Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a Mocha Mom?
- How did Mocha Moms, Inc. begin?
- What is the Mission and Purpose of the organization?
- What is the Mocha Moms, Inc. National Platform?
- What is the structure of the National organization?
- Why are Mochas called Supporters and not Members?
- Why does Mocha Moms, Inc. exist? Why do you need a group for moms of color?
- Is this just an organization for women of color? What are the requirements for membership?
- Is this a religious organization?
- Is Mocha Moms, Inc. involved in political action, endorsing candidates and political platforms?
- What do our membership fees pay for?
- What draws people to the organization?
- Is this just a playgroup for the kids?
- How do members communicate?
- How do local chapters operate?
- What is the purpose of "playgroup"?
- Does Mocha Moms, Inc. promote a particular style of parenting?
- Does Mocha Moms, Inc. favor stay-at-home moms?
- I am a current member of a local chapter but I would like to join another local chapter in my area as dual member. What steps do I take to do that?
- My chapter does not have any at-home moms? Why do we need to have daytime support group meetings?
- Can we have our support group meetings online?
- What kinds of community service projects are Mocha Moms doing?
- Is the Education Fair requirement the same as the Occupy Schools requirement?
A Mocha Mom is a mother of color for whom parenting is a priority is this season of her life. Anyone who supports its mission is welcome to join Mocha Moms, Inc.
Four Maryland women who wanted to connect mothers of color from across the country who were taking time off from their careers to raise their children founded Mocha Moms, Inc. in 1997. It first began as a newsletter intended to encourage at-home mothers of color to feel good about their choice and to provide information to enrich their parenting experience. The idea quickly caught on and the women decided to form the organization. Years later it was decided that Mocha Moms, Inc. should expand its reach in order to support and encourage all mothers of color.
The primary mission is to support and encourage women who are making parenting a priority during this season in their lives. Mocha Moms, Inc. serves as an advocate for all mothers of color and encourages the spirit of volunteerism and community activism within its membership.
The national platform includes: non-exclusivity; strengthening marriages and families; securing strong educational foundations for our children and the nation's children; self care and taking time for ourselves, mind, body and spirit; community activism; the spirit of volunteerism; support and respect for all mothers.
The National Executive Board governs Mocha Moms, Inc. The National Board meets regularly to determine policy, establish rules, regulations and procedures, direct the website, assist in the formation of chapters, create and distribute the national newsletter, plan national events and activities, and coordinate publicity.
Mocha Moms, Inc. was incorporated as a "nonmembership corporation", which is the structure chosen by the majority of nonprofits. This structure avoids the extra time, work, and expense involved in having major corporate decisions subject to formal nationwide member approval. For this reason, legally, the Executive Board of Mocha Moms, Inc. are the sole members of the national organization. Mochas who pay annual dues to support the organization are legally defined as supporters of the national organization and members of their respective chapters.
Mocha Moms, Inc. exists in part to set the record straight. Mothers of color are making great sacrifices in order to allow parenting to be their top priority. The organization is essential because historically mothers of color, particularly African-American mothers, have not had the opportunity to devote a significant amount of time and energy caring for their own families. Many are putting their families first with little support from their friends, employers, coworkers, society in general and sometimes without the understanding of members of their extended families. Further, there are many cultural differences that warrant a group like Mocha Moms, Inc. – so mothers of color can address their specific needs and discuss many of the issues their children of color will face as they enter school and enter adulthood.
Mocha Moms welcomes people of all religions, races, educational backgrounds and income levels. It is open to anyone who supports its mission. The requirements for membership are minimal– just $50 for yearly dues and support for the mission and purpose.
This is not a religious organization. Our goal is to not make anybody feel uncomfortable because of his or her religion. If women in Mocha Moms, Inc. are interested in getting together and forming a religious group, they are more than welcome to get together outside of the framework of the organization.
No. Mocha Moms, Inc. is a 501c3 support organization, with its goal to support and encourage mothers of color who are making parenting a priority. Mocha Moms, of course, supports the spirit of volunteerism and activism within its ranks. Partnerships/relationships with government entities and public policy organizations merely exist to provide non-partisan, concrete and specific information to further educate Mocha Moms members.
