With an entrepreneur’s vision and a servant’s heart, I, Eddie Brown, along with my wife, started the non-profit Giving Words, to help struggling single mothers address the ongoing trials of family management. With 23 years of experience in all aspects of the housing industry and 9 years of owning my own business, I have uniquely developed my skills to design, organize, and market our ministry. I have created a network of over 60 partners in the central Virginia area to assist moms in various areas of needs such as car repair and gifting, home maintenance, counseling, budgeting, and appliance repair. Additionally, I have, with the assistance of Apricot software, designed a tailored system that can track all mothers, services, activities and volunteers. This program lays the foundation for our non-profit’s ability to be replicated in every county, state, or even in another country.
Business acumen alone, however, lacks the empathy to take on such a burden. Even with over 32% single-parent households in Virginia’s and 35% in the United States, each time a mother needs help, she first must feel valued and accepted. Reared by compassionate parents and mentored by selfless neighbors like a local foster mother who cared for drug-addicted babies, I realized before adulthood that I should actively care for the most vulnerable. Later in my adulthood after a divorce and losing custody of my children temporarily, this calling magnified.
Like Job in the Bible, I had two experiences in my life where I questioned God and even whether or not I wanted to continue to live. First, I lost everything to mental illness, my battle with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. My disorder caused me to be completely disconnected to my wife, children, church, and employment. At my worst, I was curled up in bed in the fetal position, almost nonverbal. All of my strengths and talents were stripped away; simple decisions, like whether to eat with a spoon and fork, were too difficult. Thankfully, God walked me through the desert and carried me back to health, using a therapist, my doctor, and supportive family and friends. Through this long journey, Proverbs 3:5-6 became my life verse. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.” On some rough, dark days, I recited this in my mind minute by minute. As the months passed, I worked through cognitive behavior therapy with my doctor for six years to overcome the OCD to regain my health.
In my second “Job” moment I lost so much on a physical level. Through the experience of an unforeseen divorce, I lost my wife, daily time with my children, our home, my car, my career, my identity, and so much more. During this personal tragedy, the 2008 housing crisis started; my career tanked, and I eventually lost my job. Again, there were many days I didn’t want to continue living. Only my four days a month with my children gave me hope and the courage to persevere. I had already learned the impact of fatherlessness years before.
When I was 17 years old, I spent my senior lunchtime at a friend’s house, and her mother took care of foster infants that were born addicted to drugs. In those regular encounters, I saw the results of a parent’s worst case scenario, a mother having so little hope that alcohol or drugs became more important than protecting the unborn child. I developed a deep love for many of these babies, and they fostered the desire to become a father. Those foster care children would change my life forever and also save my life in the years to come. God planted His purpose in my life while I spent time with a self-sacrificing lady who took care of “the least of these.” These babies and later my children and my bonus daughters directed my life. God orchestrates amazing results through our valley moments. He turns the dust of our lives into beauty. In His timing, I met a single mother in church and God restored all that was lost in full measure. God also gave me the opportunity to love two more daughters; my children returned to live with me. Even when they were grown and we thought that our parenting years were over, God shifted our lives in 2016 and gave us Charlotte to raise, a tiny four-month-old baby, who we are still rearing today. As we cared for her and other young children in the neighborhood, our calling became clear.
The vision for Giving Words started with a passion for poverty-stricken children and parents in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, but as our lives became even more grounded in Central Virginia, our hearts for those vulnerable families only expanded. Since we both had personally experienced the constant work and lack of single parenting, my wife and I started Giving Words to fill the gap that exists for single mothers. With my wife Ginny’s 25 years in education and my business training, we could easily identify and empathize with the overwhelming load of single parenting and desire to offer support and solutions to common problems that can derail the family. The needs of the mothers in any given community can be vastly different, but they all need a community. We hope that Giving Words will lessen their physical needs, but even more importantly, connect them to a supportive, empathetic community that will accompany them on the lonely road of solo parenting.
My 1st heart tug was seeing infants being weaned off of drugs and my deep love for children developed for being a father.
My 2nd heart tug was in Honduras seeing a child dig through a dumpster for their necessities.
The 3rd – Getting Custody of our Granddaughter was the fire that was ignited and encouraged us to go all in right here in the states.
Testimonial and thanks to Giving Words
“I want to give a huge thank you and appreciation to the Giving Words, special thanks to Eddie and Allison for helping me at a desperate time of need in fixing my car. Being a single mother and just starting a full time job, being homeless, broke and having no way to get my car working properly and passing inspection by the end of month, a miracle happened thanks to Giving Words. I bought my replacement door from Bruce’s Auto in Richmond, VA. Giving Words coordinated my door replacement through CMA Colonial Nissan in collaboration with Brown’s Automotive. CMA Colonial Nissan with Don Sankey taking lead handled the necessary items to pass inspection, which included for 4 brand new tires and front end alignment all in 24 hours. This was the best life saving, life changing event in my struggle that I have experienced! They deserve the biggest kudos and pat on the backs for their caring hard work! Thank you so much!”
Don’t be discouraged by obstacles; they are only redirections. God wants us to learn to follow Him day-to-day, so he will allow us opportunities to face hindrances, but we do not have to give up or lose hope. Instead, we just come back to the Author of our lives and ask, “What now?” He always answers, and He sustains and even delights us through the process. If we continue to pursue Him, the blessing arrives just in time, right on the other side of the perceived barrier.
My business card
Giving Words, Inc.
What Giving Words does
Expensive repairs and other transportation issues can threaten the financial stability of any family. But families led by single mothers are disproportionately at risk. After evaluating a mother's emergency and situation, we decide on the best course to get her back on the road- to work, to school, and to her children's activities and needs. We also determine what other help or services her family needs.
• Car Repairs and Car Giveaways as needed
• Educational opportunities in personal finance and auto maintenance
• Connections within our network and the community
Mission-driven PARTNERSHIPS allow us to leverage our resources and offer help well beyond the market value of each dollar. Our partners want to give back, and perform work at discounted rates. That allows us to get $5 to $10 worth of value out of every dollar that flows into Giving Words!
Our partners include:
• Auto mechanics and tow shops
• Consignments shops and others with goods our mothers need
• Churches and other organizations that support
Visit my website: http://givingwordsva.org/