National Foster Care Awareness Month: Support these Nonprofits
National Foster Care Awareness Month is observed in the United States every May. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about the approximately 400,000 children and youth who are in the foster care system and to highlight the needs of these vulnerable young people.
During this month, organizations and individuals across the country work to increase awareness about the foster care system and its impact on children and families. There are often events and campaigns that focus on recruiting new foster parents, supporting existing foster families, and advocating for policy changes that can improve the lives of children in care.
National Foster Care Awareness Month also provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of the foster care community, including social workers, advocates, and foster parents, who provide critical support to children in care.
Overall, National Foster Care Awareness Month serves as an important reminder that all children deserve a safe, stable, and loving home, and that we must continue to work towards improving the foster care system and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive.
Donate to these nonprofit organizations helping children in need:
Foster America is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that works to improve the foster care system by recruiting, training, and supporting leaders who can drive meaningful change. The organization was founded in 2016 and has since worked with partners across the country to support the development of innovative programs and policies that can improve outcomes for children and families involved in the foster care system.
Foster America's mission is to ensure that every child in foster care has a permanent, loving family, and that the system is designed to help children and families thrive. To achieve this goal, Foster America recruits talented professionals from a variety of fields, including social work, education, law, and public policy, and places them in year-long fellowship positions within government agencies and nonprofit organizations that work with the foster care system.
During their fellowships, Foster America fellows work on a range of projects, from designing and implementing new programs to improving data systems and supporting policy development. Fellows receive training, coaching, and ongoing support from Foster America, as well as opportunities to connect with other leaders in the field.
Overall, Foster America is working to build a pipeline of talented leaders who can bring new perspectives and innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing the foster care system. Through their work, Foster America is helping to create a future where every child in foster care has the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Think Of Us
Think Of Us is a nonprofit organization based in the United States that works to improve the lives of young people who are transitioning out of foster care. The organization was founded in 2014 by Sixto Cancel, who experienced the challenges of the foster care system firsthand and wanted to create an organization that could help young people navigate the transition to adulthood.
Think Of Us's mission is to provide young people who have experienced foster care with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, Think Of Us has developed a range of innovative programs and initiatives that focus on building resilience, developing life skills, and promoting self-advocacy.
One of Think Of Us's signature programs is the My Journey app, which is designed to help young people in foster care manage their transition to adulthood. The app provides young people with a personalized dashboard that tracks their progress toward their goals, as well as resources and tools to help them navigate important milestones, such as finding housing, getting a job, and accessing healthcare.
Think Of Us also works with partners across the country to develop and implement new policies and programs that can improve outcomes for young people who are transitioning out of foster care. The organization advocates for policies that promote youth voice and empowerment, such as the extension of foster care benefits beyond the age of 18, and works with partners to develop programs that provide young people with the skills and resources they need to succeed.
Alliance for Children’s Rights
The Alliance for Children's Rights is a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, California, that works to protect the rights and interests of children and youth who are in the foster care system, are experiencing homelessness, or are otherwise at risk. The organization was founded in 1992 by a group of attorneys who recognized the need for specialized legal services for children and youth.
The Alliance's mission is to ensure that all children and youth have the support, resources, and opportunities they need to reach their full potential. To achieve this goal, the organization provides a range of services to children and youth in need, including legal representation, education advocacy, and healthcare advocacy.
One of the Alliance's signature programs is the Foster Care Legal Services program, which provides free legal representation to children and youth who are in the foster care system. The program works to ensure that children and youth have a voice in court proceedings and that their rights and interests are protected.
The Alliance also provides education advocacy services to help children and youth in foster care succeed in school. The organization works with schools and school districts to ensure that children and youth have access to educational resources and support, and that they are not unfairly penalized due to their involvement in the foster care system.
In addition to its direct service programs, the Alliance also advocates for policy changes that can improve outcomes for children and youth. The organization works with elected officials and community partners to advocate for policies that promote child welfare, education, and healthcare, and to raise awareness about the issues facing children and youth in need.
First Place for Youth
First Place for Youth is a nonprofit organization based in California that works to provide support and resources to young people who are transitioning out of foster care. The organization was founded in 1998 by a group of foster youth advocates who recognized the need for specialized services to help young people who were aging out of the system.
