Family Promise Annual Impact Report 2020

1 million served since our founding.

Family Promise
Annual Impact Report
2020

Every life we change
has a story.

?

3 million

children in the U.S. will experience homelessness this year.

“No family ever expects to become homeless…

When it happened to us, it was a total shock. But because of Family Promise, we didn’t just overcome that challenge. Family Promise helped our family grow and succeed in ways we never could have imagined.” —Family Promise graduate

15x less

Family Promise homelessness prevention programs cost up to 15x less than federal estimates for shelter and re-housing.

From Our CEO

Much had changed, but our core purpose remained the same: Giving families hope, home, and a community that supports them.

Dear Friends,

The North Star helped ancient travelers plot their course. It guided journeys. It led people to freedom. The North Star gave them direction.

If ever there was a year we needed direction, it was 2020, and for Family Promise, our North Star was our core values: Hospitality, Empathy, Community, Dynamic, Innovative, Empowerment. Our Affiliates were guided by these principles in the darkest of years, ensuring children and families were safe and could navigate a pathway to sustainable housing and the future every child deserves.

In these pages, we share the many ways our Family Promise community embodied those values and made it possible for us to continue to serve families and engage volunteers amidst a global health pandemic.

Most notable was how Affiliates pivoted their operations. With our traditional shelter model greatly curtailed, and in many communities halted, we innovated to serve the thousands of families who had lost jobs and incomes and were at risk of losing their homes. Fortunately, we had developed a strategic plan that focused on increasing our work in homelessness prevention and shelter diversion. With the support of amazing corporate partners, we accelerated the introduction of impactful programs that addressed these needs. Affiliates that were focused on shelter and shared meals quickly switched to rental assistance and landlord mediation.

The tremendous support from our donors and partners enabled us not just to guide them, but to create bold original programs that facilitated these new modes. Meanwhile, we shifted volunteerism from in person to virtual. Much had changed, but our core purpose remained the same: Giving families hope, home, and a community that supports them.

We discovered that in the midst of extraordinary challenge, there was remarkable innovation. Our community took action in dynamic new ways that addressed the unique needs and circumstances of every family. Volunteers and donors responded with empathy for the eight million households pushed into poverty. Thousands of families were empowered. The spirit of hospitality remained strong.

Together, Family Promise followed its North Star, and it lit our way.

Very best regards,

Claas Ehlers, CEO

Family Promise has served more than

1 million PEOPLE

since 1988.

Impact 2020

CLICK YELLOW ICONS

200+

Affiliates

6,000

congregations and organizations

81%

served find housing

43

states

1 Million +

served since founding

200,000

volunteers

agsdix-fas fa-briefcase-medical

250,000+

PPE distributed

50%

of Affiliates doubled the number of people they served

HOSPITALITY & empathy

“That’s what’s so great about Family Promise—they give families more than shelter. They welcome them in and help them focus on healing and moving forward.” —Family Promise VOLUNTEER

Cohen family

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

A Family Focused on Change

It didn’t take long for the Cohen family to fall in love with Family Promise.

Aaron, Deanna, and their three children wanted an opportunity to make a difference in the world as a family. They learned of Family Promise and were drawn to the cause, even though the closest Affiliate was up to an hour from their home in Riverside, CA. After their first time volunteering, they knew they wanted to bring the program to their own community. They contacted Family Promise and enlisted local support, and, as Aaron says, “Things snowballed from there.”

Today, Family Promise of Riverside is months from opening its doors, with the Cohen family playing an active role. They’ve done significant fundraising, are coordinating shelter sites, and have a growing board of directors. They’ve even received two donated vehicles to help families who lack transportation.

“We like the way Family Promise is designed,” Deanna explains. “It’s sustainable in a way volunteers can handle. Lasting changes come from relationships, not just throwing money at problems.”

The family has found that the work of developing a new Affiliate unites the community.
“We all have the same goal in mind,” says Aaron. “To end homelessness.”

MOVING ON

Family Promise volunteers play an important role supporting families struggling with homelessness. And some, like Elijah, are Family Promise graduates.
Elijah, his mom, and sisters were facing homelessness when they came to Family Promise Union County in Elizabeth, NJ. He and his mom found work shortly after their arrival. The family saved money and made plans, and before long, were in their own home.

That’s when Elijah contemplated starting a business. Family Promise’s commitment to microenterprise (defined as small business with a sole proprietor and six or fewer employees) was key to helping him achieve this dream.

Combining his mechanical skills with his interests in property maintenance and transportation, Elijah decided on a moving and handyman business. He researched everything from market demand to tax laws and purchased a truck for his company. However, he didn’t have the funds for the other supplies he’d need. Family Promise helped him acquire the necessary materials to get his business up and running.

“I’ve always felt more suited to having my own business,” Elijah says. “Family Promise and my family have been really supportive.”

Work keeps him busy, but Elijah saves time to help move graduating Family Promise families into their own homes. He appreciates Family Promise’s mission to empower families to lasting independence and wants to help others facing challenges like he encountered.

“People need a support system,” Elijah says. “Family Promise guides people to their financial freedom so they can be successful.”

