Thanks to you, families are overcoming homelessness!

Family Promise® of Northern New Castle County Annual Report 2017

Ryan Catalani
Jun 28, 2018 · 15 min read

Family Promise® of Northern New Castle County

Our Mission: To prevent and end homelessness for families by engaging volunteers, donors and the faith community.

Our Vision: We envision a community in which every family has a home, a livelihood and the resources for lasting independence.

Click here to see or download this Annual Report as a PDF.

Thanks to you, Charity’s family quickly moved into stable housing.

“Family Promise is an organization that stands by what it believes in, and that is helping families be sustainable and have secure housing.” — Charity

Charity supported her daughter and two sons by working at a local medical center. But when she lost her job in July, things fell apart.

“I had no income,” Charity said. “I had bills daily that were coming in, and there’s no resource or reservoir for that need. It spiraled from there.”

By the fall, Charity had lost her home and taken her family to a homeless shelter. Her 12- and 13-year-old sons — straight-A students and nationally ranked chess players — came with her, along with her 19-year-old daughter, a college student on break at the time.

“They’re pretty resilient when it comes to any hardship,” Charity said. “They stuck with Mommy.”

Left and center: Charity with her family. Right: Charity with Family Promise® Senior Case Manager Capri Wiggins.

Through our Pathway to Housing program, Family Promise® quickly helped Charity find housing, and she moved in just before Christmas. Through our holiday gift program, Charity and her children also received presents from donors at Citi, including winter coats, books, and gift cards.

“I was just in awe because of the thoughtfulness of even getting anything,” she said. “The kids were very, very happy.”

Today, Charity still lives in the same apartment we helped her secure, and she’s now working at a local university. She said that Family Promise® brings something unique — a true sense of empathy and compassion, and a deep dedication to the mission of ending homelessness.

Message from the Executive Director, Carolyn Gordon

Over 2,000 individuals become homeless for the first time every year in Delaware. These individuals are children, couples, and teenagers. They are senior citizens, people with disabilities, and families. Family Promise® NNCC wants to ensure these families have a safe place to stay and get things back on track — through programs filled with hope. Then, we want them to never experience homelessness again, so we help parents get connected to career paths, financial coaching, stable housing and even homeownership.

I have the world’s greatest job because I get to connect you with this goal. It is you who makes this mission possible and it is you who transforms the lives of families and also your own in the process!

A family that we served in 2017.

Family Promise® NNCC also helps families avoid entering the shelter system altogether. Imagine a community where no parent needs to hold up a cardboard sign, begging for someone to glance over and help.

Imagine that no family ever has to live out of a car. Imagine that no child has to get off a school bus and walk “home” to a motel room. Family Promise® NNCC believes this is possible. YOU as our volunteers, investors, and supporters make this possible.

Looking ahead, we have our work cut out for us. But, like always, we do not shy away from a challenge. Some thought the goal of moving families out of shelter in 30 days was impossible; currently, our average length of stay in our Hospitality Network is 34 days. Some still believe it is necessary to split families up when providing shelter, serving only moms with their children. As I’m writing this, we have more dads than moms in our Hospitality Network.

Read on for stories of success and stories of hope. Read on for statistics that will make you believe that preventing and ending family homelessness really is possible.

With changes to government funding and how homeless services are being approached, we need your help now more than ever. Your support in all forms is needed to ensure Family Promise® NNCC remains creative and effective at preventing and ending homelessness for families with children.

In service,
Carolyn Gordon
Executive Director

Thanks to you, we transformed more lives than ever, while maintaining the best outcomes in Delaware.

  • 136 families served in 2017 (503 individuals)
  • 1,500+ volunteers
  • 40+ congregation partners

“Family Promise has been a leader in implementing new program models to better serve families facing homelessness in Delaware…and is a critical partner in the effort to house and support families experiencing homelessness in Delaware. Your commitment to eradicating family homelessness in New Castle County is a goal we share, and we are pleased to work with Family Promise toward achieving that purpose.”