First Place for Youth's mission is to ensure that young people who have experienced foster care have the support, resources, and opportunities they need to build a successful future. To achieve this goal, the organization provides a range of programs and services that are designed to help young people achieve self-sufficiency and independence.
One of First Place for Youth's signature programs is the My First Place program, which provides young people who have experienced foster care with housing, education, employment, and mental health services. The program works to help young people develop the skills and resources they need to live independently and to provide them with a supportive community of peers and mentors.
First Place for Youth also provides education and employment services to help young people achieve their goals. The organization offers educational support and tutoring services, as well as job training and placement programs, to help young people develop the skills and experience they need to succeed in the workforce.
Further, the organization also works to advocate for policy changes that can improve outcomes for young people who are aging out of the foster care system. The organization works with elected officials and community partners to promote policies that provide young people with greater support and resources, and to raise awareness about the issues facing young people who are transitioning out of foster care
Fill a Heart 4 Kids
Fill a Heart 4 Kids is a nonprofit organization based in Illinois that works to support and empower children and youth who are experiencing homelessness, abuse, neglect, or other forms of trauma. The organization was founded in 2009 by Tamara and Scott Tome, who recognized the need for services and resources to help vulnerable children in their community.
Fill a Heart 4 Kids' mission is to provide children and youth with the basic necessities they need to thrive, as well as opportunities for education, enrichment, and personal growth. To achieve this goal, the organization provides a range of services and programs that are designed to meet the unique needs of children and youth who are experiencing trauma.
One of Fill a Heart 4 Kids' signature programs is the Fill a Heart 4 Kids Pack program, which provides backpacks filled with essential items to children and youth who are experiencing homelessness or other forms of instability. The backpacks contain items such as clothing, toiletries, school supplies, and other necessities, as well as a personalized note of encouragement from a volunteer.
Fill a Heart 4 Kids also provides educational and enrichment programs to help children and youth develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed. The organization offers tutoring, mentoring, and other academic support services, as well as opportunities for sports, art, and other extracurricular activities.
In addition to its direct service programs, Fill a Heart 4 Kids also works to raise awareness about the issues facing vulnerable children and youth, and to advocate for policies and programs that can improve outcomes for these populations. The organization collaborates with community partners, elected officials, and other stakeholders to promote greater awareness and understanding of the needs of vulnerable children and youth.
Partnership for Children
The Partnership for Children is a nonprofit organization based in North Carolina that works to promote the healthy development of young children and families in the region. The organization was founded in 1993 as a public-private partnership and is committed to improving the lives of children and families through a range of programs and services.
The Partnership for Children's mission is to provide young children and families with the resources, education, and support they need to succeed. To achieve this goal, the organization provides a range of services and programs that are designed to promote healthy development, school readiness, and family well-being.
One of the Partnership for Children's signature programs is the Smart Start initiative, which is a statewide program in North Carolina that provides early childhood education and health services to young children and families. The Partnership for Children works in collaboration with other community partners to implement Smart Start programs in the region.
The Partnership for Children also provides a range of other programs and services, including early childhood education programs, childcare subsidies, parenting education, and support services for families of children with special needs. The organization is committed to ensuring that all children and families have access to high-quality services and resources that promote their health and well-being.
Restoration Collective is a nonprofit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee, that works to combat poverty and homelessness in the community. The organization was founded in 2014 by a group of volunteers who wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who were struggling with homelessness.
The mission of Restoration Collective is to empower individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness by providing them with access to resources, education, and support. The organization operates a number of programs and services that are designed to address the root causes of poverty and homelessness, including affordable housing, job training, and community outreach.
One of Restoration Collective's signature programs is the Restoration Housing program, which provides affordable, supportive housing to individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness. The program offers a range of services and resources, including case management, job training, and financial counseling, to help residents achieve stability and independence.
Restoration Collective also operates a job training program called Restoration Works, which provides individuals who are experiencing homelessness with the skills and resources they need to find and maintain employment. The program offers job training, career coaching, and support services, and has a strong track record of success in helping participants find meaningful employment.
Casa for Children of DC
CASA for Children of DC is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the best interests of children who have been abused or neglected and are involved in the District of Columbia's child welfare system. The organization is part of a national network of Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) programs that operate in communities across the United States.