“I’ve always felt more suited to having my own business. Family Promise and my family have been really supportive.”

Community Garden

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

Planting Seeds of Promise

Dan Bottorff grew up on a farm in Iowa, so his gardening skills are well established. Today, his green thumb ensures families in need have fresh, healthy food on their plates every week.

For nearly ten years, Dan has overseen the gardens at First United Methodist Church in Westfield, NJ, a Family Promise shelter site. He and a team of volunteers cultivate a community kitchen garden that supplies produce to Family Promise and local food pantries. The garden yields string beans, tomatoes, peppers, and more, and every Monday during growing season, families can stock their kitchens with herbs and produce picked fresh that morning.

Families appreciate the fresh food the garden provides, and Dan notes he and his fellow gardeners benefit from the project, as well.

“The community garden is a wonderful thing,” he says. “It’s like Family Promise in that it brings people together, and they get a lot out of it whether they’re working in the garden or reaping the harvest.”

COMMUNITY

“I never imagined we’d be in this situation, but Family Promise shattered my stereotype of how homelessness is treated. It’s a whole community of people who are there for you in any way you need, even after you get back on your feet.” —Family Promise GRADUATE

Cohen family

“It feels good to be part of an organization that’s helping people in this way. I’m proud of the tutors and kids for working so hard. We’re happy to support families this way.”

—Josh, Family Promise Club president

Lessons in Success

Math isn’t fun in Zykir’s house.

The fourth grader struggles with his lessons, but math is just one of the trials Zykir has confronted. Several years ago, his family faced homelessness before finding Family Promise Union County in Elizabeth, NJ. Now, as graduates, they use stabilization services when needed, such as a new academic tutoring program.

Nearby Summit High School is home to the Family Promise Club, which supports Family Promise families. Recognizing the challenges of remote learning during COVID, the club developed a virtual tutoring program for elementary and middle school students.

Statistics show children battling homelessness may struggle more in school—dropout rates, special needs, and grade repetition are significantly higher than among their peers. For Zykir, the tutoring replaces support he would normally receive in school. His mom, Roneeka, is grateful for the program.

“When I ask him if he understands his work more, he says yes. I can see his grades have improved since tutoring began,” she says.

Leah, a Family Promise Club officer and tutor, says, “It’s rewarding to work with these students and see them improving. Being a tutor has helped me appreciate my own education more.”

In addition to boosting grades and study habits, the program increases understanding about the crisis of family homelessness.

“A lot of people think homelessness just happens in cities, but it hits home when you realize it can be a lot closer,” says Hope, a club officer and tutor.

Club President Josh adds, “It feels good to be part of an organization that’s helping people in this way. I’m proud of the tutors and kids for working so hard. We’re happy to support families this way.”

Building Resilience to Change the Future

“Family Promise is a community that connects and cares,” says Jeff Armstrong, executive director of Family Promise of the Midlands in Columbia, SC. “Whether it’s staff, volunteers, or families, we’re a team. Or, as our name says, a family.”

Jeff is always struck by the organization’s power to put a face to the concept of family homelessness and correct any misconceptions about the crisis. To that end, he views 2020 as a turning point.

“We saw so many people totter between security and instability. The health pandemic made people view homelessness through a new lens. It opened their eyes to the importance of our services in the community,” he explains.

Jeff adds, “But, experience builds resilience, and that’s what Family Promise teaches—that families can get through a crisis and come out stronger and better prepared.”

Community Garden

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

The Power of Passion

A new trustee in 2020, Sherina Smith is passionate about helping communities impacted by poverty and homelessness build a stable foundation, particularly minority communities.

“Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the crisis of family homelessness,” she says, citing how the past year highlighted deep-seated problems like housing insecurity, income disparity, and racial inequality nationwide. Family Promise’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion resonates with her and “will enhance our understanding of the communities we serve,” she says.

Sherina is also using her experience in marketing, advertising, and strategic planning to increase awareness about the crisis of family homelessness.

“As Family Promise gains recognition, we bring even greater purpose and support to the communities we serve,” she says. “And that leads to stability.”

FP NATIONAL COUNCILS

National councils and committees provide valuable input to the organization’s programs and operations, enabling Family Promise to better serve families in crisis in the fight against family homelessness.

AFFILIATE COUNCIL

Affiliate leaders who assist in developing programs, policies, and procedures.

Guest Advisory Council

Guest Advisory Council

Family Promise graduates who advise on advocacy efforts and Affiliate initiatives
and policy.
SEE OUR MEMBERS >

NEXT GENERATION COMMITTEE

Emerging leaders who engage younger audiences in the mission to end family homelessness.

Racial Justice Council

Family Promise’s newest committee is comprised of community members who ensure issues of racial equity are addressed at all levels of Family Promise’s work.
Racially charged events over the past year have created an opportunity for change. Family Promise leadership embraced the occasion to evaluate its practices as they relate to diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. The Racial Justice Council, comprised primarily of people of color from the Family Promise network, was formed as a first step toward ensuring the organization’s culture prioritizes racial equity. The Council’s insight helps Family Promise build on its strengths and identify areas for improvement related to inclusion and diversity.

