Our vision is to see all of us empowering each other to live our best lives

We aim to do that by providing access to resources that improve the socioeconomic situation of underserved groups to promote a sense of independence and inclusion in society.

Our current focus

Our attention is currently on uplifting unemployed immigrants. People from all over the world move to the Netherlands with hopes of participating in its booming economy. However many experience a wave of shock and depression as they wait months, even years to find work here. Even with high levels of education and years of experience, many of our immigrant clients have shared that they aren’t even asked for interviews because of discrimination against their country of origin, their uncommon name, or even the color of their skin. These months of hopeless waiting for employment have a ripple effect on the individual, their family, and their surrounding communities. We counter that with 1:1 coaching support, career programs, and community events and workshops.

To see our vision and mission in action visit Our Work.

Our Values

These values drive the mission of our work and guide our decision making processes.

  • Accessibility

    Everyone should have access to what they need to live a fruitful and empowering life.

  • Inclusion

    Regardless of how you look, think, or what you have or believe, everyone should have access to proper resources to thrive.

  • Transformation

    Where we are now is not the end, only the beginning. We are all capable of changing ourselves, as individuals and as a society.

  • Purpose Driven

    We believe in doing things that will make an effective impact on individuals and society.

Our story

The Empowerment Foundation was born from a longing to serve people who were unemployed and living in a foreign country. At the time, the founders were being approached by unemployed people who were in desperate situations. These people needed help, but they felt like getting help was a luxury they could not afford.

Many immigrants have no option to go back to their home countries. They’ve started a life here in the Netherlands with a partner and community. Their eager to be part of Dutch society, but they feel disconnected from society without work. While they might have years of experience and education, cultural barriers and sometimes discrimination prevent them from even getting an interview. Many go months without employment and without support in a language they understand as they’re still learning the Dutch language.

Seeing this need, the founders - Shea Harty, Jane Stephenson, and Flor de Maria Paredes Mattos - got together and started offering free coaching sessions and career workshops for unemployed immigrants in the Netherlands. The workshops and coaching helped people who were on the brink of depression and isolating themselves connect with others and find hope for their situation again. Clients began to see how they had power, even in difficult situations.

The organization began growing and expanding across the country. Dedicated volunteers helped run all the workshops, coaching, and the necessary marketing to let people know how they could get the help they needed. During the pandemic years, we moved our services online and saw that our impact could reach beyond borders. Thus, what used to be known as Empower Amsterdam became the Empowerment Foundation you see today.

In 2021, Jane stepped down from the board. Today Shea and Flor drive the strategic and creative vision for the Empowerment Foundation.

What’s next?

Our team of directors is hard at work expanding our reach beyond the Netherlands to help as many people as possible access valuable resources. We’ve broadened our mission and vision so that we can empower as many people as possible to change their circumstances from surviving to thriving; in a space that is supportive, accepting, and diverse. This means more events and programs.

Meet our team

We are a multicultural team of highly-qualified career coaches, leadership trainers, and marketing and events specialists passionate about empowering others to live their best lives. Representing 15+ countries and a host of languages, our international team has the cultural insights and passion to serve our clients from around the world.

Get to know us

Foundation information

The Empowerment Foundation is legally registered as Empower Amsterdam Stichting in the Netherlands.

Board Members

Shea Harty and Flor de Maria Paredes


The income of the Empowerment Foundation comes from donations, tickets to events, program payments, and our sponsors.

Annual Reports

These contain the financial overview of the Empowerment Foundation.