The Mommies Network Introduction

Our Mission is to provide a safe, secure, FREE place for mothers to find support and encouragement from other mothers and to empower them to be better women, parents and community leaders
The Mommies Network is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to helping moms find support and friendship in their local community. We were founded April, 2002 and currently have 119 communities in 33 states, with over 30,000 active members nationwide.

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Second Quarter 2008 in Review

Welcome to summer! It's hard to believe we're halfway through the year already. As usual, we've been busy. Some of the results of our work you'll see in this post but a lot you won't see until later on this year. We're hard at work on lots of technical and operational improvements that we hope to be telling you about soon. In the meantime, here's a recap of what's happened in April, May and June.

Opened 16 New Communities
14 New Mommies Sites BoiseMommies (ID), DanRiverMommies (NC), FranklinMommies (PA), StatesboroMommies (GA), UintahBasinMommies (UT), YorkAdamsMommies (PA), NorthCentralMommies (WV), HartfordMommies (CT), KearneyMommies (NE), BatonRougeMommies (LA), CentralVirginiaMommies (VA), FortWorthMommies (TX), LouisvilleMommies (KY), re-opened NorthMetroplexMommies (TX)
2 New Dads Sites PhoenixAreaDads (AZ), WilmingtonDads (NC)

Added to Our Volunteer Teams
The larger we get the harder this is to do alone. We rely not only on our site administrators to make this work, but on a large and growing group of moms and dads who help other community managers, site administrators and TMNs board.

Network Administrators: Our NAs are experienced Site Administrators who guide and assist other communities in our Network. They are also responsible for interviewing and selecting replacement and co-SAs. We had a lot of changes to this group this quarter, so we're just going to list them all so we don't leave anyone out (like last time :oops: ). Each Mommies community has an NA with admin-level access on the sites she covers, with the username TMNFirstname (i.e. TMNStacey). We do not currently have a Dads NA but hope that will change over the next few months as our Dads site administrators get more experience and help us learn more about how to best run a Dads site.

Network Administrator Managers: Michelle Finnegan, retired CharlotteMommies (NC) SA, & Chelle Osborne, retired UnionCountyMommies (NC) SA
    Alicia Walz: founder and SA of YorkCountyMommies (SC)
    April Rink: founder and SA of SWPiedmontMommies (NC)
    Amanda Perryman: SA of NorthPiedmontMommies (NC)
    Amelia Elander: SA of RichmondMommies (VA)
    Amy Blalock: SA of TriadMommies (NC)
    Andrea Davitt: founder and SA of RochesterMommies (NY)
    Beth Benjamin: SA of TriangleMommies (NC)
    Chrissy Thomas: SA of PhoenixMommies (AZ)
    Erica Lettice: SA of CentralPiedmontMommies (NC)
    Jaime Rhinehart: SA of CentralFoothillsMommies (NC)
    Jeannie Toberman: retired SA of AlamanceMommies (NC)
    Kimberly Scott: founder and retired SA of UnionCountyMommies (NC)
    Kim Dronsky: founder and retired SA of CentralPiedmontMommies (NC)
    Lori Fleming: SA of LakeNormanMommies (NC)
    Margie Gilbert: founder and retired SA of SouthValleyMommies (CA)
    Megan Marks: SA of FresnoMommies (CA)
    Stacey Isler: founder and SA of FredericksburgMommies (VA)
    Stacey Kirk: retired SA of CharlotteMommies (NC)

Site Advisors: These experienced site administrators and managers guide our communities by focusing on a specific role or task.
    Promotions: Dana Gillis, LakeNormanMommies (NC), Valerie Hurtado, SEGeorgiaMommies (GA)
    Charitable Initivatives: Jamie Rippy, LakeNormanMommies (NC)
    Sponsorships: Kristin Amundsen-Cubanski, SLOCountyMommies (CA)
    Fundraising: Lori Blanchfield, CharlotteMommies (NC)
    Hospitality: Stephanie White, TriangleMommies (NC) Amie Martin, TriadMommies (NC)
    Newsletter: Karin Amundsen, VegasMommies (NV)
    General SA Support: Tracy Rodriguez, GwinnettAreaMommies (GA)
    Events: Amanda Perryman, NorthPiedmontMommies (NC)

