February 22, 2017

Friends is Launching a New Chapter in San Francisco and Doubling Youth Served in Seattle Area

With support from a $4 million Social Innovation Fund grant, Friends of the Children has awarded $2.4 million in expansion grants to launch a new site in the Bay Area and expand service to new youth in the Seattle area.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Today, Friends of the Children's national team – a scaling and capacity-building organization supporting the Friends of the Children network – was awarded $2.4 million to launch a new chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area and double the youth served by Friends of the Children–Seattle.

Fueled by a $4 million grant from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a federal program of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), and a $2 million match from the Thrive Foundation for Youth, a division of King Philanthropies, the One Child at a Time Expansion Project will expand Friends of the Children's evidence-based program to reach more youth in foster care and high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods across the country. Specifically, over the next four years, the project will increase the number of children served by Friends of the Children by 50 percent nationally. Friends of the Children provides long-term professional one-on-one mentors to the children who face multiple systemic obstacles from kindergarten through high school graduation – 12+ years, no matter what. The model, proven through rigorous evaluation, increases graduation rates and decreases teen parenting and juvenile justice system involvement while focusing on the growth potential of each child.

Friends of the Children–Seattle has a 16-year history implementing the Friends of the Children model in Seattle/King County. SIF funding will enable Friends of the Children–Seattle to double the number of children served in low-income neighborhoods in the Seattle area, primarily in the Rainier Valley, Central District and South King County.

In addition to the Seattle expansion, a $1.2 million grant will support the launch of a new Friends of the Children–San Francisco Bay Area chapter to begin serving its first class of children in the spring of 2017. Over the next four years, Friends of the Children–SF Bay Area plans to enroll local kindergartners primarily from the Bayview Hunters Point (BHP) neighborhood of San Francisco, which was identified by the Brookings Institution as one of five "extreme poverty" neighborhoods in the city.

"Closing the opportunity gap for our nation's most vulnerable youth isn't easy, but we believe it can be done," said Friends of the Children National President Terri Sorensen. "Our goal is to inspire, encourage and mobilize greater community support to address this critical problem and enable real progress toward a solution."

"The Social Innovation Fund is an innovative program that invests in truly compelling solutions to the most persistent challenges facing our communities," said Lois Nembhard, acting director of the Social Innovation Fund at CNCS. "Friends of the Children has a proven track record of changing the life-trajectories of youth facing the toughest challenges, and we are thrilled to support the expansion of their high-impact work to serve more young people across the country."

Friends of the Children will be holding an additional open competition to award the remaining $3 million in Social Innovation Funds to expand to an additional three to five communities.