Chapter membership fees are distributed between the local chapter and the National Office. One half of the fee goes to the local chapter treasury and one half of the fee goes to the National Office. The local chapter uses their portion of the fees for chapter expenses such as websites, PO boxes, local events, community service, etc. The National office uses their portion of the fees to pay for liability insurance which covers all chapters, membership processing, the National Website, Media and Publicity, National/Regional Conferences, National Community Service Initiative programming, and other national operating expenses.
People are drawn to Mocha Moms, Inc. because of its sweeping policy of non-exclusivity (anyone who supports the mission is welcome to join) and its generous warmth and support for its members. On a basic level, women are connecting with each other, finding friends for their children, swapping ideas, exchanging information and combating some of the loneliness and isolation they sometimes feel as mothers.
No. Mocha Moms, Inc. is a support group, with a heavy focus on the moms. As such, most of our activities are geared toward moms and not children. Of course, children are certainly always welcome, and chapters are encouraged to sponsor activities for the children.
On a local level, members communicate via email and during weekly/monthly meetings. Some chapters have their own websites and email discussion groups for further information and discussion. On a national level, Mocha Moms publishes an online newsletter, sends periodic updates and hosts email discussion groups among chapter and regional leaders. Mocha Moms also has a loyal Facebook following of 100,000+ fans, more than 6000 followers on Twitter, a significant presence on LinkedIn and an email database of over 20,000.
Local chapters usually operate under three main components: weekly mothers’ support group meetings, for moms to connect on a weekly basis; monthly moms-only get-togethers or outings, for moms to socialize without their children, listen to guest speakers and discuss topics of interest; regular community service, to "give back" to the community and help those in need. Each local chapter has local officers who are in charge of the day-to-day operations and activities of that chapter.
"Playgroup" is really a misnomer. It is really called Mothers’ Support Group, though many moms refer to it as "playgroup" because they often bring their children. Mothers’ Support Group is a chance for women to connect on a weekly basis, exchange information, bounce ideas off each other and support each other in their choices.
Mocha Moms, Inc. does not extol any particular parenting style or subscribe to any method, though it actively encourages healthy lifestyle choices.
Mocha Moms, Inc. adamantly refuses to participate in any mommy wars. The first and foremost reason is that three of the four founders of Mocha Moms, Inc. were employed outside the home when and shortly after founding the organization. According to the US Census, they would have been classified as "working" mothers. Furthermore, most of our mothers and grandmothers worked. They were the backbone of the black family. We are not in any position to judge or say that what works for us works for every family. We know that life if full of tough choices and that people do what they have to do to keep their families afloat. We also know that whether a parent is at-home or working full-time outside the home, the greatest benefits to children come from parents who are committed to spending quality time nurturing their children, gathering the tools and information to make educated and informed decisions, utilizing the resources available to them and building support systems.
19. I am a current member of a local chapter but I would like to join another local chapter in my area as dual member. What steps do I take to do that?
To join a second chapter as a Dual Chapter Member, you would only need to pay the new local chapter half of the annual membership dues directly for your dual chapter membership. The Chapter President would then be responsible to contact the National Administrator to advise the national office that you have joined their local chapter as a Dual Chapter member. The National Administrator will then officially add you to their local chapter roster.
20. My chapter does not have any at-home moms? Why do we need to have daytime support group meetings?
In 1997, Mocha Moms, Inc. was founded as a support group for at-home mothers of color. At that time, many mothers of color were making the difficult and often unpopular decision to leave traditional "9-to-5" employment in favor of part-time, flextime and work-at-home employment situations in order to devote more time to their families. Those mothers needed support and encouragement as they ventured down culturally unchartered territory.
When we later made the decision to expand our reach to include all mothers of color, we never intended to abandon the population of mothers that built this organization in the first place and put it on the map. Young and seasoned mothers of color who have left traditional "9-to-5" employment in favor of more flexible work environments still exist. The trick is finding them. They are in every community. They can be found during the day in the parks, the grocery stores, the libraries, the malls, and in stores like Target and Walmart.