TMN Volunteers: We launched a new volunteer program to get a few members from our communities to help us with things like obtaining grants, public relations, graphics and more. Please visit for more info on the type of help we need. We're still adding moms and dads to this team, but so far we have the following volunteers:
    Grant Research and Writing: Kristy Sartain SandhillsMommies (NC) and Robbie-Lyn Morgan CharlotteMommies (NC)
    Graphics: Christine Byrd TriadMommies (NC)
    Public Relations: Patty Boccadoro BuxmontMommies (PA)
    Fundraising: Lori Blanchfield CharlotteMommies (NC)
    Promotions: Carrie Smith CharlotteMommies (NC)

TMN Advisors: These two have been working with us for a long time now, but we don't want to leave them out!
    Linda McAfee: a member of CharlotteMommies (NC), Linda works with the board to manage all of our new site applications and the site launch process.
    Kevin: a member of CharlotteAreaDads (NC), Kevin is our technical guru.

New Partnerships
National Assoc. of Mothers' Centers - founded in 1975, the NAMC offers programs in communities, libraries and workplaces that use a model for non-hierarchical leadership and non-judgmental communication. "Our approach encourages participants to connect with others in a safe, nurturing environment. Our Mothers’ Center programs, events, and MOTHERS public policy initiative all lead not only to healthier, happier mothers, but healthier children, families and communities, too." Board member Suzanne Johnston spoke at their conference in April. We hope to test out incorporate Mothers' Centers into our Mommies communities later this year.

The Elysium Compact - Their mission is to provide educational services to students worldwide. They strive to make a difference in the United States by increasing the number of high school graduates and increasing the number of students enrolled in higher education. Their organization is currently focused on efforts in California, but their goal is to improve literacy and educational attainment worldwide and will be branching out to other states. You can learn more about this organization at

New Support Forum
Our communities start with a standard set of "core" forums and then add general and support group forums as their membership grows and shows a need for these "add-on" forums. To meet the needs of our diverse membership this quarter we added the following private support group, which has been opened on two communities. If you have questions about available "add-on" forums please contact your site administrator(s).
    LGBT Families
    A private group for members who are lesbian , bisexual, or transgender; or moms of LGBT children.

CaringBridge Donation
We sent a check to CaringBridge in the amount of $3,939.92 as a result of our Pennies for Paxton national charitable drive held during March and April. Thank you for your participation!

Site Anniversaries
Congratulations to the following communities!
3 years: TriangleMommies (NC), HudsonValleyMommies (NY), SaltLakeCityMommies (UT), WilmingtonMommies (NC)
2 years: AlamanceMommies (NC), AtlantaAreaMommies (GA)
1 year: SouthValleyMommies (CA), TriangleAreaDads (NC), BaltimoreMommies (MD), IllinoisValleyMommies (IL), JacksonvilleMommies (FL), OrangeCountyMommies (CA) CincinnatiMommies (OH), PhoenixMommies (AZ), CentralValleyDads (CA), VegasMommies (NV)

Charitable Summary
Here's a brief summary of some of the charitable efforts some of our communities did during this quarter:
March of Dimes: several communities participated in their local March of Dimes "March for Babies" charitable walk. Together LakeNormanMommies (NC), RochesterMommies (NY), FredericksburgMommies (VA), HighCountryMommies (NC), ChesapeakeMommies (MD), VegasMommies (NV), GreenvilleMommies (NC), SouthValleyMommies (CA), FayettevilleMommies (NC), FrederickMommies (MD), AlamanceMommies (NC), SEWisconsinMommies (WI), BaltimoreMommies (MD), WilmingtonMommies (NC) and PeninsulaMommies raised $27,082 to help this organization improve the health of babies. WOW!!! :shock:

    SCValleyMommies (CA) had a canned food drive for SCV Food Pantry.
    SandhillsMommies (NC) partnered with SAND (See Ability, Not Disability), holding a bake sale to pay for t-shirts for their participants. SAND provides a venue for children with learning and/or developmental disabilities the opportunity to participate in a loosely organized sport environment. SAND's director, Christine, is a member of SandhillsMommies.
    RochesterMommies (NY) collected food for A Meal & More, Inc., a local soup kitchen, laundry detergent or baby wipes for the Sisters of Mercy/ Andrews Center, a foster home, and prepared a meal at the local Ronald McDonald house.
    HighCountryMommies (NC) is working on charitable crafting project to benefit Goods 4 Girls, sewing reusable menstrual pads for donations to areas of Africa.
    TriangleMommies (NC) participated in Race for the Cure and raised over $9,000, the third highest fundraising community team out of 750 teams!
    GwinnettAreaMommies (GA) continued to support The Lawrenceville Co-Op, an alliance of area churches that supports emergency needs within the community. This quarter they donated 122 items.
    AlamanceMommies (NC) collected items for the local Police Department and Victim Services so families dealing with domestic violence can have a safe and fresh start on life, and had a canned food drive for Loaves and Fishes.
    HudsonValleyMommies (NY) donated items leftover from their yard sale to the Grace Smith House, a domestic violence shelter.
    CharlotteMommies (NC) raised $3,000 with an online auction and donated the proceeds to Inspire the Fire, a group that works for positive change in adolescents through faith, fun and the arts and NC Parents of Blind Children, an afterschool program for blind and visually impaired elementary school aged children in Charlotte (run by two members of CharlotteMommies)
    TriadMommies (NC) held their 2nd annual Charity Baby Shower to benefit Room At the Inn of the Carolinas, a comprehensive program helping homeless, single, pregnant women, not only during their pregnancies but also after the birth of their babies. They collected over 2,000 items (not including diapers and wipes)! They also participated in the "Relay for Life" raising $680 for the American Cancer Society.
    WilmingtonMommies (NC) participated in the "Relay for Life" for the American Cancer Society raising a total of $2,151; collected items for the Domestic Violence Shelter and donated items to fill handbags given to each of the women in their empowerment and enrichment programs; gave leftover yardsale items to Safe Haven of Pender (offers help to victims of domestic violence) and held a Charitable Baby Shower benefiting Lifeline Pregnancy Center in celebration of their 3rd site birthday. Members donated a carload full of new and gently used baby items, 10 boxes of baby and maternity items and raised $143 from the sale of raffle tickets.
    MidessaMommies(TX) held a bake sale that raised nearly $300 for CASA West Texas, which supports victims of child abuse.
    PeninsulaMommies (VA) held a food drive during their site birthday party.

Ways You Can Help
If you search the web, please make your searches benefit our Network by using GoodSearch as your standard search engine. As a registered 501c(3) non-profit we receive $0.01 for every search done on our behalf. With over 25,000 members nationwide these pennies can add up! Last year we used these funds to purchase a thank you gift for each of our site administrators. We love to show our volunteers how much we appreciate them but it's tough to do this without "extra" funds.
    Type in "The Mommies Network" as the charity you search for
    Download the GoodSearch toolbar for IE, Firefox or Mac.

Friends of TMN
Heather founded in 2002 because she didn't want to pay to join a local mom's group or mom/baby class. The Mommies Network was founded on the same premise. That's why it's free to join your community, and we don't charge anything for moms and dads to start up new communities. We don't even charge our sites anything to belong to our Network.

Currently we're paying our bills (mostly hosting, domain names, cell phones, software) primarily through funds from a partnership with a group that owns three parenting magazines in North Carolina. Last fall we hired a National Sponsorship Manager, Rachelle Watkins (, with the goal of providing us with a steady stream of income from site, newsletter and forum sponsorships. She's off to a fantastic start and we're currently running about break-even between paying her stipend and collections to date. Obviously the longer she works at this the easier it becomes, so we view this as a long-term investment in our future.

If we had "extra" money right now we'd be spending it business cards for our newer sites (we had to stop paying for those), liability insurance, some time with a non-profit lawyer, better support and training for our Network Admins, a bookkeeper, and technical enhancements/improvements.

Many of you have asked how you can directly support our efforts to improve our Network and open new communities (we don't even try and the applications just keep coming :shock: ), so for those of you who are interested we set up an easy way for you to donate directly to TMN. Please don't misunderstand, we're not asking or requiring you to donate, we're just providing a simple way for those who want to contribute to do so.

Heather, Suzanne, Becky, Amy & Amanda
Board of Directors
The Mommies Network

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