What is 500Founders?

500Founders is a national campaign bringing together 500 professional women to donate $500 each and lend their expertise to help survivors of domestic violence to build small businesses.

Why should I care about this issue?

1 in 4 women in the US will experience severe domestic violence in their lifetime and the number one reason survivors stay in these abusive situations is because they cannot afford to leave. Survivors often go to a shelter and after a few weeks go right back to their abuser because they have no other way to put a roof over their children’s heads. We want to ensure that when a survivor leaves, they don’t ever have to go back but instead can move forward towards long-term safety.

Why entrepreneurship? Why not just help survivors to get jobs?

Survivors of domestic violence are often prohibited from working or have a spotty employment record as a result of the abuse they have suffered. Finding employment after they leave is challenging as a result. However, what survivors might lack on their resume they more than make up for in resilience and determination, both core skills to building a business. We’ll also be encouraging our survivor-entrepreneurs to provide employment to other survivors, so we’ll be helping survivors to get jobs too! 

How will you measure the success of this program?

We’ll keep track of how many survivors we are able to support, how much revenue their businesses achieve in the first 2 years, and the impact that has on their lives (e.g. ability to afford stable housing, etc).

I can’t afford to donate $500. Can I still get involved?

Yes! Can you group together with other women to hit the $500 or fundraise from family and friends? Contact us at info@freefrom.org and we’ll help you brainstorm!

You are piloting the program in CA and NY. I don’t live in either state. Can I still be a founder?

Yes! Help us develop the curriculum for our pilot program and after that, help us bring the program to your state!

Doesn’t this already exist?

Not yet! But with your help, it will soon.