program earn 68% more per week than enrolled students ($589/week compared to $351/week).
  • Single mothers are reporting increased flexibility and accommodations from faculty.
  • Campus sensitivity for single mothers has made a palpable gain.


  • 54% of mothers are over 30 years old – 20% over 40.
  • 70% of students are attending full-time, while 30% attend part-time.
  • Approximately 33% of the women who completed FAFSA forms self-reported that they received public assistance upon entry to program.
  • 65% of students are residents of Niagara County, 34% Erie County, and 1% “other”

SUNY Erie Achievements:

  • 37 mothers impacted by the program
  • 100% of graduates found new employment
  • 42 children impacted
  • 3 students have been awarded scholarships


  • Average Age: 30.5
  • Full Time vs. Part Time: 85% vs. 15%
  • Majority of students live in Erie County


  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • First Niagara Foundation
  • Grigg Lewis Foundation
  • Joseph and Anna Gartner Fund
  • Josephine Goodyear Foundation
  • Joy Family Foundation
  • Patrick P. Lee Foundation
  • Phil & Nicole Nobel
  • Vanita Murthy & Gary Nobel
  • WNY Power Authority
  • Hodgson Russ LLP
  • Niagara Area Foundation
  • National Grid
  • Garman Family Foundation
  • Elf Foundation and United Way of Buffalo and Erie County
  • Health Foundation for Western and Central NY
  • Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

“MOMs helped me build my confidence up.  I always turn to Kelly to figure out the next step.  My son started daycare when I started school. My son watching me go to school was motivating.”