Geography: United States
3201 Curtis Street
Denver, CO 80205
To change women's lives by providing stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise.
Women’s Bean Project strives to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty by helping women discover their talents and develop skills by offering job readiness training opportunities.
With this stepping stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations.
Jossy Eyre founded the Women's Bean Project 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, if could not 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. Our training opportunities have expanded dramatically over the years, and annual operating budget has grown from $6,100 to over $1.5 million.
In 1993, King Soopers became the first grocery store to carry our products.
In 1995, we purchased former Fire Station #10 from the City and County of Denver, and moved to our new home the following year, giving us permanent roots at 3201 Curtis Street.
Today our product offerings have expanded to salsa mixes, spice rubs, coffee beans, and jelly beans in addition to our soups and chili, along with gift baskets, baking mixes and much more.
Who We Serve
The women hired at the Bean Project have histories of poverty and unemployment; they lack hope and self-confidence; most do not have a GED or high school diploma; most are single mothers and have been on public assistance; many are recovering from experiences with substance abuse and incarceration.
Women find the Bean Project many different ways, but most often are referred by graduates and current program participants. Parole officers, shelters and other service agencies all refer women to the Bean Project.
What We Do
The Women's Bean Project is a social enterprise that offers a transitional job in gourmet food manufacturing designed to provide immediate income, arrange support services to overcome barriers to employment, and teach the job readiness skills needed to get and keep a job. Program participants come from backgrounds of chronic unemployment and poverty, and the program helps them develop the work and interpersonal skills needed to function independently in the workplace and community.
But the Women's Bean Project does not hire women to make and sell bean products. We make and sell bean products to hire women.
Women produce the goods that are sold nationwide as they develop the work and interpersonal skills needed to function independently and effectively in the workplace and community.
The Women's Bean Project:
- meets basic needs and removes barriers to employment by paying a wage and facilitating support services
- offers life skills that enhance a woman's ability to govern her own life
- arranges services that increase employability such as GED and computer classes
- provide hands-on training in the fundamental job readiness skills required by entry-level employers