Mothers Outreach Network (MON) is a non-profit organization based in the District of Columbia with a mission is to mobilize DC Black mothers subject to systems of disempowerment such as the foster care system and the criminal (in)justice system while uplifting them from a socio-economic structure that inadequately addresses their full potential for economic independence.
Founded in 2011 by Melody Webb, Esq., MON advances economic security for women and families through social justice education, grassroots mobilization, and legal advocacy focused on disadvantaged African American women in D.C.’s underserved communities. Serving as MON Executive Director and a lawyer, Ms. Webb believes in “movement lawyering.” She emphasizes that there is “only so much you can accomplish through legal services. Lawyers need to use legal skills to empower the community.”
MON is bringing groups together to advocate for universal basic income, a change that would liberate many families from having to struggle just to meet basic needs, freeing people up to envision and press for systems change.
Early on, MON recognized the critical need and value of partnering with other organizations to increase their fiscal, programmatic and advocacy capacity. MON sought opportunities to grow their capacity while keeping their commitment to their purpose and DC mothers. In 2017, MON was awarded its initial grant from the Diverse City Fund to launch a program initiative. Ms. Webb characterizes the DC Fund as a “powerful and supportive ally” of MON that has provided subsequent funding since 2017, capacity building support, and networking and learning opportunities.
“The Diverse City Fund enabled the Mothers Outreach Network to initially develop a strong project and implement a program demonstrating our mission in practice. We were able to establish a track record and a commitment to the community. Likewise, we participated in various …Diverse City Fund trainings and capacity building opportunities.”
MON was recently awarded a large multi-year grant from the Meyer Foundation to continue and expand its critical work in DC addressing the unique needs of African American mothers including the Universal Basic Income campaign. Reflecting on the organization’s growth from 2009 to today, Ms. Webb outlines MON’s relationship with DC Fund as a major contributor to the organization’s ability to gain funding support from the Meyer Foundation. Specifically, she notes,
“As a newly established, small POC-led and focused organization, MON believes that DC Fund made funding a “less intimidating process,” positioning the organization to apply and receive grant awards from larger funding sources with more detailed processes and requirements.”