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New Opportunity School for Women, Inc.

Total Qualifying Score: 8
County (ARC Region): Yes
State (ARC Region): Yes
Q3. IRS Status: Nonprofit – 2
Q4. Parent Entity: No – 1
Q5. 2 or More Full-Time Employees : Yes (as of 12/31/2019)
Q7. Budget Level: $250,001 to $1.5 million – 5 (Last Fiscal Year Actual Income)
Q8. Restricted Reserves: Yes – 0
Q9. CARES Act Funding: Yes – 0
Q13. Participation by Executive: Yes


New Opportunity School for Women, Inc.
Berea, Madison County, Kentucky 40403

County (ARC Region) Madison
State (ARC Region) Kentucky


Q1. Mission:

The mission of the New Opportunity School for Women is to provide low-income Appalachian and Kentucky women tools to help them grow in self-knowledge, build confidence, and access resources to improve their financial, educational and personal circumstances.

We envision a future in which all Appalachian and Kentucky women achieve successful and rewarding lives that positively impact their families and communities.

Our Values for the Work and the Future include (1) Honor diversity (2) Promote self-discovery (3) Recognize choice (4)  Display mutual respect. (5) Practice kindness.  (6) Celebrate each woman’s beauty.

Q2. How organization aligns with ARC’s Plan & Goals:

The New Opportunity School for Women best aligns with Goal #2 of ARC’s strategic plan.  Our focus is to provide tools to help women build the confidence and access the resources that will help them improve their financial, educational and personal situations.  We accomplish this by offering two 2-week residential sessions annually and five 3-day community-based sessions along with an annual Graduate Leadership Retreat.  Through a focus on self-knowledge and agency along with professional development tools, women leave our programs with both short-term and long-term goals and plans for implementation.  With ongoing coaching, we help women make their dreams a reality whether through the pursuit of a college degree, obtaining a better paying job with benefits, moving into a better home situation or becoming a better advocate for themselves.  At the heart of our program is our Health Cairn that considers all the factors that come into play to make a person a whole and healthy person.  Many women identify better food choices as one of their goals and while most have a dependency on smoking, start to learn other ways to relieve their stress.  Lastly, we develop leadership skills which serves to strengthen their local communities.  The impact of helping a woman build a sustainable future goes beyond just her future, but also inspires her children’s future. 

As part of our ongoing coaching and support services we provide educational scholarships, access to dental funding or other medical needs such as hearing aids, computers for those in school, GED material and opportunities for ongoing training in various subjects.  We also provide access to an ongoing network of support known as the NOSW Sisterhood.  We also help our women grow in their love of their Appalachian roots and culture through various classes and ongoing sessions. 

Q3. IRS Filing Status: 501(c)(3)   

Q4. Unit or Chapter of Larger Organization: No

Q5. Employees:

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 4/0 (as of 9/1/2020)

Full-Time/Part-Time Employees: 4/0 (as of 12/31/2019)

Current Year Income/Expenses: $750,000/$400,000

Q6. Fiscal Year: Calendar

Q7. Budget Level

Last Fiscal Year Income/Expenses (Actual): $370,024 / $410,068

Current Year Income/Expenses (Projected): $750,000 / $400,000

Balance Sheet

Q8. Restricted Reserves (Amount): Yes ($1,293,189)

Q9. CARES Act Funding (Amount): Yes ($28,221.70)
Received From: Whitaker Bank – PPP Loan Program   Date Received: 4/15/2020
For What Purpose(s): Payroll Protection (Payroll Protection Program)–+*/+0

Q10. Negative Impacts from COVID-19:

The New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW), although blessed in many ways during these days, has struggled to get hold of the best formatting to offer our programs during this time of social distancing and need for quarantine.  While we were able to complete one of our residential sessions before things shut down in March, without much time to regroup we started reaching out to our graduates and rethinking how to offer our programming.  As an organization, COVID-19 has challenged us in 3 fundamental ways.  (1) Recruitment – because we deal with a population with limited resources, we have often relied on social service agencies, recovery centers, abuse shelters, adult education programs, and our graduates to recruit for our programs.  Most of these programs have been shut down or operating on a very limited basis which has made recruiting impossible.  (2) Programming format – all our current training is designed for in-person sessions.  Switching to on-line programming for NOSW is much like what our rural schools are facing.  Access to the technology, coupled by limited broadband and then add lack of skill and confidence, have served as a barrier for use of this format for new participants.  The uncertainty of when it will be safe to offer in-person programming has us considering new formats and alternatives.  (3) Fundraising – which we have been especially blessed this year in receiving not just one but two large Legacy gifts, the future remains unstable.  We are not able to hold our major fundraiser, Festival of Trees, and are concerned about how well our annual appeal will do.  The uncertainty of the economic impact that will face our nation, we believe, will be profoundly felt in 2021 and 2022 even more so than in 2020. 

Q11. Top Three Concerns:
Recruitment of new participants – with all our partnering agencies and referral organizations shut down we have not been able to reach out to new women who already struggle with trust issues
Programming Format – all our training has been in-person programming prior to COVID-19 because of the population that we serve
Funding – future fundraising will be challenging with more demands of the existing resources

How Participation in Program Will Address Concerns:

Prior to COVID-19 we were talking about developing a train-the trainer module whereby we could train local partners in the work of our 3-day sessions.  Because of limited resources and staff, we thought this would extend our reach and provide a steady flow of possible income for NOSW and participants for our residential programs.  This training will help us, given the impact of COVID-19, rethink how we can better reach women in rural communities and perhaps help with our fundraising efforts by considering partnerships and collaborative fundraising avenues.  Offering more online venues would also help us reduce costs and utilize existing staff.  Working with partners who have a ready population for our services (i.e. domestic violence shelters, recovery centers, adult education centers, etc.) we can envision some joint funding initiatives that will strengthen not only our individual organizations and thus extend the sustainability of the work, but also provide a continuum of “care/services” for the women to help them sustain themselves into the future.  While we do have a larger reserve than many agencies, it will not sustain us into the future very far unless we figure out ways to grow our income beyond our existing avenues. 


Q12. Applying as a Proposed Cohort? Yes

List of Organizations in Proposed Cohort:
Cumberland Valley Domestic Violence Center
Cowan Community Center
David’s School

Q13. Executive Director or CEO Will Participate in the Program? Yes

Q14. Top Two Choices for Cohort Instruction:

Course #1 Choice: 1-Long-term Financial Management

Course #2 Choice: 2-Fundraising

Q15. Desired Course Schedule for Cohort Instruction:

#1 Desired Course Schedule: 1-Fall 2020: 11-Week Course (Nov. 9, 2020 -Jan. 24, 2021)

#2 Desired Course Schedule: 2-Winter 2021: 10-Week Course (Jan. 25. 2021 – Apr. 4, 2021)


Name: Robbie Pentecost, Executive Director

Application Approved by Organization Director or CEO? Yes, Approved by Executive Director/CEO

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