The mission of CASA for Children of DC is to ensure that every child in the District of Columbia who has experienced abuse or neglect has a safe and permanent home and that their needs and rights are represented in court. The organization recruits and trains volunteer advocates who are appointed by the court to represent the best interests of children who are involved in the child welfare system.
CASA volunteers are trained to be impartial advocates who focus solely on the child's well-being, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the child's voice is heard and their rights are protected.
In addition to its core program of providing volunteer advocates for children, CASA for Children of DC also provides a range of other services and resources to support children and families involved in the child welfare system. These services include mentoring, educational support, and access to mental health services.
CASA for Children of DC is committed to making a real difference in the lives of children who have experienced abuse or neglect, and to advocating for policies and programs that can improve outcomes for this vulnerable population. Through its volunteer advocacy program, supportive services, and community partnerships, the organization is working to create a future where every child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.
Youth in View
Youth in View is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the lives of children and youth in foster care. The organization is based in California and was founded in 2007 by a group of foster youth alumni who wanted to create a platform for youth in care to have a voice in the policies and programs that affect their lives.
The mission of Youth in View is to empower youth in foster care by providing them with advocacy, leadership development, and supportive services. The organization operates a number of programs and initiatives that are designed to improve outcomes for youth in care, including advocacy campaigns, training programs, and peer support networks.
One of Youth in View's signature programs is the Youth Advocacy Program, which trains youth in care to become advocates for themselves and others in the foster care system. The program provides youth with training in public speaking, advocacy, and policy analysis, and helps them to develop the skills and confidence they need to make their voices heard on issues that affect their lives.
Youth in View also operates a Peer Mentorship Program, which connects youth in care with supportive mentors who have experience in the foster care system. The program provides youth with emotional support, guidance, and practical advice on a range of issues, including education, employment, and housing.
In addition to its direct service programs, Youth in View also works to raise awareness about the needs and experiences of youth in foster care, and to advocate for policies and programs that can improve outcomes for this population. The organization collaborates with community partners, elected officials, and other stakeholders to promote greater awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by youth in care, and to advocate for policies that can help these young people succeed.
Foster Angels of Central Texas
Foster Angels of Central Texas is a nonprofit organization that provides support and resources to children in the foster care system and the families who care for them. The organization is based in Austin, Texas and was founded in 2005.
The mission of Foster Angels of Central Texas is to improve the lives of children in foster care by meeting their most urgent needs and providing them with opportunities to succeed.
The organization operates a number of programs and initiatives that are designed to support children and families in the foster care system, including:
- Wish Program: This program grants wishes to children in foster care who are facing challenging circumstances, such as abuse, neglect, or illness. Foster Angels of Central Texas works with child welfare agencies to identify children who have a specific need or want, and then works to fulfill their wish, whether it be for a new pair of shoes, a laptop for school, or tickets to a special event.
- Life Skills Program: This program provides young people in foster care with training and support to help them develop the skills they need to succeed as independent adults. The program offers workshops on financial literacy, career readiness, and other important life skills, as well as mentorship and coaching to help young people navigate the challenges of transitioning out of foster care.
- Emergency Assistance Program: This program provides emergency financial assistance to foster families who are facing unexpected expenses, such as medical bills or car repairs. Foster Angels of Central Texas works with child welfare agencies to identify families in need and provide them with the resources they need to overcome the financial barriers that can threaten their ability to provide safe and stable homes for children in care.
In addition to its core programs, Foster Angels of Central Texas also provides a range of other services and resources to support children and families in the foster care system, including holiday gift drives, educational support, and advocacy efforts to promote greater awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by children in care.
Groundswell is an affordable workplace giving program built for modern businesses. We give organizations the infrastructure and tools to make it easy to empower employees to support the causes they care about during moments that matter most.
Unlocking Philanthropy: A Ready-to-Use Corporate Giving Policy for Modern Businesses
Sample Corporate Giving Policy You Can Use Today
In today’s socially conscious environment, more companies than ever are recognizing the value of corporate philanthropy. Not only can a robust giving policy boost a brand’s image and reputation, but it can also play a pivotal role in community development and global betterment. If your company is considering the establishment of a formal corporate giving policy or refining its existing strategy, this sample policy might be the perfect starting point for you.
