Grant will support a 2Gen pilot that will provide children of parents aging out of foster care with salaried, professional mentors for 12+ years.
PORTLAND, Ore.— The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation awarded Friends of the Children a $1.75 million grant to support two-generation (2Gen) efforts in Los Angeles and New York City that will improve outcomes for families that have had involvement in the foster care system. The pilots will provide the children of parents aging out of foster care with a salaried, professional mentor called a Friend for 12+ years.
“As a national leader in the foster care space, we are incredibly honored that the Hilton Foundation has chosen to support Friends of the Children,” said Terri Sorensen, national president of Friends of the Children. “With their investment, we will be able to demonstrate how our innovative 2Gen approach is empowering both young parents and their children to make progress together.”
The grant will support pilot programs at Friends of the Children chapters in Los Angeles (serving youth in Metro and South L.A.) and New York City (serving youth in Harlem and the South Bronx). In partnership with other community organizations and child welfare agencies, the pilots will identify and select the children (ages 4 to 6) of parents who have aged out of foster care. Youth selected for the program will be paired with a Friend—a salaried, professional mentor— who will stay with them through graduation – 12+ years, no matter what.
“Friends of the Children’s track record on outcomes for youth in foster care, as well as their innovative 2Gen approach, showed us that their model has the potential to change the life trajectory for both children and parents impacted by foster care,” said Jeannine Balfour, senior program officer for domestic programs at the Hilton Foundation. “This work aligns with our efforts to ensure that young parents who’ve experienced the child welfare system are able to thrive, and we’re pleased to support these efforts.”
As a 25-year-old generational change model, Friends of the Children is part of a larger continuum of services that address the needs of both vulnerable children and parents together. They do this by building trusting, long-term relationships, empowering youth and parents to realize their full potential and change their stories.
The Harvard Business School Association of Oregon return on investment study found that for every $1 invested in Friends of the Children, the community benefits more than $7 in saved social costs. Helping one child saves the community $900,000.
Friends of the Children, which was founded in 1993 in Portland, Ore., with just three Friends and 24 children, is now in 15 locations across the U.S. and United Kingdom. Fueled by a $4 million Social Innovation Fund grant, the organization is in the middle of a $25 million expansion campaign. They are positioned to double enrollment in the next four years, with the goal of expanding to 25 cities by 2025.
In addition to the Hilton Foundation’s generous support for the L.A. and New York City pilot programs, Friends of the Children has received support from Ballmer Group, Reissa Foundation, the Pritzker Foster Care Initiative, All Ways Up Foundation, and Russell Wilson and Ciara’s Why Not You Foundation, as well as investments from individual and corporate philanthropists.