If you have no "at-home" moms in your chapter, then you must try to recruit some. Then they can be in charge of the daytime support group meetings and that will lighten your load. If you need recruitment ideas, please email the national board at email@example.com and we will assist you. It is also important to remember that leading a Mocha Moms, Inc. chapter is hard work and can be very time-consuming. The pressures of being a mother, wife, daughter, employee and/or business owner while being actively involved n other organizations may make it difficult to effectively lead a Mocha Moms, Inc. chapter. One has to be in the right "season of life" in order be a successful Mocha president. Presidents also need strong leadership teams who have the time to share the work. If you find yourself without adequate help, recruit more members who are seeking the type of community Mocha Moms, Inc. can provide. And once you find them, continue recruiting more and train them to be the next group of leaders for your chapter.
Online support and online communities can be a wonderful addition to your chapter's services. Technology has put seeking and providing online connections and information at every mother's fingertips. In fact, hundreds of websites exist that provide online communities for mothers. However, Mocha Moms, Inc. was not designed or intended to be simply an online communication tool or resource. Just as with Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Jack and Jill of America, MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), MOMS Clubs, and other organizations, the power, strength, uniqueness and beauty of Mocha Moms, Inc. lies within and is dependent upon the strength, vitality, and creativity of the activities sponsored by the local chapters within the organization.
Support group meetings were originally called "playgroups" and their main purpose was to provide a vehicle for moms and children to gather and socialize in order to combat the feelings of isolation that some mothers experience as they parent young children. When local chapter members meet in person regularly to provide fun and enriching activities for themselves and their families and host community service opportunities that benefit their communities, more mothers will learn about and join the organization because of the local and national media attention those activities generate. That is the positive cycle that caused massive the growth of Mocha Moms, Inc. in the early 2000's and it is what will return this organization to prominence now.
Further, we live in a transient society. Mothers regularly relocate with their husbands and children to regions of the country where they have no friends and no relatives. Women become the first among their friends to have a baby and they find themselves in need of "mommy friends" who can relate to this mothering season of life. Mothers start new or non-traditional careers and ventures that alter their schedules and impact their existing friendship circles. These ladies are seeking live, in-person connections and friendships that can't be satisfied online. The job of the local chapter leadership team is to make a local Mocha Moms, Inc. community easy to find for those seeking it and to continue to make it visible so that the next generation of mothers will be able to find it in the future.
Mocha Moms, Inc. can best be described as being similar to a sorority for moms of color. Make programming decisions for your chapter with that idea in mind and your chapter will thrive and flourish.
Mocha Moms are participating in a wide range of projects, from providing clothing and food to needy families, to giving gifts to children of incarcerated parents, to decorating nursing homes and holding sick children in hospitals.
As part of our national community service initiative, Closing the Gap in Minority Health, Prosperity and Achievement, Mocha Moms are hosting educational forums in their communities, health and wellness symposiums to raise awareness of health disparities and financial planning workshops. They are mentoring children, volunteering in schools, hosting literacy nights and mother/daughter book clubs, and as part of Boys Booked on Barbershops (BBOB), they are setting up reading nooks in barbershops and beauty shops to foster a love of reading. To date, more than 100 reading nooks have been set up in barbershops and beauty shops throughout the country. Our community service work with BBOB was featured in a "Making a Difference" segment on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
Yes. The Annual Education Fair is now the only Occupy Schools requirement. In the past we have asked chapters to host at least one educational field trip or activity for children every year as part of the Occupy Schools Initiative. However, we have scaled back that requirement so that chapter leaders are not overwhelmed. However, chapters are always free to host educational field trips and activities for Mocha Kids if desired by the membership.
The Education Fair can be as big or as intimate as your chapter sees fit. The original intent behind the Education Fair was to enable seasoned mothers to be a resource for younger mothers. We wanted to provide seasoned mothers with the forum and opportunity to share what they have learned about preschools, public schools, private schools, parochial schools and homeschooling with the younger mothers in their chapters. The Education Fair can take many forms. Some chapters host large community events for the public and invite the local schools in the area to make presentations about their schools. Other chapters host a members-only potluck supper at a Mocha's home and each mom is encouraged to speak about her experience at a particular school. As long as an Education Fair is held once every calendar year and you send photographs and a summary of the event to the national board, the Occupy Schools requirement is satisfied.