More of our founder's story

"I had several gratifying experiences in helping families and had helped other individuals who were referred to me, by mutual acquaintances with their budgets and getting back on their feet; however the real catalyst was in 2010, when I was working with two high school seniors who wanted to attend college and an older woman in her late 50’s who needed to find employment.

The two high school seniors who came to me were already behind in the process of applying for higher education as it was mid-February when they asked for my help. After several meetings and many text sessions to outline some realistic goals, we got to work to ensure they would be able to register to take their SAT’s, and to begin the search for schools that they could still apply to and then explained their options for financial aid. The girls worked diligently with my help to prepare for their SAT test, and to complete college applications, then completing the FAFSA application (although one of them had a parent that did not want any part in helping her with this process) and apply for scholarships and additional grants. By the end of June both girls, had been accepted into schools out in the western part of the country, where they are soon to complete their undergraduate degrees.  During my last session with them, one of them said to me that she never thought she could even think about attending college let alone be getting ready to attend, as no one she knew had ever gone to college. As she said that to me, I thought to myself that there was more I could be doing because I knew there were other youths out there in the same boat and thinking the same thing - that there was no help for them or options for their futures. I could not in good conscience go through life knowing I had knowledge that could help them, and not share it.

Shortly after I completed the work to assist the two high school students get into college, I had the opportunity to help an older woman find gainful employment after many years being out of the workforce. The woman, I worked with had a daughter with an illness that required much of her time in order to care for her, but she also needed to work and the only kind of work she had done in the past was very low paying cleaning jobs, as she had barely graduated high school when she attended many years ago. She had not had a job in the last few years due to her daughter’s illness, so I worked with her to create a resume based on the jobs she had in the past and the skills that she had, but didn’t recognize as skills that would be helpful for employment. After a few months of working with her, she was able to find a temporary seasonal job at Target as a cashier, which allowed her to have some flexibility in her hours to work and still take care of her daughter. After the seasonal position ended, she received a call from Target two  months later, with an offer for permanent employment because they were pleased with the work ethic that she showed while there as a seasonal employee.  Both of these experiences inspired me to want to do more in the broader Philadelphia community.  

Starting The One Less Foundation, has been a culmination of my prior professional career and volunteer experiences, which have all prepared me to develop and run an organization such as TOLF and  to care for those who entrust me with something they hold so dear - their futures. “ ~ Ingrid R. Shepard, Founder, The One Less Foundation