Gift gives organization powerful momentum to provide thousands more youth who have big dreams and face systemic obstacles with a paid, professional mentor for 12+ years
PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The national organization Friends of the Children announced today its network received a $44 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Friends of the Children is the only national mentoring program in the country with paid, professional mentors called “Friends” who walk alongside youth for 12+ years, no matter what. This gift offers powerful momentum for the organization to serve thousands more children, many of whom are in—or at risk of entering—foster care. In just eight years, Friends of the Children has grown from five to 26 locations across the U.S., serving urban, rural and Tribal communities.
“We are honored to kickstart our 30th anniversary of serving children with this extraordinary gift from MacKenzie Scott. This catalytic investment means we will continue expanding across the country to provide a Friend to thousands more youth,” said Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children – National. “In 2020, nearly 32,000 children ages four to six entered foster care in the U.S. – that’s 32,000 children and families who may have avoided foster care involvement if they’d had a Friend by their side.”
Of the $44 million, Friends of the Children – National received a $15 million gift and 12 of its chapters received direct gifts totaling $29 million. Those chapters include Austin, Boston, Central Oregon, Chicago, Detroit, Klamath Basin, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Tacoma and Tampa Bay. This is the largest single gift ever received by the organization in its 30-year history. The funding will support the organization in expanding its child and whole-family well-being services to thousands more children and families at new Friends of the Children locations.
“I know from my own experiences that children often face a lot of hard things as they grow up and the love and support I received after my foster care experience allowed me to thrive and see myself for all that I could be,” said Simone Biles, youth advocate and Olympic gymnast. “That’s why I believe the long-term mentorship that Friends of the Children provides is so meaningful—having just one person who believes in you can truly impact a young person’s life. I am excited that MacKenzie Scott is investing in Friends of the Children to empower more youth across the country! In supporting Friends of the Children, it is my hope that more children will have access to a ‘Friend’ and be inspired to pursue their hopes and dreams in all communities, including my hometown of Houston, Texas.”
Read the full press release here.
Media Contact: Ariane Le Chevallier, 971-201-1214, [email protected]
SOURCE Friends of the Children