It started as a way to help Detroit's homeless population. And now, even Founder and CEO Veronika Scott is surprised by the ways that her non-profit organization the Empowerment Plan continues to grow.
Empowerment Plan has recently debuted a retail clothing line, Maxwell Detroit. It's also planning on moving into a larger facility in the West Village. But its mission to address the challenges of generational poverty through employment remains the same. It just has new tools in its belt to do so.
Scott started the Empowerment Plan
in 2012. A student at College for Creative Studies, Scott designed the EMPWR Coat, a water-resistant jacket that transforms into a sleeping bag. She employs people recruited from local shelters, who manufacture the coats to be donated back to the homeless population.
What's surprised Scott has been consumers' interests in the coats. So, Scott and her team have designed both a men's and women's coat to go along with the original sleeping bag design. All three products are now for sale via the Empowerment Plan's new line of clothing, Maxwell Detroit.
"The revenue earned from sales goes back into Empowerment Plan," Scott says. "Maxwell is a tool to continue the mission-based work that we're doing."
Scott hires people from local shelters, and enrolls them in a two-year "stepping stone" employment program. During that time, Empowerment Plan prepares their employees for life after coat manufacturing. According to the organization, since beginning in 2012, all 45 of the Empowerment Plan employees have gone on to find permanent housing.
The organization has also grown to the point of needing a new facility. This January, Empowerment Plan will leave its longtime space in Corktown's Ponyride maker space and move into its own 21,000 sq. ft. building in the West Village.
Empowerment runs on-site GED training, financial literacy programs, and other workshops, and the new building will allow the organization to dedicate an entire classroom to the subjects.
Maxwell Detroit coats are available for purchase via their website, here. Scott provided a discount code, which is mw2017. Donations and sponsorships can be made at the Empowerment Plan website, here.
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