February 25, 2019

CEO Viewpoint: “How do I bring a chapter to my city?”

Our plans for expanding to 25 cities by 2025

By Terri Sorensen

In January 2016, Friends of the Children announced a national expansion campaign, with the goal of raising $25 million by 2020. It was an incredibly ambitious goal. We knew that if we could meet it, we would be able to give thousands more youth a Friend for 12 ½ years – no matter what.

In October 2018, less than three years after setting that goal, we had raised the $25 million (two years early) and had expanded to seven new locations.

While we are thrilled and grateful for the support we’ve had to date, we can’t stop there. In 2017, the rate of children in foster care rose in 39 states. That’s a 12 percent increase since 2012. We estimate that in 2017, there were about 26,000 5-year-olds in foster care. Imagine what we could achieve if every child in foster care had a Friend.

As a result of the tremendous need, we are thrilled to share that we have set an even more ambitious goal for the next phase of our national expansion campaign:

We are committing to raising $50 million so that we can expand to 25 cities by 2025, empowering youth and families across the country.

We have no doubt that together, we can meet this goal. As we have traveled across the country over these past few years, we have met so many passionate, generous and committed people who believe in our model and want to bring it to their community.

Last month we announced a challenge: We will award $200,000 to four communities who meet the criteria to launch a Friends of the Children chapter. Local champions across the country are rising to the challenge and inspired to make it happen.

In the past month alone, we have received over twenty inquiries from committed individuals all over the country asking what they need to do to bring a Friends of the Children chapter to their community.

It takes local champions, commitment and resources to expand the model to a new community. Why? Because when we say that we are going to be there for our youth for 12 ½ years, we mean it.

This is why we require that local champions raise at least three years of seed funding before opening a chapter. Here are the key components needed to be in place:

--Three years of seed funding ($1 million for rural community, $2 million for a urban community)

--A local champion (or group of champions) dedicated to fundraising and launching in the new market

--Demonstrated private donor capacity to raise sustainable funding for the long term

Join us! Every dollar we raise counts, and every local champion can make the difference. Join us by donating or working to bring a chapter to your community. If you are interested in becoming a local champion, please reach out to our Chief Expansion Officer, Eric Gabrielson.

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