Launching a catering business, opening an after-school program, becoming an arts marketing consultant – all lofty goals for someone just starting out in the business world. But for the low-income immigrant and refugee women of Empowered Women International, these goals have become reality. 75% of EWI clients are female heads of household and have experienced violence, abuse, or war trauma. But each is also a talented, high-potential artist or creative entrepreneur. Entrepreneur Training for Success, EWI’s flagship program, enables women to channel their talents and build the skills to launch small businesses – thus supporting their families and creating local jobs. The four-month curriculum covers business plans, finance, and leadership, and concludes with a business showcase. EWI also provides personal coaching and mentoring to over 150 unemployed or underemployed women, places promising graduates in entrepreneur fellowships, and runs an artisan marketplace. Just last year, 80% of EWI women reported an increase in income, a better job, or enrollment in college. These graduates are not just leaders in business; they are agents of change.

Headquarters: VA-City of Alexandria

Where They Operate: MD-Montgomery County; VA-City of Alexandria

Age Groups Served: Adult

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 20%; Asian American, 35%; Caucasian, 30%; Latino/Hispanic, 15%

Population(s) Served: Women/Girls; Low- to Moderate-Income

Awards & Recognition

2011 Living Legends of Alexandria, Marga Fripp 2011 Nominee
2010 Arts Build Communities Award: Rising Star Finalist - Virginians for the Arts

2009 Alex Arts Awards – City of Alexandria’s Commission for the Arts
2009 Bruce Oliver Business Leadership Award Finalist for partnership with West Potomac Academy High School - Fairfax County Public Schools

2008 Enterprise Award – Catalogue for Philanthropy
2008 Selected for the 2007-2008 Catalogue for Philanthropy

2006 Virginia House and Senate Commendation for outstanding achievements in the community and for promoting the arts and cultures of immigrant and refugee women artists – The Commonwealth of Virginia House and Senate

2006 Making a Difference for Women Award – Soroptimist International

2005 Cultural Affairs Award – Alexandria Commission on Women

2003 Governor of Maryland’s Award for Service and Volunteerism granted to Marga Frip – The Governor’s Office on Service and Volunteerism


  • No stories found

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

Budget (FY2011)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Empowered Women International is: Less than $500k

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $29 million for charities across Greater Washington.

If you like Empowered Women International you might also like