Starting a Non-profit for Children in Foster Care
My journey to make giving gifts to foster children year round for the betterment of our child welfare programs.
For those of you that are following my journey, I am making it part of the process to share each and every step I am putting into making my dreams a reality.
I have been continuing to read my grant book, and I am about a quarter of the way through! I have been learning so much about not only the big working parts of a non profit, bit all the little things that don’t cross your mind at first.
I am now in the research and data part of my non profit. It is really important to share your big idea with qualified individuals in the child welfare world who can and will give real feedback about a charity like this one. I reached out to only a select few at first, 6 people that I found to be the most knowledgeable and least judgemental about this (thinking I am totally nuts!).
True to the Grant Writing book, I got one person to answer back. That may seem defeating to some, but I saw this as a huge advantage. In my head, that means 1/6 people care to hear more about my idea! So, I reached out to the second list of people I put together. That is where I started getting the real feedback. My friends and colleagues were answering my request right away, and seemed excited to give me the feedback.
Here is the first bit of information I would send my closest friends and colleagues:
I have a BIG idea, and need some feedback from you regarding it. You have been one of my trusted friends and colleagues, and I know I can count on you to give it to me straight. My big idea involves starting a non profit organization with child welfare. I am in the very early planning stages, and am just gathering information from my friends that can help me turn this into a reality.
I am very passionate about getting involved with giving gifts to children in the foster care system, not just for Christmas, but all the holidays and birthdays. I won't get too much into it, unless you are willing to give me some feedback. I have about 10 questions I want to ask your opinion on, and any feedback will be used to see if there is a need for this non profit, and if it will benefit our children and teens in care. Let me know, and I will send you all the information. It will probably be easier to send it to you in an email, so make sure to give me that.
What I really needed from my close friends and colleagues is more information overall about the idea of gift giving in the child welfare.
For those of them that returned and interest in me gathering research and data, I sent them the following email:
I appreciate you taking the time to consider helping me in my research for this non profit organization.
The current name is: FLOregon For Kids, but this is not set in stone. More like giving a name to my idea. Any feedback on this would be great!
Enriching lives of foster children through gift-giving.
Over my 9 years in child welfare, I tried to pay attention to what offers normalcy to children in foster care. Half way through my career I became an Adoption Specialist, and had a case load full of "unadoptable" children and teens. They usually lived in group homes, or shuffled from home to home for one reason or another. The company I was with had the funding to be able to offer incentives to my kids for good behaviors, such as having good grades and attendance. I started to see children on my case load start to do better when they had a goal to work towards, even when the incentive was something as simple as a pizza party.
I also noticed over the years that holidays and birthdays would get neglected. We were tasked with finding a placement for children, and were too busy to stop and realize the dates that we take for granted. I wonder how many times a child on my case load didn't get a birthday present? Never took Valentines to school? Never got a balloon on a special day? I think this is something that can help boost a child's morale, and in turn can help our foster families as well.
I also started to consider that our children in foster care don't have the chance to give gifts to those they love. They usually don't get an allowance, or any types of money. I think I learned alot over the years in having the ability to show my loved ones I cared for them. I think this would boost self esteem, and give our children the chance to give back.
So here are the questions I pose to you in hopes of gathering enough information to see if this can be a reality.
1. Would you believe in a non profit organization that offered this service to our children? Why or why not?
2. Do you feel that this could positively impact our children in foster care? Why or why not?
3. Are the any consequences to having a non profit like this one?
4. Am I lacking any important information to move further with this idea?
More detailed questions
5. If you think this is a solid idea, what holidays are we failing to recognize as a society?
6. Could you see a non profit like this having the ability to request unpiad, volunteer work?
7. When you first start an idea, you never think about the "little things". Do you have any advice to offer on tasks that wouldn't be clear cut?
Any other information, criticisms, advice is also open here. These questions I asked are meant to get gears turning in my head, but aren't the only questions I am open to receiving answers towards.
Also, I won't be offended in any way if you choose not to answer any of these questions. We all believe in different values, and I respect our differences.
Thank you so much for reading this, and trying to help me out with my dreams!
As I continue to receive emails back over the next few weeks, I plan to compile all of the information to see trends, answers, how they are related, and what I need to think more about on this journey. I will be answering every person who took the time to give me information with the compiled data I received. I think it is important every person knows they are contributing to my success in this, and that I take every word they say seriously.
I am very excited about gathering this information!
If you have any information or advice you would like to offer, I am all ears! I will continue to update everyone here on my journey to making my dreams a reality.