Richard Spangenberg spent his career in management, with major corporations.
One of his projects was a short documentary film on families that were not receiving child support. During the process, the Westporter learned that every American can be affected by the difficulties of single-parenthood, and the financial crises causes by non-payment of support.
The issues flies under most people’s radars. Spangenberg vowed to do something to help.
With his business background, he created a foundation. Based in Westport, Broken Promises offers financial support (for clothing, food, medications and childcare), scholarships, parenting tools and an online resource center to single-parent families.
The issues faced by single parents respect no geographic or socioeconomic boundaries. “Everyone has been affected, or knows someone who has been,” Spangenberg notes.
The name “Broken Promises” has many layers and meanings. It includes the promise of the American Dream; that a child’s life will be better than his or her parents; that the love of your life will support you and your children; that marriage is forever, and that one’s own children might not be able to live up to their potential.
At its core, the Broken Promises organization is about single parents — including fathers — who slide into poverty while trying to provide, alone, for their children.
Spangenberg says that people earning twice the poverty level — $50,000 — can still flounder. In Fairfield County alone, 7,500 families could be helped by Broken Promises. Some are right here in Westport.
Spangenberg has enlisted professionals to help, in areas like parenting, child development, and government advocacy and legislation. Westport residents Cheryl DeMichael, and Bernard and Midge Deverin, are helping.
So is Westporter Dr. Ingi Soliman. The chair of Broken Promises’ single parenting and child development group, she says the organization is “building a new support village” for struggling single-parent families.
A recent fundraiser in Greenwich launched the Fairfield County “Help is on its way!” campaign. The next event will be in Westport.
Spangenberg has learned that anyone — including families in this town — could someday need Broken Promises’ help.
His promise is to help them. His request is for others to help his organization.
Anyone looking for information — or to volunteer — can call 203-253-5427. Help is indeed on its way.