The friend you didn't know you had: WFF President Joan Putthoff; Vice President Niki Montgomery; Director of Development Connie Mann
Ryan was emotional with gratitude when he called Working Families’ Friend (WFF) to say “thank you.” Ryan was a successful carpenter. He had always been able to provide for himself and his family. But when a tragic accident claimed his leg, life got complicated. Multiple medical bills and an expensive prosthetic leg were making things worse. When physical challenges cut his job hours and he was on the brink of losing his insurance, Ryan knew he couldn’t do this by himself.
His local union connected him with WFF, possibly one of the best kept secrets in Kansas City. WFF’s critical differentiator is they are not for the chronically needy. They are a non-profit specifically created to assist working or recently unemployed individuals and their families who are not destitute and cannot qualify for this type of assistance through other traditional emergency assistance programs.
In fact, you can only use their services a maximum of twice in your lifetime. Considering millions of Americans who bring in a solid income are only $400 away from financial hardship, WFF fills a critical need, aiding those faced with that one potentially devastating life event.
Services are not solely financial. WFF will:
Advocate on behalf of people facing a crisis and lacking the time or tenacity to fight for themselves.
Help people problem-solve and find real solutions.
Train representatives in the workplace to recognize valid issues with co-workers and help them appropriately address their challenges before they become a crisis
Provide emergency financial assistance ONLY in extreme cases, and only if the assistance we can provide will effectively address the client’s need.
The non-profit was established in 2003 by Mike Montgomery, who spent most of his working life in and around organized labor, where he saw so many people who worked hard and gave back to their communities, yet didn’t have a place to turn for that unexpected need.
“The people we serve are surprised that we are here, and that we can help so quickly,” WFF President Joan Putthoff said. “They are filled with humble gratitude, because the people we serve haven’t had to ask for help before, and never thought they would have to.”
WFF has partnerships with more than 220 corporations and local unions (including P1 Group) to help employees, through their own organizations, take advantage of WFF services. WFF is also a partner agency with the United Way, which allows them to provide assistance for individuals not associated with a partner organization.
There are no other organizations like WFF in the United States, so it’s no surprise they’re getting calls from around the country – and with no geographical restrictions, they’re happy to help.
For WFF’s leadership, the work is a labor of love.
Vice President Niki Montgomery is the daughter of founder Mike Montgomery. “I was raised from childhood on advocating for working people,” she said. “The people we meet are at a fork in the road in their life. It’s the difference between devastation and staying on the right path. It’s so rewarding to be able to ensure one bump doesn’t lead to devastation.”
“My days are full of what I call ‘love my job’ moments,” Joan said. “The population we serve is the people who support themselves and support this community. When we help them, we uphold those valuable members of our community knowing that they will in turn help others.
P1 Group is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work. For the past 16 years, our Annual Charity Golf Tournament has raised money for a variety of philanthropies. This year, the proceeds from the tournament will go toward Working Families’ Friend.