— Anas Ben Addi
Director, Delaware State Housing Authority

  • 58: Average number of days that families were in our programs (Delaware average: 96)
  • 83%: Percent of families that exited shelter (Delaware average: 51%)
  • 89%: Percent of families that are still housed (Delaware average: 88%)
  • $4,680: Average amount we spent per family (Delaware average: $8,300+)

From a motel to a home: Keeping a father & daughter together

After Francisco got sick and couldn’t work, he and his daughter lived in a motel for a month.

Then, they came to Family Promise®. Through our Hospitality Network, they received needed temporary shelter. Volunteers like you made Francisco’s daughter feel welcome, throwing her a surprise birthday party, painting her nails, showing her how to make ice cream, and playing kickball — she scored a home run!

Left: Francisco and his daughter at our Day Center. Right: Enjoying pizza at Ebenezer United Methodist Church.

Family Promise® helped Francisco get a new apartment. Now, he and his daughter get to cook together at home. She’s going to a new school. And they’re going back for services at the congregations that they once stayed at in their short time with us. Here’s what Francisco said:

“Family Promise changed our lives for the best. Family Promise is probably one of the greatest things ever and there are so many amazing people behind it. I will always be grateful.”

Thanks to you, our innovative models for ending homelessness continue to be effective.

  • We provide needed temporary shelter for families experiencing homelessness, along with comprehensive case management and support.
  • We work with families in other situations of homelessness in the community so that they can quickly secure housing, or even avoid entering the shelter system.
  • We support families during and after their transition to permanent housing to ensure they have the resources for lasting independence.

Volunteers helping to end family homelessness each day
37 families (130 individual parents & children) served in 2017

Since our inception, this has been our core program. Up to 4 families at a time receive needed temporary shelter. We partner with 40+ congregations that provide families with this lodging and hospitality in their houses of worship. Our 1,500+ volunteers cook, host activities for families, shop for groceries, and prepare rooms for families to sleep in. During the day, our full-time case management staff provides support and helps them quickly move into housing.

“The need is great because the family unit is so precious and so important to the health of each individual in the family, especially the kids.”

— Melissa Davenport
Hospitality Network volunteer coordinator, LifePath Church

Assisting families outside of our Hospitality Network
76 families (276 individual parents & children) served in 2017

Through our Pathway to Housing, we assist families in other situations of homelessness, such as those in shelters or motels. We provide case management and financial assistance to families so they can secure housing. Our staff connects families to employment opportunities, financial coaching, health and mental health resources, and support for children.

Helping families avoid the trauma of the shelter system
23 families (97 individual parents & children) served in 2017

Our Pathway to Diversion is the first and only program of its kind in Delaware. This unique initiative helps families get back into stable housing by not relying solely on the shelter system. Not only is this more cost-effective, it allows families to avoid the trauma of the shelter system and regain independence faster. This program is now being replicated statewide.

Giving Back

Antoinette Thomas was once a guest in our programs. Today, she’s one of our board members.

“This program gave me the shelter support I needed to stabilize my children, allowed my daughter to attend her prom, graduate from high school, and get accepted and attend a great college out of state.

“It allowed my son to continue at his school and achieve Perfect Attendance and Student of the Month awards. It allowed my daughter to have a bedroom to come home to after major surgery, and it allowed me to find consistent work and restart my own business.

“Thank you, Family Promise. You truly made becoming temporarily homeless a not-so-painful & livable process. We are eternally grateful.”

Thanks to you, we are expanding to create twice the promise this year.

Providing needed temporary shelter to more than twice as many families

Each year, hundreds of families experience homelessness in Delaware. The number one reason why families cannot access shelter is because of their size or composition. We’re expanding to help meet this urgent need. Our Hospitality Center, scheduled to open in 2018, will provide needed temporary shelter to six families at a time, or 150+ children and their parents each year. It will operate alongside our existing Hospitality Network. Volunteers from new congregations, civic associations, and corporate partners will provide meals and hospitality to families in the Hospitality Center.

