Rappahannock United Way's Nick Vosburg poses with Shante Brown, a recent graduate of the Prosper Mentoring program. (Photo courtesy Rappahannock United Way)

United Way program empowers women by teaching financial independence

by | May 31, 2024 | ALLFFP, Business, Fredericksburg, Non-Profits

Making money has never been a problem for Shante Brown.

“But I didn’t know how to make my money work for me,” admitted Brown, a Fredericksburg resident. “That’s why I’m so grateful for the Prosper Mentoring program.” 

Brown is one of 20 women who recently graduated from the 12-month program offered by the Rappahannock United Way. The second cohort will begin in July, followed by a third session in December. 

While Virginia ranks in the top third of states across the nation for women’s employment and earnings, women still face inequities that often prevent them from reaching their full potential. 

That’s why Rappahannock United Way started the Prosper Mentoring initiative.  

“Through education and mentoring, the Prosper Mentoring Team meets women where they are and empowers them to set their own path to economic self-sufficiency,said Nick Vosburg, Prosper Mentor trainer.For some, that path will focus on addressing health issues, or overcoming childcare challenges, perhaps fixing transportation troubles, eliminating debt or increasing earning potential.” 

For Brown, it was all about gaining confidence and knowing she was setting herself up for financial stability. 

“The knowledge of the coaches plus the first time I met them, they were so welcoming and inviting and they made me feel like I wasn’t just a body sitting in that classroom,” she said. “They invested their time in me and the program.” 

Brown is a traveling nursing director and administrator of senior home care services, working primarily with Northern Virginia and Maryland hospitals. She is also a busy mom and devoted grandmother.  

She recommends the mentoring program for women like her who didn’t learn financial skills when they were younger and now have the time to focus on themselves.

I never actually spent time doing anything outside of what activities my children had going on,Brown said.To be able to meet with other women and bounce ideas off them, women who have a different background or childhood than I did, it was very comforting.” 

Women in the program are encouraged to build personal and professional networks that can provide crucial support in their lives and build economic independence. With the support of a mentor, the women are taught to make intentional, meaningful and lasting changes to positively impact their life and well-being.  

Brown is proud of the lessons she’s learned about the importance of saving, credit scores, how to utilize a 401(k) and the different types of savings and checking accounts. She says her financial stability is a form of self-care. 

“I was encouraged and now I take time out for me. My credit score has increased significantly. I’m paying off bills, and I’m really grateful to the mentorship of Claudia (Sisk) and Nick… the program is so important for any woman, but especially those who have others who depend on them.” 

There is no financial cost to participate in Prosper Mentoring. After applying, participants must commit to one monthly group session (up to two hours) for six months and monthly meetups with their mentor (up to one hour each) for another six months.  



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