Pillars of a Strong Corporate Giving Policy
Corporate giving programs range from employer donation matching programs to full blown corporate social responsibility programs with grantmaking and volunteerism. Many companies find somewhere in the middle that aligns with their size, budget, geographic presence and most importantly company values and commitment to diversity and inclusion. But what truly makes a corporate giving policy stand out? Let’s delve into the key features, from donation matching to the strategic use of platforms like Groundswell.
1. Donation Matching: Doubling the Impact
One of the most effective tools in a giving policy is donation matching. This is where companies match employee donations to eligible non-profits, effectively doubling the contribution. Such programs not only amplify the impact but also motivate employees to participate, knowing their chosen cause will receive twice the support.
2. Charitable Stipends: Encouraging Employee Choice
Charitable stipends are allowances given to employees to donate to a non-profit of their choice. This not only encourages a culture of giving but also empowers employees to support causes they’re passionate about. The stipends can be a fixed amount annually or can vary based on the employee’s role or tenure.
3. Dollars for Doers: Volunteering Translated to Contributions
“Dollars for Doers” programs convert volunteer hours into monetary donations. When employees volunteer their time for a cause, the company makes a donation equivalent to the hours spent. This fosters a culture of hands-on involvement and ensures that both time and money are being donated to valuable initiatives.
4. Corporate Grants: Sowing Seeds for Bigger Change
Beyond individual employee contributions, companies can set aside a dedicated fund for corporate grants. These grants can be given to non-profits, research initiatives, or community projects that align with the company’s CSR objectives. Such grants can lead to substantial, long-term changes and foster strong partnerships with community leaders and organizations.
Why Choose Groundswell for Your Giving Initiatives?
Incorporating these elements into a giving policy requires streamlined management, transparency, and ease of execution. This is where platforms like Groundswell come into the picture.
Groundswell offers an efficient and affordable solution for companies aiming to elevate their philanthropic endeavors. Here’s why it’s the ideal choice:
- User-Friendly Interface: Groundswell’s platform is designed for both companies and employees, ensuring smooth navigation and straightforward donation processes.
- Versatility: Whether it’s donation matching, handling charitable stipends, or managing corporate grants, Groundswell offers solutions tailored to each company’s unique needs.
- Cost-Effective: Groundswell provides a comprehensive suite of tools at competitive prices, ensuring that more of your money goes towards the cause rather than platform fees.
- Transparency: Track donations, monitor employee involvement, and generate detailed reports to measure the impact—all in one place.
An effective corporate giving policy is a blend of structure, employee engagement, and impactful contributions. By incorporating elements like donation matching, charitable stipends, “Dollars for Doers,” and corporate grants, businesses can create a ripple effect of positive change. And with platforms like Groundswell, executing these initiatives becomes not just feasible but also highly efficient and cost-effective.
5 Tips to Boost Engagement & Impact on Giving Tuesday
Leverage GivingTuesday to boost generosity
Every November, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as GivingTuesday, which often serves as the unofficial start of end-of-year giving campaigns. This comes on the heels of holiday shopping deals on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring millions to lean into the end-of-year holiday spirit with generosity and compassion. For many charities, GivingTuesday has become their biggest day for donations – and can help resource their ability to have an even greater impact in the year ahead.
For companies, GivingTuesday and the end-of-year giving season offers an opportunity to double down on their commitment to social responsibility, strengthen relationships with employees, and boost their impact in the community and broader world.
At Groundswell, we partner with companies all across the country to design and launch GivingTuesday campaigns – leveraging our easy-to-use platform that makes it easy for employees to participate and send donations to the causes and charities that they care most about. Below are some best practices to boost engagement and inspire generosity during the giving season.
1. Make Giving Easy:
A lot of giving platforms out there make it incredibly hard to donate. Some don’t have all 1.5 million IRS-approved charities listed. Others require employees to navigate through a web of intranet or sharepoint sites to find the giving program landing page. And others require that HR is notified of any donations an employee wants to make. At Groundswell – we are committed to removing all of the friction, and ensuring that employees can find charities easily, through a platform that is accessible from the palm of their hand, so they can give whenever they want to.
2. Launch a GivingTuesday Match Campaign:
Through Groundswell you can customize and launch a special GivingTuesday match campaign in a matter of minutes. Simply pick the nonprofits to include in the special campaign, select the start and end-date for the campaign, and then determine the match – 2x, 3x – along with any overall budget limits, then you’re done!