“I just want to say Family Promise is wonderful for families. I hadn’t received this sort of hope before. Family Promise helped us move into our own two-bedroom apartment.” — Graduate grandmother

Thanks to you, our families had hospitality and warmth during their time of transition.

  • 16,000+: Volunteer hours: Movers, mentors, drivers, overnighters, cooks, and more
  • $94,879: Value of in-kind donations: Donated items, meals, lodging provided by congregations

Volunteer Voices

Rev. Shirley Saunders
Coordinator, Bethel A.M.E. Church

“I like the opportunity that it gives all the families to stay together and find a place to live. I am pleased to be a part of Family Promise and to work with all of the members of the team. They have been very supportive and we have been very supportive of them as well. It is an excellent program and I just see it growing and growing.”

Greg & Hope Munson
Greg & Hope perform puppet shows during Grace Lutheran Church’s hosting week.

“I think Family Promise is empowering. Families do not feel like they are forgotten, they do not feel like they are poor, they are treated with dignity and respect, and get to empower their lives to hopefully find that next step. While they are guests, so many people care about them.”

Stacey & Hannah Friedland
Coordinator, Congregation Beth Shalom

“Volunteering for Family Promise has been really great for us. It takes the stigma off of homelessness as we see that our guests are regular people, just like you and me, and that life can change on a dime. It is good for my children to not only get involved but see that children like to play with other children and that they are just like everybody else.”

Civic engagement: Girl Scout remodels kitchen

Genevieve Spence and her family have volunteered with Family Promise® for years. They help when their church, Grace Lutheran, hosts families through our Hospitality Network, and they have donated and moved furniture for our programs.

As a Girl Scout seeking to complete her Gold Award — the pinnacle of
her scouting career — Genevieve chose to work on a project with Family Promise®. In consultation with our staff, Genevieve decided to give our Day Center kitchen a much-needed facelift.

“As I started working in here and got closer with the families, I felt like part of a community.”

In August, she replaced the tile floors with hardwood, refinished the cabinets, installed a new stove, and built new counters to create a seating area in the dining room.

Now, families in our Hospitality Network will have a more comfortable and robust kitchen for years to come.

Corporate & community partners help throughout the year

Agilent Technologies volunteers gave the Day Center a fresh coat of paint in March, and in December, helped decorate it for the holidays.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. employees, seen here with Family Promise® staff, donated holiday gifts for families.

Citi employees helped out around the Day Center in August and donated holiday gifts for families.

City of Newark employees, seen here with Family Promise® staff, donated holiday gifts for families.

Thank you to our partners!

Click here to see a list of our Congregation, Corporate, Foundation, and Government Partners.

And thank you to all of our individual donors and supporters!

Audited Financial Overview

Notes regarding our financials

  • We’re proud that once again, the majority of our expenses went to direct guest expenses, including rent payments, bus passes, uniforms, car repairs, utility arrears, and matching payments.
  • We’re grateful to have received $370,000 in 2017 specifically for the Hospitality Center (which is thus restricted for use in 2018).
  • Our 2017 financials include $94,879 of in-kind goods and services, which includes meals and lodging provided by congregations in our Hospitality Network, along with donations of supplies. This is an increase of nearly $25,000 over last year, as we served more families. It is included equally in our support and our expenses.

Our audited financial statements can be furnished upon request.

Message from Denison H. Hatch, Jr.

President of the Board of Directors, 2012–2017

Dear Friends of Family Promise®,

I have been privileged to be involved with Family Promise® of Northern New Castle County (FPNNCC) for the past seven years as a volunteer and a board member. Both roles have enriched and inspired me because of the quality of the professional staff, the commitment of fellow board members and volunteers, and gratitude of our guests.

