After having spent well over twenty years propelling through a career as a corporate lawyer and Wall Street executive, circumstances led me to step out and change my life. Having made this transition, I was inspired, several years later, to write and speak about my experience of having had a life out of balance. However, my husband Anthony and I have felt that continuing to talk about work-life balance, a favorite topic for many, was helpful but not accomplishing much in a tangible way. At the end of last year, we woke up the morning of my birthday and Anthony said let’s actually DO something about it and stop just TALKING about it. He had just been hearing about his friend’s experience with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and realized we needed to convert our talking to doing to make a difference. Having been a New York City firefighter, Anthony understood what it looked like and felt like to actually do something that had an impact on people’s lives. That kind of real life impact became integral to our mission in creating the Life Balance Foundation.
To narrow our focus, we decided our first effort should be the Good Start Program which will help working families take full advantage of the federally-mandated twelve week maternity leave available immediately after the birth of a child. The Foundation will provide financial support to cover basic household expenses during that period. Working mothers who would otherwise have to quickly go back to work out of financial necessity will be eligible for grants from the Foundation to allow them to spend those initial important months with their new child.
Following that morning conversation, we moved into action and created the Life Balance Foundation in January of 2017. Soon after, the Foundation received IRS designation as a section 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization in May of 2017 with the extremely capable pro bono assistance of the law firm of Proskauer. The remainder of 2017 was spent securing specific state registrations which are also required to solicit donations. The state process has certainly been a bit cumbersome, slow and costly. In late 2017, some initial targeted fund-raising commenced and continues. We have secured enough donations to support the development of this website and ultimately, we hope to raise enough funds to begin accepting applications and making grants late in 2018 and early 2019.
Although the pace may certainly be slower than how I used to operate, Anthony and I must be true to our mission and try not to let our efforts on behalf of the Foundation interfere with the beautiful family life we created. We hope that over the long-run we will help others realize the full experience of their family life as they manage the demands of their employment as we are blessed with each day.
Erin Callan Montella and Anthony Montella, co-founders