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Creating paths

   out of poverty.  

  • Our organization was recognized in October 2018 for the advocacy work we do and for our programs related to Financial Literacy and Capability by the FiNext Awards and Conference as one of the ‘Top 10 Companies in Finance’. Read more about the award and recognition and the remarks given.

  • In March 2018, our organization received an invitation to participate in the AMEX Leadership Academy, which is a partnership between American Express and Thunderbird School of Business in Glendale, AZ. The AMEX Leadership Academy invites 30 emerging nonprofit practitioners and social sector leaders from around the world for a week of leadership and organization capacity  building to them develop the tools to solve pressing social issues. Read our press release. 

  • In the summer of 2016, during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, our Executive Director was asked to speak at Women Speak Out at the DNC Forum: For Justice, Survival and a Living Wage for All forum, she gave a speech titled "Women, Poverty and the Need for a Living Wage", to a crowded room, which was met with great applause. 

  • On July 24, 2016, also during the DNC, our organization was honored to host and serve as the staging office for the "Climate Revolution is Up To Us: Where Do We Go From Here" rally and documentary show in Vernon Park, located in the Germantown neighborhood, two blocks from our office. The Climate Change Rally, was organized by internationally known producer Josh Fox in partnership with NextGen Climate. Our office also served as the interview site for a film crew from Switzerland, working on a documentary to conduct their local interviews. This event brought many A-list celebrities to the Germantown neighborhood, where many of them took the opportunity to learn about the work The One Less Foundation is doing to end poverty. Read the press release.

  • Our organization was honored with the 2014 Making A Difference Award from the Health Partners Foundation for our work in the Philadelphia community to combat poverty through our work with our youth education and support programs. Read our remarks.

  • In 2014, our Executive Director was one of the headlining speakers at the Second Chance Conference in Toronto, Ontario, the annual conference examines issues related to returning (re-entering) citizens from prison in Canada. She spoke on the need to develop and fund programs that provide opportunities for youth, especially those most at risk for entering the criminal justice system, and how access to quality education and employment opportunities are the best way to help stem the flow of youth entering the criminal justice system. Read a copy of her speech titled "Giving Our Kids a Chance".

Awards & Honors       

who we are

At The One Less Foundation, we take a two-generation approach to solve the systemic problems of poverty. We provide financial literacy and capability, supplemental education and personal mentoring programs; and advocate for policies that support financial inclusion and equity.

We take a grassroots approach by creating programs with flexibility so they can be tailored to fit individual needs versus the use of generic blanket "solutions". We work with proven concepts and theories to create programmatic solutions for each individual, family, and community we work with.

Our advocacy works to solve the root causes of poverty, and endeavors to create an equitable financial floor that no one falls below. Our goal is to affect policy that puts everyone on a solid financial foundation so they can thrive.

With our programs and with our advocacy work - we create paths out of poverty.

We are also a United Nations recognized Civil Society Organization led by a board of directors made up of community and corporate leaders from various industries, who share a common philosophy: we can do something about poverty. The members of our board come from diverse backgrounds, and bring to the table varied life experiences and perspectives that guide the organization in its mission. 

The staff of The One Less Foundation, are dedicated individuals who create a welcoming atmosphere for everyone who interacts with our organization and works hard to ensure that all who participate in our programs know that they can be one less person to remain in poverty. 

The heart and soul of our organization are our volunteers, who enable the organization to stretch its capacity to do more, to help more and to be more.

the board

Mr. Yusuf Azizullah                                               

Mrs. Yvonne E. Bates - Brinkley                            

Mr. Alan Vergel de Dios                                                                             

Ms. Sadija A. Smiley                                               

Mrs. Whitney Harris  


Mr. Brian M. Gillespie

Mr. Thomas A. Spratt, Jr.

Mrs. Tosha Shepard-Washington

Mr. Daniel Wachtel

Ms. Ingrid R. Shepard * (Ex-Oficio)


To learn more about the members of our board, please read their bios.


our team

The daily operations of our organization are led by our Executive Director, with support from our Office Administrator, Program Managers, a Volunteer Coordinator and Interns. 

Our staff works to create a welcoming environment and manage programs that allow individuals to become empowered through education so they can create change in their homes, neighborhoods and lives. TOLF staff work with each individual to ensure good matches with our volunteers and to make sure that our programs are helping to achieve the goals and desired outcomes of program participants and organization partners.



ingrid shepard

executive director

Ingrid's background prior to TOLF was primarily in international banking, taxation and financial services. She also has more than 10 years of experience leading volunteer groups including the development and management of programs. She currently sits on four sub-committees with the Consumer Federation of America. 



program coordinator

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brandon shepard

Research & policy coordinator

Brandon is based out of our Denver, CO office and assists with research projects, tracking legislative policy (at the local, state and federal level), developing and creating campaigns to educate the public about legislative issues related to poverty and our mission. Our state level focus is currently Pennsylvania and Colorado. 


Qi Xu

office administrator

Ms. Xu is the bright and cheery face and voice that welcomes guests and program participants to our office. Qi has a background in finance and marketing and is currently getting her Masters degree. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

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volunteer coordinator



Camila Perez

Communications & social media

Camila supports the mission of the organization through developing and maintaining our social media channels and assisting with creating official communication for the organization.



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THE ONE LESS FOUNDATION works to help families and communities create paths out of poverty through a two-generation approach.

We are dedicated to alleviating poverty by providing financial literacy and capability, supplemental education, and personal mentoring to individuals, families and communities to help them gain the skills needed to create a path out of poverty.

Our organization bridges the gap between academic theory and real life, by providing programs and access to education, resources and opportunity.

Our programs work to help people achieve goals they never knew they could dream; and inspire individuals, families and communities to become more than they thought possible.



The One Less Foundation believes that every soul is of great worth and deserves to be treated with respect, compassion and dignity; regardless of race, gender, age, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. We value and strive to teach:

  •  Honesty as the key to personal development
  •  Integrity in dealing with others
  •  Living within our means
  •  Education is a never ending obligation
  •  Responsibility for self and family
  •  Treat others how you seek to be treated
  •  Never give up

“While i learned "the rule of 72" from my parents at age 7, i know that financial literacy means a lifetime of learning. The sooner and stronger that learning starts, the sooner and stronger goals can be crafted, pursued and achieved. i am excited to support the TOLF goal of financial education as a means to “inspire individuals, families and communities to become more than they thought possible.”

Ami j. shah  |  board member (Former), TOLF


our story

“When I started The One Less Foundation, I told myself that I would be happy if I helped only one person develop a path for their future and get out of poverty’s bitter cycle, because I know the ripple effects would have the potential to change generations to come for the better. That is still my goal – to help each person create lasting positive ripple effects and break the chains of poverty.”  ~ Ingrid R. Shepard, Founder

The organization was created in 2012 after many years of volunteer experiences the founder had creating programs for women and teens in need at her church. During this volunteer work, she had the opportunity to oversee and guide the women's auxiliary of 300 women for five years, which included ensuring that all food, financial, health and housing needs were met as possible. After that she volunteered as the employment specialist for her congregation for three years, helping adult members (men and women) upgrade their education, become employed and self-sustaining. It is from these experiences, that The One Less Foundation (TOLF) was created to help the greater Philadelphia community receive access to information and education through programs specifically designed to support some of the most vulnerable populations.

Read more about the two experiences that led our founder to start TOLF.