A rich history of bringing the hope of Christ to women and children around the world.
You may have heard about our multi-level Journey program, a personal roadmap to faith, purpose and service for Christian women. Or our ongoing Prayer Study, featuring “Prayer, Does it Make any Difference?” by Philip Yancey. Whether you’re new to our organization or have been with us for years, we want to share the deep, rich history of The Enlighten Foundation.
Left: Members of The Enlighten Foundation setting up the classroom in Israel. Right: Our Founder, Anne, visiting with women in the village of Amre Taza, Armenia.
2001: The Enlighten Foundation was founded.
It all started when Enlighten Foundation founder, Anne Griffith, Ph.D., went overseas to test theories about working alongside women in Romania and Zimbabwe. While there, she was able to better understand the spiritual and educational tools and resources that women desperately needed to survive and thrive in their lives. She returned to her home in Denver, Colorado, inspired to change the world.
2002: The organization received it’s 501(c)(3) designation.
The Enlighten Foundation received its U.S. non-profit status as a mission-based, Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to educating and empowering women worldwide through programming that includes personal growth, community service and global missions.
2003: The first Enlighten Foundation trip to Romania.
In 2003, a group of women from the Enlighten Foundation traveled to Pericei, Romania, an underserved Roma gypsy village. It was here that the first Enlighten Learning Center was established, focusing on providing vulnerable women and families with the spiritual and educational tools to better their lives. This included the first Project Sparkle Early Learning Program, providing the youngest members of the community with an educational and spiritual foundation to help them succeed in school and life.
2004: Our first mission to Zimbabwe.
The Enlighten Foundation held it’s first official training program (now known as Let’s Go!) for the women who were traveling to Zimbabwe. The training provided them with a better understanding of the country, it’s people and what to expect in Harare and on the mission. The goal of this trip was to design a church and begin setting up our second Enlighten Learning Center.
2005: A Kurdish village in Armenia.
With the overall goal of helping vulnerable women and children in underserved and often discriminated against communities, we took our first trip to Armenia. We established our next Enlighten Learning Center (and Project Sparkle program) in the Kurdish village of Amre Taza.
2007: Enlighten Learning Center opens in Israel
With the goal of helping vulnerable women uncover their purpose and identity in the Lord, we established another Enlighten Learning Center, providing social, spiritual and literacy training for Bedouin women in Segev Shalom, Israel.
Left: The Enlighten Learning Center in Romania. Right: The Enlighten Learning Center in Zimbabwe.
2009: Adding in health and wellness in Armenia.
With our Enlighten Learning Center in Armenia fairly well established, we began working with Baylor University to develop a 3-year health and wellness study for women in the village. It turned out to be a great success, and over the years, has contributed to increased knowledge of women’s health and reproduction, and better health for the entire community.
2011: Project Sparkle opens in Israel.
A Project Sparkle program was added to our Enlighten Learning Center in Segev Shalom, providing an opportunity for Bedouin children to learn Hebrew, engage with core pre-primary educational subjects, and develop critical social skills. In 2018, the local community took over our work and built a new facility for pre-primary education and women’s programming.
2012: Political and social unrest force Zimbabwe closure.
While the church remained, it became too dangerous and difficult to continue our work. However, we remained in touch with our friends in Harare and continued to provide support when we could.
2013: Another Project Sparkle program for Romania.
Our program in Pericei was so popular, we had children traveling from other villages to attend. That’s why, in 2013, we opened another in Illisua, a neighboring village. Today, both programs are funded by the Romanian government. We continue to send funds for school supplies and work with women and families in the communities.
Over the next several years, we continued our work at our Enlighten Learning Centers in Romania, Israel and Armenia. At the same time, we focused on our activities locally, hosting spiritual gatherings and talks and partnering with other Christian-based organizations in the community. We also began to refine our Journey program, emphasizing leadership and connecting to communities need help around the world. The program was finalized in 2017.
2018/2019: Restructuring and growth.
In 2018 and 2019, we worked to restructure the organization, implementing a “Center-archical Leadership Circle” model, where each director had specific responsibilities but worked with other directors to ensure decisions were made as a whole. We reopened the Zimbabwe program, with Brenda Levini as Director. And we began to research and plan activities for women and children living on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
We recently updated our website, providing everyone with the opportunity to participate in The Journey Program. We’re working our way through our “Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference?” group prayer study and the consensus so far is a resounding “yes!” And we have great plans for another visit to the Rosebud Reservation this summer.