Nora Ali, Family Promise of Greater Denver, CO

Jeff Armstrong, Family Promise of the Midlands, SC

Marissa Commey, Family Promise of Hawaii, HI

E’tienne Easley, Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga, TN

Claas Ehlers, Family Promise National

Carolyn Gordon, Family Promise National

Nakeshia Hedrick, Family Promise of Greater Lafayette, IN

Vera Johnson, Fort Bend Family Promise, TX

Armilla Moore, Family Promise of Pickens County, SC

Mitchell Petit-Frere, Family Promise National

Amber Young, Family Promise National

 

“So many people are afraid to talk about race in the workplace. This can impact relationships between leadership and employees. No matter how difficult the conversation is, we have to talk. When we have the conversations, we can identify the issues and begin to make change.”
–Armilla Moore, Racial Justice Council 

DYNAMIC

“There were times I didn’t even realize I needed help until Family Promise helped me. They push you sometimes. You’re there because your situation isn’t ideal, but Family Promise makes sure it will be better in the end.” —Family Promise GRADUATE

Cohen family

“Quote.”

—Family Promise Club president

Adapting to the Times

Neighbors in a small town are there for one another, and in rural Lincoln City, OR, Family Promise of Lincoln County is one such neighbor.

When COVID hit, the local library, the city’s only resource for public computers and internet service, closed. Family Promise made its Wi-Fi available to all and arranged safe access to its computers. Family Promise also tapped its connections and distributed hundreds of food boxes and PPE kits.

Then, when wildfires threatened the region last fall, Family Promise was poised to help yet again.

The fires affected low-income families the most. Family Promise covered fuel expenses for those who found themselves stuck along the evacuation route and collaborated with local groups to create a trailer campground in a vacant parking lot for people whose homes were destroyed. Family Promise continued to share Wi-Fi and provided critical case management, making life more manageable for dozens of families.

Fire cleanup continues today, and Family Promise is there to ensure families will once again have a place to call home.

Keeping It Clean

Thanks to a COVID response initiative of Family Promise of Pulaski County in Little Rock, AR, the “hand up” Family Promise lends families in crisis is a clean one.

Proper hygiene is critical to maintaining good health, but the homeless population often lacks access to sanitation facilities, putting it at greater risk. Family Promise decided to address this concern by securing portable hand washing stations to place throughout the county. Each station is identified with the Family Promise logo, as well as helpful signs with instructions for proper hand washing, a list of coronavirus symptoms, and what to do in case of illness.

The program has been so successful that Family Promise plans to continue offering the existing stations as a permanent service to the community, and local groups are also exploring the possibility of adding more stations across the county.

After the Storm

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

Family Promise: The Calm After the Storm

Last fall, two hurricanes ravaged the Gulf Coast back-to-back. Months later, the region is still recovering.

In the storms’ aftermath, Family Promise of Acadiana in Lafayette, LA, was among the first to assist families in the affected communities, their support augmented by Family Promise’s national hurricane relief campaign.

They collaborated with local nonprofits to deliver water, hot meals, gas and gas cans, and tarps for temporary roofing to residents who lost electricity. Family Promise and others also created an outdoor “store” to provide necessities like diapers and cleaning supplies. The support is ongoing as the region slowly recovers.

Executive Director Renee Menard likens the relief efforts to her work with families battling homelessness.

“It’s just like when you volunteer at Family Promise—you get at least as much out of it as the families in the program do,” she says.

Promise to Learn

2020 saw many new challenges, but at Family Promise of Hall County in Oakwood, GA, remote education wasn’t one of them.

The Affiliate implemented Promise to Learn, a temporary virtual school for children whose parents continued to go to work during the health pandemic. Supplied with backpacks, headsets, laptops, and other materials, students from pre-K to high school studied at individual workstations at the Family Promise day center. A nearby school provided meals and snacks, and Family Promise improvised creative safe spaces for recess breaks and offered academic support as needed, ensuring all homework was completed before pickup time.

Family Promise Program Manager LaCrecia McCree says the program helped children maintain social connections and validated their academic work.

“Seeing that Family Promise cared about their education gave them a sense of ‘You matter,’” she says.

INNOVATIVE

“We all have a story to tell, and everyone’s story is different. Family Promise knows how to meet people where they are and address their needs as they arise.” —Family Promise VOLUNTEER

The Cotter family

“I thought I just needed shelter and time, but Family Promise saw I needed to rebuild my self-esteem. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they showed me I had value.”

—Family Promise graduate

Being There for Families in Crisis

When Meg Cotter started an online home décor business last spring, she wanted it to have a philanthropic component to help families in need. She discovered Family Promise and connected to its mission.

Her business, Cailíní Coastal, offers home accents with a coastal design aesthetic that echoes the ambiance of the Cotters’ hometown of Palos Verdes, CA. The business was an instant success, and to date, Cailíní Coastal has raised thousands of dollars for Family Promise, especially helpful given the increased need for housing support due to COVID.

