One of the proudest moments of my life was in July of 2022 when The Future Foundation Board of Directors asked me to step into the role of Chief Executive Officer. Having lived in the Atlanta area and having helped my own family through difficult moments, I knew that the work of the foundation mattered a great deal. But after three months in this role, I understand in a far more profound way why the foundation matters to so many children.
Having spent years working at some of the largest corporations in America and having been involved with a wide array of non-profit organizations, I believe everything that has come previously in my life has brought me to this position. My time here has reminded me that a successful non-profit needs three things; people doing the work, people donating, and people pushing to open doors to bring in additional support.
The foundation started 21 years ago as an after-school program for children who needed a place to do homework and a snack after school. From those early days, we grew and evolved into a full-service organization working to increase high school graduation rates and serve families during the pandemic, and we created the Second Family Model. This unique effort recognizes that any young person is going to have a greater chance of succeeding in life if they are also influenced at an early age by a non-family member.
Our board of directors and staff are professional educators and enthusiastic leaders who care deeply about the work we do, and no one doubts that the mission matters more than ever. But if we are to continue this work, we need your help more than ever. We need people who can donate money to help support our programs, and we need volunteers willing to donate time and energy to help young people find a better life.
Since I have been here, I have had many conversations with alumni of our programs. Alumni tell me stories of how The Future Foundation made their life better. I have also had conversations thanking donors who have made all this possible. We know our records are not perfect, so we are now working diligently to address these oversights. I have also spoken to many who have donated or supported Future Foundation in the past. If you have donated over the past two years and did not receive a proper thank you, today I want to formally say thank you for what you have done to help.
I also want to say the dark days of the pandemic brought many challenges, one of which was highlighting our efforts on digital platforms to communicate the progress. The mission of helping children never stopped. Continuing the work was vitally important as many of the families we have served for two decades were disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. They needed us more than ever, and we delivered.
When I took this role, I pledged to the board, the staff, and to myself that I would always be completely honest about what we need to do to help the foundation grow and thrive. The reality is that more than two years of the pandemic have created some hardships. From a financial perspective, we must build back capacity to support the needs of our students, and we need both personal and corporate financial support to meet our needs.
If you can donate, please click here to contribute. If you are employed at one of the companies in the greater Atlanta area that care about this region, I would appreciate it if you would connect me with decision-makers in the organization who might help facilitate a donation.
If you are a community leader who knows what it is like as a child to need a little extra help, I would love to meet for coffee and discuss ways to get you engaged to help position the foundation for the work and challenges that will deal with in 2023.
We are excited about our future!
As you read this, we seek to serve more than 550 students per year, and we made life easier for our families by providing more than 5,000 meals during the exceedingly difficult days of the pandemic. Each day now, I say quiet prayers of gratitude that the pandemic is behind us. I am grateful that the foundation staff and volunteers did remarkable work to get us through that period. But as we look to the future and the challenges that lie ahead, we need your help.
Money Magazine named Atlanta as the best place to live in the U.S., and I am proud of Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens for saying 2023 will be the Year of Youth and through cross-sector collaboration, we can make Atlanta the best place in America to raise a child.
I hope you will step forward and help our foundation find a stable financial footing. This work matters more than ever. I have vowed to the board of directors and the staff at The Future Foundation that I will always be a transparent and available leader. To that end, I want to share my cell phone number if you would like to discuss any of this.
Thank you in advance for the time, financial resources, or prayers you might offer us to continue this journey. Although we face challenges, our founders are fully committed to lead us through this period and build The Future Foundation to be stronger and more engaged than ever before.