Non-profits depend on private and corporate donations, along with grants, to keep their doors open and continue their mission. Many are relatively small organizations, with just one or two employees (some paid and some not) and a dedicated corps of volunteers. When one of these smaller non-profits receives a substantial grant, it’s a cause for celebration and thanksgiving.
On Friday, September 22, Royal Neighbors of America, an insurance company that has a philanthropic component called Nation of Neighbors, presented a check for $10,000 to Fostering Hope Florida.
Zarifa Reynolds, CEO and president of the Nation of Neighbors stated, “We give (10) $10,000 awards each year to organizations that do good in the community. We look for organizations that are serving the ‘under-served.’”
When an organization is nominated for one of these grants, its name goes in front of a panel of judges made up of previous recipients, agents with the insurance company, and Nation of Neighbors’ members. They use a rating process to whittle the nominees down to just ten recipients.
The mission of Fostering Hope Florida is to “partner with the community in creating a compassionate system of foster care that honors and protects the rights of children,” stated Gloria West-Lawson, founder and president of Fostering Hope Florida. The organization also strives to keep siblings together in the same home when they enter the foster care system. Gloria became involved with the system when she was doing an internship at a shelter for youth in crisis.
“The State kept dropping off kids from foster care because they didn’t have a place for them. I started listening to their stories, how they hadn’t seen their siblings in a long time. I wondered why we had these kids at the shelter for months when it was supposed to be a two-week program. So that’s why I started Fostering Hope.”
Through her work with foster children, Gloria and her husband became foster parents. So far, they have fostered sixteen children and adopted four.
Ms. West-Lawson stated that the grant money will be used to open up a home for girls 18 – 21 who have “aged out” of foster care. This will give these young women a chance to live independent lives.
Non-profits such as Fostering Hope Florida and philanthropic organizations like Nation of Neighbors provide vital services to people in need around the country. They create stronger and more compassionate communities.
For more information on Fostering Hope Florida, go to www.fosteringhopeflorida.org or call (727) 688-5328. To learn more about Royal Neighbors of America− work log onto www.royalneigbors.org