The Cotters also wanted to provide hands-on help and began volunteering at a nearby Affiliate. Meg’s husband Brian offers parents job search assistance, and Meg uses her business platform and reach on social media to promote Family Promise.

“I’m happy to make an impact, and as this business grows, I look forward to being an awareness driver,” Meg says.

A Future Begins at Home

One of the most effective solutions for homelessness is prevention. A new initiative at Family Promise, A Future Begins at Home, helps families in crisis avoid the trauma of homelessness through comprehensive support that enables them to remain housed and work toward stability. Innovation Grants, facilitated by generous donors, support the expansion of prevention services. Home donations for transitional or permanent housing are another component of the program, made possible by a partnership with manufactured home builder Clayton. Last year, A Future Begins at Home helped 400 families (including 900 children) remain in their homes.

Innovation Grants
Low-income families face many roadblocks on the road to independence. Affiliates used Innovation Grants to address their needs, big or small, so they could remain stably housed and forge new paths to success.

For example, when Florida grandmother Davina learned her job was being eliminated, she faced any family’s worst nightmare—homelessness. In Indiana, a worried mother wanted to remove her children from an unsafe home situation, but their only alternative was to live in their car. Another Indiana family simply needed temporary rental assistance and food to avoid homelessness.

Affiliates also used these grants to support program development. For instance, Family Promise of Skagit Valley in Sedro-Woolley, WA, built a volunteer training series that addresses logistics, communication, diversity, values, and goal setting to prepare volunteers to become effective family mentors. Other Affiliates are interested in the program, which is now being considered for national implementation.

Fulfilling Dreams
Kameron, a graduate of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix in Scottsdale, AZ, was the recipient of one of five Clayton homes last year. During Kameron’s time at Family Promise, she found employment and care for her two young children. She’d always dreamed of home ownership, and once the family graduated to their own apartment, she began saving for the investment. She applied for a home donation in Phoenix through A Future Begins at Home, and out of 15 applications, hers was selected.

Now, with their own backyard and room to play, the family is thriving in their new home. Kameron is grateful to Family Promise and Clayton for helping her realize a lifelong dream.

“They showed me there’s no shame in trying to provide for your family,” she says. “No one wants to be homeless, but because of Family Promise, something great came out of it. It’s been a growing experience and the start of something much bigger.”

PARTNERSHIPS SECTION TO COME

FP Volunteer Jill Harris

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

Regaining Stability One Bite at a Time

Sometimes it’s easiest to learn new things in small steps. Or, in the case of families honing budgeting skills, in bites.

When Jill Harris, a semi-retired CPA and volunteer at Family Promise Union County in Elizabeth, NJ, saw families in crisis overwhelmed by financial planning, she devised a manageable way to help them become fiscally responsible: Financial Literacy Bites. Referencing New Beginnings, the financial literacy program Family Promise developed with Woodforest National Bank, Jill breaks budgeting concepts into “bite-sized” nuggets of information that are emailed to families weekly. She also offers families individual counseling.

Knowing how to manage finances provides a blueprint for the future, but Jill understands money matters are often traumatic for families battling homelessness because their situation is directly tied to their finances.

She says, “By being sensitive to this and making finances easier to understand, a family can address their situation and get back on track.”

Innovating for Success

COVID may have changed the way the world works, but it didn’t change Family Promise’s work to end homelessness. Last year, Family Promise quickly switched gears and adapted to the “new normal” with a series of innovative events.

A virtual Innovation Summit gathered 2,000 members of the Family Promise network to address homelessness prevention, fundraising, remote team management, race and equity, and more. Two online Donor Town Halls invited the public to examine the ripple effect of COVID on low-income families and outlined Family Promise’s response to the crisis. A virtual press conference assembled leaders from Family Promise and nonprofit partners for an update on the state of homelessness in the U.S. Finally, a virtual mixology class, Cocktails for a Cause, replaced the annual fall gala and raised nearly $30,000 for families in need.

FPUC family

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

Family Promise Union County


Family Promise Union County, better known as FPUC, in Elizabeth, NJ, is Family Promise’s flagship program overseen by the national office. Like all our Affiliates, FPUC tackles the crisis of family homelessness through comprehensive services that address homelessness prevention and shelter diversion, emergency shelter, and stabilization support.

With COVID disrupting normal operations in 2020, FPUC innovated ways to effectively meet families’ needs remotely. Over the course of the year, a total of 14 families in the shelter program (including 22 children) were transitioned into apartments to ensure safe and separate living quarters. Various web-based instructional workshops, an online academic tutoring program, and virtual fitness classes provided families with critical supports and social interaction, and volunteer engagement increased due to the accessibility of online training.

In addition to shelter, FPUC worked with more than 400 families to offer case management and counseling, job search support, childcare, rental assistance, shelter diversion, educational workshops, a flu vaccine clinic, donations of food, clothing, and furniture (and seven car donations!), and more. All the families who exited the shelter program remain in permanent housing.
Homelessness prevention was a major focus for FPUC last year, and 65 families avoided the trauma of homelessness through prevention and diversion programs. Relationships with approximately 100 local landlords facilitated housing opportunities, and FPUC collaborated with more than 20 national and community partners to augment the services provided to families.