Since its founding in 2010, FPNNCC has experienced much success by serving more than 400 families who have experienced homelessness in Delaware. FPNNCC has been able to leverage support from organizations, businesses, government, and faith-based groups. The network that began with 10 congregations has now grown to more than 40 congregations of many faiths that either host families for a week or provide meals, transportation, activities, and fellowship. FPNNCC has full-time case managers with programs in shelter diversion, rapid rehousing, and are trained in fair housing and trauma–informed practices that provide professional assistance to our families. FPNNCC has the best success rate in Delaware and is a cost-effective model, spending under $5,000 per family to help families regain housing, versus the average housing and homelessness services range of $7,100 to $15,000.

FPNNCC’s board of trustees and a board committee undertook a year-long study to determine the best way to expand our mission of ending homelessness in Delaware without affecting the very successful current congregational hosting model. The current model’s capacity is limited to helping four families at a time. The study included visiting other sites that used a different hosting model, conferring with the National Family Promise staff, exploring possible locations in Newark, Elsmere, and Wilmington, developing a five-year financial plan and recruiting other congregations in New Castle County to participate in a fixed-location center. While there is much to do before opening such a facility that complements our hosting congregations activities, FPNNCC is moving forward on a plan to do so.

FPNNCC is committed to keeping families together by creating an environment where each and every guest is able to maintain their dignity while receiving the comfort, support and services they need. We look forward to increasing the number of families we can serve.

I invite you to learn more about our network and how FPNNCC positively impacts our community. I enjoy being part of this organization.

Denison H. Hatch, Jr.

In Memoriam

Mark Gundersen
Board member, coordinator, and volunteer at St. Philip’s Lutheran Church

Rev. Beverly Black Lewis
Core team and founding board member

Thanks to you, we will create twice the promise and serve twice as many families!

This year, we’re expanding to prevent & end homelessness for 1,000 children & their families.

The Hospitality Center will serve up to six additional families at a time — 150+ individuals per year. With our additional capacity, we’ll be able to serve over 30% of all homeless families in Delaware.

You can help make this possible today with a tax-deductible donation. Click here to quickly & securely donate from your phone or computer.

Follow us online for the latest:


Board of Directors

  • President: Susan Sweeney, EdD, President, GGB Bearing Technology; Member of Grace Lutheran Church
  • 1st Vice President: Matthew Winnington, Senior Vice President, Global Consumer Business Operational Risk & Control, Citi; Member of Resurrection Parish
  • 2nd Vice President: David Glasscock, PhD, Technology Director, DuPont
  • Secretary: Jennifer Miller, EdD, Educator, Kennett Consolidated School District
  • Treasurer: John Skrobak, Assistant Vice President, Wells Fargo
  • Jennifer Idell, REALTOR®, Berkshire Hathaway; Member of St. James Episcopal Millcreek Church
  • Michael Kirylik, Vice President, JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Member of Hanover Presbyterian Church
  • Mary Mirabeau, Sr. Regulatory Consultant, DuPont; Member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, French St.
  • Percival McNeil, Project Engineer, State of Delaware; Deacon, Shiloh Baptist Church
  • Antoinette Thomas, Emotional resilience life coach & Family Promise® NNCC Former Guest
  • Stefanie Whitby, EdD, Director of Athletics, Wilmington University


  • Executive Director: Carolyn Gordon
  • Director of Community Engagement: Cheryl Christiansen
  • Director of Donor Relations: Ryan Catalani
  • Senior Case Manager: Capri Wiggins
  • Case Manager: Felicia McElveen-Hendricks
  • Office & Operations Manager: Karen Hicks
  • Administrative Assistant: Kevin Mackiewicz

Questions? Comments? Want to get involved?

We’d love to hear from you!

Family Promise of Northern New Castle County

A 501(c)3 nonprofit ending family homelessness in Delaware.