There are more than 18,000 non-profit organizations in the Phoenix-Metro area. For two Ahwatukee residents, non-profits are part of their everyday lives.
Shante Saulsberry Creates Foundation to Support Women
Shante Saulsberry, the founder of Janice’s Women’s Center, is on a mission to help transform lives. The Center is set to be a full-service women’s center helping women who are homeless or who need a safe place to stay during domestic violence disputes. The goal is to be a support system for women in need and assist them in gaining the skills necessary to be successful in the future.
The idea came after a chance meeting with a woman on an Ahwatukee street. Saulsberry felt compelled to stop and hear the woman's story and provide her with a simple meal. After trying several times to get the woman into a shelter and realizing how tough the system is, Saulsberry decided it was time to take matters into her own hands.
She created the non-profit, named after the woman she met. “I am now creating miracles for others," explains Saulsberry. "I don’t feel like I’m living the dream, I feel like I’m dreaming every day.”
Funding Janice's Women's Center
Creating a women's center is not a cheap venture. Saulsberry is looking to raise $8 million to open her center. To do so, she opened the Janice Vaincre Boutique in June 2021 to help support fundraising efforts. The boutique is run by volunteers, and all the clothing is donated and resold to the community.
“So many people have helped our organization spread much-needed awareness," Saulsberry explains.
Victims of domestic violence who are involved in a program, are invited to shop at Janice Vaincre Boutique for free. The experience is aimed at helping encourage women to believe in their own worth and potential.
The boutique, at 4302 E Ray Rd. Ste 107, accepts donations of new or slightly used clothing. For more information on Saulsberry’s mission and foundation, visit JanicesWomensCenter.com.
Jennifer Armer Creates Foundation to Support Children and Families
Ahwatukee resident Jennifer Armer is the founder of the Armer Foundation for Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to easing financial burdens for families with children battling extreme medical or life-changing conditions. Health insurance is not always an option and doesn’t always cover all the care the children or the families need, so the foundation helps assist with things like co-pays, premiums, deductibles and other necessary medical costs associated with health and eventual healing.
Armer and her husband Matt own Armer Air, a Phoenix-based HVAC company. Armer says she found herself meeting families in need through her company, which spurred her to make a change.
“I would meet with families facing extreme medical issues with their children and struggling to meet the financial obligations with looming medical bills," explains Armer. "I knew I needed to help.”
In the beginning, she volunteered by organizing local yard sales, blood drives and other fundraising efforts to help try to offset the growing costs of healthcare for families. Then, Matt brought up the idea of starting her own non-profit to help their neighbors and the local community.
“Matt grew up with Type-1 Diabetes, and he watched a close friend's young daughter lose her battle with cancer, so a foundation to support children with medical and financial needs made perfect sense.”
Growing the Armer Foundation for Kids
Armer created the Armer Foundation for Kids in 2019, and it has been going strong since. The foundation benefits children ranging from birth to 18 years and their families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“We believe a family's focus should be on the welfare and health of their child, not on medical bills or other financial burdens," explains Armer. "To alleviate this stress, we focus our efforts on the specific needs of each family. We work to help each of them through fundraisers, blood drives, various events and community donations.”
Armer started a thrift shop to help raise funds. The community is a big part of the fundraising efforts. Along with donations to the thrift shop and encouraging neighbors to shop in the store, there is also an annual Gala. The Armer Foundation is also always looking for local business sponsors for additional events or to provide raffle prizes.
Those interested in donating to the thrift shop or shopping there can stop by at 9830 South 51st Street, Suite A128. If you would like to learn more about the Armer Foundation for Kids, please check out the website at ArmerFoundation.org.