A COVID-19 Hardship Fund targeted expenses for apartments used as temporary shelter, emergency rent, utility assistance, and other costs. Other significant financial support came from a $30,000 New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund grant, and FPUC was one of four Union County entities selected to administer $450,000 in CARES Act funding.

EMPOWERMENT

“Family Promise showed me that you decide what you allow to define you and that faith and hard work can turn a bad situation into something beautiful. When I was at Family Promise, I learned to look within myself, to have confidence and set goals, and that has made all the difference.” —Family Promise GRADUATE

Bruce and Brayden

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

A New Beginning

Bruce never imagined his journey would lead to homelessness, but as a single father, when circumstances left him without an income or a home, he felt lost.

Family Promise of North Idaho in Coeur d’Alene helped him find his way.

Bruce and his son entered the shelter program. With Family Promise’s encouragement and support, the father who never finished high school earned his GED, enrolled in trade school, and applied to college. He graduated with honors, and last spring, he received his master’s degree in education. Bruce found temporary work and was quickly promoted twice while he seeks a teaching position.

Along the way, Family Promise helped Bruce with school supplies and critical auto repairs, empowering him to keep moving forward.

“I can’t believe where we were and where we are,” he says. “Being homeless was actually a new beginning. Family Promise made all the difference.”

A Story of Faith and Hope

Orphaned at age 16, Faith has always managed to make her own way; even years later, after she became a mother, she maintained her independence.

But last year, when she lost her job and, subsequently, her apartment, Faith and her son, Messiah, found themselves bouncing between shelters, hotels, and rented rooms. They discovered Family Promise of Union County in Elizabeth, NJ, just as COVID hit.

Despite the unique challenges presented by a global health pandemic, the family is well on the road to success. With help from Family Promise, Faith found steady employment, enrolled Messiah in preschool and childcare, honed her budgeting skills, and even established a fitness routine. The family moved into their own apartment just in time for the holidays, and Family Promise facilitated a car donation to free them from a public transportation system that had become unreliable during the health crisis.

Now, Faith is in college. She was accepted into a workforce development program that teaches technical and professional skills, provides valuable internship opportunities, and also includes a financial stipend.

Although life feels more secure, Faith continues to work with Family Promise to maintain stability. She notes that the comprehensive and genuine care she has received is one of the things that differentiates Family Promise from traditional shelters.

“I feel able to take on my situation, to plan and think things through,” she says. “Family Promise has given me hope.”

FP Volunteer Jill Harris

“Quote.”

—Family Promise graduate

Advocating for Families in Need

Family Promise, SchoolHouse Connection, and other nonprofits co-hosted a virtual Congressional Briefing Series on the state of youth and family homelessness.

Family Promise guest April Goode, who was also featured in a New York Times article on homelessness during COVID, shared her experiences in the “Parent Voices” segment presented to U.S. Representatives Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Danny K. Davis (D-IL). April didn’t have a history of homelessness or other troubles, which worked against her when she sought assistance.

“I couldn’t get help because I’m not on drugs, wasn’t beaten or battered,” she explained. “All the things I’d think would take me further…were held against me. I was denied benefits.”

Prior to the COVID outbreak, public schools and early childhood programs reported the highest number of children and youth experiencing homelessness on record. Those numbers rose in 2020. The series brought the impact of COVID, long-standing racial disparities and equity challenges, and gaps in current policies to the attention of congressional representatives.

FP PARTNERS: CORPORATE

Clayton®

A Future Begins at Home

“The miracle is, something that I never thought would happen to me, happened. I’m finally a homeowner and my kids and I are going to be safe.” —Sara Warren

With new home donations to families graduating from Family Promise Affiliates in Colorado Springs (CO), Greenville (SC), and Gainesville (FL), Clayton, a builder of off-site and on-site homes, helped three families realize their dream of home ownership in 2019. In Colorado, Clayton and Family Promise partnered with ROC USA®, which preserves affordable housing by making resident ownership of manufactured home communities viable, to deliver a new Clayton-built home to a single mother. After leaving a toxic relationship, single mom Sara Warren struggled to find employment and a home for her family. With support from Family Promise of Colorado Springs, she obtained a fulfilling job and stability for her son, Levi, and daughter, Caitlyn.

In South Carolina, the Merritts, who overcame housing obstacles despite physical disabilities, improved their financial stability and gained access to educational resources for their two sons during their stay at the Family Promise Greenville Affiliate. The family celebrated the holidays by moving into a new Clayton-donated home. …

… Rachael Ryan and Matthew Zovak worked their way out of homelessness with the help of Family Promise of Gainesville. Rachael and Matthew found jobs, improved their economic outlook, and started giving back to their Gainesville community. Their new Clayton home allowed them to make a fresh start with their daughter, Audree. Today, Rachael works as a housing advocate for single people experiencing homelessness. Matthew works as a car mechanic and donates his time to help repair cars at the Gainesville Family Promise Affiliate.