3. Boost engagement by involving ERGs:
Share nonprofit recommendations from Employee Resource Groups to provide inspiration around causes and nonprofits that matter to your employees. You can feature these nonprofits on dedicated ERG Corporate Spotlights and Campaigns that will be visible to all employees on their Groundswell dashboard.
4. Surprise (and Delight) Employees With A Gift to Give:
Consider sending a surprise “gift to give” to reward those already participating in your giving program (and to incentivize others to enroll). These gifts might be used to further maximize impact through the existing campaign, or to donate to other nonprofits your employees care about. Groundswell’s custom gift feature allows companies to easily schedule and send gifts with little to no administrative burden.
5. Level up with Volunteer Matching:
Groundswell’s Volunteer Matching program – sometimes known as Dollars for Doers – recognizes that some employees may not have funds to contribute, but have time – and rewards them in the same way. It’s an inclusive approach that invites everyone to participate in GivingTuesday, even those who may not be able to donate their own funds.
12 Employee Benefits Survey Questions Modern Companies Should Ask
In today's business environment, having the right and highest performing talent is more critical than ever. With benefits packages playing a vital role in these decisions, how can companies truly gauge their effectiveness? By initiating regular employee benefits surveys.
Scroll down for a free survey template below.
Let's dive in to the importance of asking the following questions.
Is our workforce satisfied with the current employee benefits package?
Gaining insights from "how satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?" can offer companies a quick pulse on the effectiveness of their benefits. A dip in satisfaction might signal a need for re-evaluation, especially if you're looking to maximize your budget.
How comprehensive are the employee benefits we offer?
Do employees feel that the organization covers a wide range of their needs? Asking, "do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?" can shed light on any potential gaps in coverage.
Are we showing true commitment to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion through our benefits?
Are the company's efforts in promoting DE&I resonating? This can be gauged by asking if the benefits genuinely support diversity and inclusion. If they aren't, here's an opportunity to collect ideas directly from your employees.
Read more about how to make sure your giving program is equitable and inclusive.
Do our benefits reflect our company culture and values?
The question, "do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?" will highlight any potential discrepancies in practicing what you're preaching.
Are we catering to the needs of a remote or multi-location workforce?
With remote work on the rise, is the company adapting its benefits accordingly? It's essential to find out if employees feel supported, regardless of their work setting.
Would employees recommend the company based on our benefits?
This is an easy one to skip, but it's a great question to ask. See how influential your benefits package is for employee referrals. Determining if employees would advocate for the company based on its benefits can be a key metric for recruitment.
How do specific benefit categories fare?
By querying satisfaction levels across various benefits – physical health, social impact, mental health, financial health, and fringe benefits – can companies discern which areas are thriving and which need enhancement?
What additional benefits do employees desire?
Is there a particular benefit that could make a difference in employee satisfaction and retention? Discovering this can be as straightforward as asking, "if you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?"
If your workforce desires a more meaningful benefit, see why decentralizing your corporate philanthropy strategy can achieve greater impact at scale.
How often should I send an employee survey about our benefits?
While every business has their own set of unique needs, conducing a quarterly employee survey at minimum can help you get a pulse check.
There will be some natural and unplanned peaks in valleys throughout the year that can drastically affect employee morale and company culture. By proactively seeking feedback through surveys, companies can foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring they remain at the forefront of employee satisfaction.
What are some affordable benefit options we can provide employees?
Corporate matching or giving programs can be a low-cost addition to your benefit offering that supports your employees’ unique passions and perspectives through charitable giving and boosts your company’s commitment to social impact. Groundswell offers a comprehensive solution with a simple implementation and nearly zero administration burden.
- How satisfied are you with our company’s benefits package?
- Do you feel our benefits package is comprehensive in its offering?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our cultural values?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our commitment to Diversity & Inclusion?
- Do you feel our benefits package supports our remote or multi-location workforce?
- How likely are you to recommend applying based on our benefits package?
- How satisfied are you with our physical health benefits (i.e. health care, sick leave, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our social impact benefits (i.e. corporate matching, volunteering, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our mental health benefits (i.e. vacation time, EAP, etc)?
- How satisfied are you with our financial health benefits? (i.e. retirement, student loan assistance, etc)
- How satisfied are you with our fringe benefits and perks? (i.e. fitness subsidies, stipends, etc)
- If you could choose one benefit not currently offered, what would it be?