Mercy Education Project’s free educational programs improve the lives of low-income women and girls. We achieve measurable success in improving academic outcomes for girls and women who have experienced educational challenges or failure, and in addressing other life obstacles they face. As a result, the women and girls we serve become stronger, confident, more hopeful and better equipped for success in school and in life.
MEP's mission is to provide educational opportunities, life skills development and cultural enrichment for women and girls who have limited access to resources to enable them to improve the quality of their lives.
Mercy Education Project is a private, non-profit charitable organization with 24 years of experience boosting the academic success of low-income girls and women. Nearly 300 women and girls of diverse ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds go through our programs each year – ready to take a new step toward academic achievement and a brighter future.
The organization operates with a $997,000 budget, a staff of 4 full- and 10 part-time employees, and more than 120 volunteers who donate more than 10,000 hours each year tutoring and helping in other meaningful ways. Private funding from foundations, corporations, individuals and others sources makes up 80 percent of the budget revenue. Our administrative expenses are 15% percent, supporting volunteer coordination, building maintenance, IT support, administrative salaries, fundraising and other obligatory costs of providing service.
In 2011, MEP was selected as a Reading Works agency recognized for its excellence in adult education. In 2010, MEP was honored by Charter One and WXYZ-TV7 as the Champions in Action® winner in Michigan in the area of workforce development. The $25,000 award recognized our holistic approach to workforce development and its success in breaking down barriers for low-income women who are seeking self-sufficiency. In 2013, we were selected as a Crain's Best Managed Nonprofit.
Need for MEP Programs
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 47 percent of all Detroit residents over the age of 16 are functionally illiterate. Michigan also has one of the nation’s lowest high school graduation rates, estimated at 25 to 62 percent, for minorities.
This is the population MEP serves. Of our women students, 70 to 89 percent are minority women who did not complete high school and/or have failed in earlier attempts to complete the GED. Most of MEP’s adult students have not been regularly employed, and nearly 60% have incomes below $11,000.
In southwest Detroit, poverty plays a role in educational inequity. Up to 33 percent of the area population lives below the poverty level – three times the national average. Nearly half the households in southwest Detroit are headed by women, and in these households with children under the age of five, 71 percent live below the poverty level.
Many of our students come from families with a multi-generational history of failure to complete high school and/or retain employment. MEP's adult students come from low-income households, and the majority have not obtained regular full-time employment.
Tutorial and enrichment services are provided to over 125 girls annually. On average, girls improve one grade level in reading and/or math for every two semesters of tutoring. Every 8th grade girl who participated entered high school.
Literacy training and GED preparation, along with job readiness training and other support services, are provided to over 150 women annually. Over 50% read at or below the 5th grade level when they started the program. Of the women who complete the GED preparation program, over 90 percent achieve the GED. An average of 80% of our GED graduates go on to college, employment or a job training program. At Mercy Education Project, girls and women fulfill their dream of educational success, providing limitless opportunities to realize future dreams and goals.
Over eighty percent of Mercy Education Project’s funding comes from private funders, including individuals, corporations and foundations, such as The Skillman Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.