Through these home donations and additional programmatic support, Family Promise and Clayton unveiled A Future Begins at Home, a robust and innovative prevention and stabilization housing program which Affiliates can use nationwide to assist local families. Integrating educational outreach, creative programming, and non-traditional affordable housing solutions, A Future Begins at Home addresses the underlying causes of homelessness and the affordable housing crisis together, supporting families experiencing homelessness and those facing housing instability.

The homes feature furniture donated by Ashley Furniture HomeStore and Belk and organic mattresses provided by Avocado Green Mattress.

Belk®

Mom’s Life Transformed Through the Belk-Family Promise Partnership

“Through Belk’s support last year, Family Promise served nearly 50,000 people in the Southeast through prevention, shelter, and stabilization programs and other support.” —Claas Ehlers, Family Promise CEO

Alex, a single mom from Shenandoah County, VA, struggled with addiction for years and found herself unable to focus on recovery. Even after losing custody of her infant daughter, Alex simply did not have the support structure in place to make a major life change.

Alex credits Family Promise with her big turn-around. “Family Promise saw my potential and gave me a chance when no one else did,” Alex says. “Their support and encouragement allowed me to change my life.”

When Alex was reunited with her three-year-old daughter, Family Promise of Shenandoah County helped her navigate the challenges of parenting, as well as addiction recovery, stabilization, employment, and housing. “It was overwhelming. Suddenly I was her sole provider,” Alex recalls.

While in the Family Promise shelter program, Alex began volunteering with event planning and fundraising. She was so passionate about her work, that Family Promise offered her a job. She received a donated vehicle, which increased her independence, and when she was ready, Family Promise found Alex and her daughter a home. …

… But Alex’s journey was far from over. She had never considered a career helping others, but her experience at Family Promise gave her a new perspective. Family Promise encouraged her to apply for a position with a rehabilitation facility where she now works with individuals recovering from addiction. She also teaches a weekly parenting class at Family Promise of Shenandoah County and mentors families on their journey from homelessness.

“Family Promise’s approach isn’t easy,” Alex says. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. If you commit, you won’t end up in another shelter… you’ll leave to go home.”

Together, Belk and Family Promise are empowering mothers like Alex toward long-term independence and by doing so, are changing the future for children.

In February 2019, Belk announced a $1 million donation to Family Promise to open ten new Affiliates and support 85 existing Affiliates in the retailer’s 16-state footprint, which will help parents and their children receive the tools and support they need to sustain independent housing.

THANK YOU TO AVOCADO GREEN MATTRESS FOR PROVIDING AFFILIATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH CLEAN, AS-NEW MATTRESSES TO HELP FURNISH HOMES FOR FAMILIES RECOVERING FROM HOMELESSNESS.
www.avocadogreenmattress.com

“Through Belk’s support last year, Family Promise served nearly 50,000 people in the Southeast through prevention, shelter, and stabilization programs and other support.” —Claas Ehlers, Family Promise CEO

 

 

Alex, a single mom from Shenandoah County, VA, struggled with addiction for years and found herself unable to focus on recovery. Even after losing custody of her infant daughter, Alex simply did not have the support structure in place to make a major life change.

Alex credits Family Promise with her big turn-around. “Family Promise saw my potential and gave me a chance when no one else did,” Alex says. “Their support and encouragement allowed me to change my life.”

When Alex was reunited with her three-year-old daughter, Family Promise of Shenandoah County helped her navigate the challenges of parenting, as well as addiction recovery, stabilization, employment, and housing. “It was overwhelming. Suddenly I was her sole provider,” Alex recalls.

While in the Family Promise shelter program, Alex began volunteering with event planning and fundraising. She was so passionate about her work, that Family Promise offered her a job. She received a donated vehicle, which increased her independence, and when she was ready, Family Promise found Alex and her daughter a home. …

… But Alex’s journey was far from over. She had never considered a career helping others, but her experience at Family Promise gave her a new perspective. Family Promise encouraged her to apply for a position with a rehabilitation facility where she now works with individuals recovering from addiction. She also teaches a weekly parenting class at Family Promise of Shenandoah County and mentors families on their journey from homelessness.

“Family Promise’s approach isn’t easy,” Alex says. “It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. If you commit, you won’t end up in another shelter… you’ll leave to go home.”

Together, Belk and Family Promise are empowering mothers like Alex toward long-term independence and by doing so, are changing the future for children.

In February 2019, Belk announced a $1 million donation to Family Promise to open ten new Affiliates and support 85 existing Affiliates in the retailer’s 16-state footprint, which will help parents and their children receive the tools and support they need to sustain independent housing.

THANK YOU TO AVOCADO GREEN MATTRESS FOR PROVIDING AFFILIATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY WITH CLEAN, AS-NEW MATTRESSES TO HELP FURNISH HOMES FOR FAMILIES RECOVERING FROM HOMELESSNESS.
www.avocadogreenmattress.com

FP PARTNERS: Nonprofit

Sesame Street in Communities

Sesame Street in Communities, a program of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind the popular children’s television show, sought Family Promise’s expertise for a children’s book that recounts a young girl’s experiences with homelessness. In We Got This, Lily, a Muppet who is also featured on the tv program, has lost her home, and she and her parents are temporarily staying with a friend. The story follows Lily as she comes to terms with this trauma and learns that homelessness is a circumstance, not a definition.

Family Promise Affiliates share this book with children in their programs and their communities, even combining story time with crafts and games to help kids comprehend the concept of homelessness. One Affiliate hosted story time at a local library and helped the children make bracelets like the one Lily makes in the book to symbolize hope for better times.

As one of the book’s characters proclaims, “In a community, we can look out for each other. Together…WE GOT THIS.”

Recycled Rides™

Stacey and her family spent years longing for a home. An unpredictable long-term relationship had made independence impossible for the family, and Stacey and her boys, all under age nine, eventually found themselves living with a friend. But her lowest moment was the night they spent in their car.

Family Promise’s shelter diversion program connected the family to services and resources that enabled them to quickly regain stability and security. Stacey found a new place to live, childcare, and a job. But, without reliable transportation she was unable to work full time.

Family Promise’s partnership with Recycled Rides, a national nonprofit that refurbishes vehicles for those in need, was the key to transformation for Stacey and her boys. Before long, Stacey was driving her own car with her first year of insurance covered!

“Family Promise and Recycled Rides allowed me to provide for my family,” says Stacey, who still drives the car that helped change her life four years ago.

Today, Stacey is married and owns her own home, and her boys are thriving. Recently hired as a case manager for the Family Promise Affiliate that helped her, Stacey now counsels families walking the path she once traveled.

 Girl Scouts of the USA

A partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA gives girls whose families are struggling with homelessness access to the valuable opportunities presented through scouting. Working closely with representatives from Girl Scout councils across the country, Family Promise troops give members the chance to develop independence and leadership skills.

Seven-year-old Janelle* is shy, quiet, and nervous about the unknown. She especially loves the crafts she gets to do at her troop meetings at Family Promise of Colorado Springs (CO), but others see her confidence building as scouting continues to introduce her to new situations. Her troop leaders are excited to see her grow from the experiences.

“I’m glad Janelle is doing [Girl Scouts] now,” says her mother. “I know it can help her build confidence.”

*Name changed to protect privacy

VOLUNTEERISM

More than 200,000 Family Promise volunteers walk alongside families on their journey back from homelessness. Our extensive network of volunteers empowers families to lasting independence by sharing time and talent to help them develop the skills and tools necessary for success. As valuable as Family Promise volunteers are to the organization and the families they serve, most claim it’s a reciprocal relationship and that Family Promise benefits everyone involved.

Linda Walker

Linda Walker started volunteering with Family Promise’s flagship emergency shelter program in Union County, NJ, when it was founded more than 30 years ago. From the beginning, she appreciated how each family’s unique needs were addressed.

“Family Promise is willing to listen to families,” she says. “There’s no one answer that fits everyone.”

A wife and mother of two young children back then, Linda would bring her family to volunteer. She welcomed the opportunity for them to make a difference together.

“Family Promise helps people of all ages understand they can have an impact,” she notes.

In fact, Family Promise made such a strong impression on Linda’s daughter, Stacy, in her youth that she and her family now volunteer with Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis in their home state of Indiana. Like her own mother did, Stacy wants to teach her children the value of community and giving back. And when Linda and her husband visit Stacy’s family, all three generations volunteer together.

In the end, it’s family that Linda treasures most, and she’s grateful to reinforce that value through Family Promise.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child,” she says. “That village is full of families.”

“They say it takes a village to raise a child … That village is full of families.”

Interested in Volunteering?

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FP FINANCIAL REPORT 2020

2020
Program Services Report

 

Services Breakdown

Served in Emergency Shelter 15,794
Served in Housing Programs 10,469
Served in Community Service Programs 54,669
Served in Diversion/Prevention Programs 28,398
Served in Stabilization Programs 9,111

Total Served in Programs

118,441

Served through Referrals

59,033

Total Number Served

177,474

 

Shelter Program
W/ CASE MANAGEMENT

Families Served 4,101
Number of Children 7,772
Percent of Total Who are Children 58%
Number of Children Age 5 or Under 3,101
Percent of Total Children Age 5 or Under 40%
Average length of Stay (days) 66

 

Housing Status at Exit

Percent of Families Securing Permanent Housing 62%
Percent of Families Securing Transitional Housing 7%
Percent of Families Securing Shared Housing 12%

Percent of Families Housed

81%

 

Shelter Program w/ Case Management

Families Served 4,101
Number of Children 7,772
Percent of Total Who are Children 58%
Number of Children Age 5 or Under 3,101
Percent of Total Children Age 5 or Under 40%
Average length of Stay (days) 66

 

Housing Status at Exit

Percent of Families Securing Permanent Housing 62%
Percent of Families Securing Transitional Housing 7%
Percent of Families Securing Shared Housing 12%

Percent of Families Housed

81%

Boards, Staff, & Advisors

Leah Griffith, Chair
Managing Partner, Watts Consulting

Andrew Pierce, Vice-Chair
Partner, Bain & Company

Josh Barer, Secretary
Managing Director, Barer & Son Capital and Hibiscus Capital Management

Susan Hardwick, Treasurer
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, American Water Works Company, Inc.


Board Member Alex English

Nadim Ahmed
President, Hematology, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Kevin Barrett
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Altegra Health

Betsy Bernard
Public Company Board Director & Retired President of AT&T

Sarah Bird
Former Principal and Managing Consultant, Hewitt Associates

Claas Ehlers
Chief Executive Officer, Family Promise

Alex English
Retired Professional Basketball Player & Assistant Coach, National Basketball Association

David Fleck 
Founding Partner, CEO and Chairman, FreeFlow Ventures

Tim Gamory 
Chief Executive Officer, BronXchange

Linda Henry
Partner, Ernst & Young, LLP

Robert J. Hugin 
Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Celgene Corporation

Kat Lilley-Blair
Executive Director, Family Promise of Colorado Springs

Stacey Slater Sacks
President & Founder, Pro Bono Strategies

Eileen Serra
Former Senior Advisor, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Sherina Smith
Vice President and Head of Marketing, American Family Insurance

Dan Tinkoff
Senior Partner, McKinsey & Co.

Richard Vicens
President & CEO, Olympus Power

  


 
Janet Whitman, Emeritus Board President
Jill Benedict
Thomas Berry
Richard J. Boyle
Barbara E. Bunting
Carmine Di Sibio
Neely Dodge
Cary R. Hardy
Karen Olson
Robert W. Parsons, Jr.
Angela Schroeder
Susan Watts
Donald J. Weida
Janet Williams
Martin Wise

Karen Olson, Family Promise Founder and Emeritus Board Member

Jeanna Beck
Regional Director (South)

Maggie Bernhard
Affiliate Services Associate

Melissa Biggar
Director of Impact Giving and Communications

Corina Borg
Donor Engagement Manager

Claire Boylan
Rental Assistant Coordinator, Family Promise Union County

Cara Bradshaw
Chief Impact Officer

Ben Bromberg
Systems Architect

Shari Competiello
Chief of Staff

Katie Coughlin
Marketing and Media Manager

Geleen Donovan
Executive Director, Family Promise Union County

Claas Ehlers
Chief Executive Officer

Carolyn Gordon
Regional Director (Northeast)

Risé Grady
Case Manager, Family Promise Union County

Amy Jones
Manager of Volunteer Engagement, Family Promise Union County

Sadie Keller
Affiliate Services Associate

Kaela Kennington
Affiliate Services Associate

Amber Lovett
Technology Education Specialist

Paula Massa
Development Operations Manager

Sandra Miniutti
Chief Operating Officer

Lindsay Moore
Regional Director (Midwest)

Sara Naparstek
Housing Coordinator, Family Promise Union County

Karen O’Connell
Administrative Assistant

Cassidy O’Lear
Brand and Marketing Associate

Karen Olson
Founder & President Emeritus

Emily Parker
Technology Support Manager

Mitchell Petit-Frere
Creative Content Manager

Stacy Pollard
Regional Director (West)

Teressa Ramsey
Regional Director (Gulf)

Roberta Samuels
Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations

Robbin Sims
Day Center Assistant, Family Promise Union County

Christine Tolleson
Bookkeeper

Amber Young
Director of Volunteer Engagement

Allie Card
Family Promise of Greater Denver (CO)

Christine Carter-Love
Family Promise of Monmouth County (NJ)


The Affiliate Council, comprised of Executive Directors from around the country, provides valuable input in the development of Family Promise’s programs, policies, and procedures.

Sue Crossley
Family Promise MetroWest (MA)

Lisa Donnot
Family Promise of Yellowstone Valley (MT)

Lisa Foster
Family Promise of Davie County (NC)

DJ Lott, Jr.
Family Promise of Great Falls (MT)

Lindsey McCamy
Family Promise of Hall County (GA)

Tony McDade
Greenville Area IHN (SC)

Sue Minarchi
Family Promise of Southern Chester County (PA)

Jayne Moraski
Family Promise of Gainesville (FL)

Dana Ortiz
Family Promise of Lawrence (KS)

Tara Pagliarini
Family Promise of Brevard (FL)


Tony McDade

T.J. Putman
Family Promise of the Mid-Willamette Valley (OR)

Cheryl Schuch
Family Promise of Grand Rapids (MI)

Rebecca Esparza
Family Promise of Lawrence (KS)

Syri Gerstner
Family Promise of Greater Phoenix (AZ)

Tammi Hart
GAIHN, Greenville, South Carolina

Sarah Jackson
Family Promise of Gwinnett County (GA)

Hope Johnson
Family Promise of Hunterdon County (NJ)

Yusuf Kalule
Family Promise Metrowest (MA)

Kat Lilley
Family Promise of Colorado Springs (CO)

Theresa Pinger
Family Promise of Anoka County (MN)


Theresa Pinger, Tammi Hart, Sarah Jackson, Candice Fife, Rebecca Esparza, Hope Johnson, Yusuf Kalule, Kat Lilley

Thank
You

Every life we touch, every story we tell,
is possible because of your generous support.

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