August 25, 2022

Friends of the Children - Tampa Bay Receives $1.1 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott to Support Long-term Mentoring Model

Friends of the Children - Tampa Bay and Friends of the Children’s national network receive $44 million from MacKenzie Scott to support its long-term mentoring model

Gift gives organization powerful momentum to provide more Tampa Bay youth with big dreams who face systemic obstacles with a paid, professional mentor for 12+ years

TAMPA BAY (AUGUST 25, 2022) Friends of the Children - Tampa Bay announced today that the organization received a $1.1 million gift as part of a $44 million gift to the national organization Friends of the Children from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Friends of the Children is the only national mentoring program in the country with paid, professional mentors (called Friends) who walk alongside youth for 12+ years no matter what. This gift offers powerful momentum for the organization to serve more children in Tampa Bay, many of whom are in—or at risk of entering—the foster care system.

“We are honored to receive this historic gift from MacKenzie Scott,” said Rick McClintock, Executive Director of Friends – Tampa Bay. “We are most excited about what this gift means for the youth we currently serve - many of them impacted by the foster care system - and the many more we will get to serve. For the last 8 years, our Friends have often been the sole consistent adults in these youths’ lives. Our youth have big dreams and unending potential - the impact of this gift will reverberate beyond these youth, reaching their families, peers, and community.”

This is the largest single gift ever received by the chapter. The funding will support the organization in sustaining its commitment to serve youth for 12+ years as well as growing the number of youth it serves by expanding its work in the foster care system and Title I schools to reach children with the highest need.

“I know from my own experiences that children often face a lot of hard things as they grow up and the love and support I received after my foster care experience allowed me to thrive and see myself for all that I could be,” said Simone Biles, youth advocate and Olympic gymnast. “That’s why I believe the long-term mentorship that Friends of the Children provides is so meaningful—having just one person who believes in you can truly impact a young person’s life. I am excited that MacKenzie Scott is investing in Friends of the Children to empower more youth

across the country! In supporting Friends of the Children, it is my hope that more children will have access to a ‘Friend’ and be inspired to pursue their hopes and dreams in all communities, including my hometown of Houston, Texas.”

Youth in Friends of the Children - Tampa Bay —many of whom have been impacted by foster care— achieve outstanding results in its 8 years of existence:

· 95% of youth with Friends exited the foster care system;

· 98% of youth with Friends advanced to the next grade in school

Nationally, the Friends of the Children model, executed throughout the 26 chapters including Friends - Tampa Bay, produces life-changing results:

· 83% of youth with Friends graduate high school, while in some communities, graduation rates are as low as 27% for youth without a Friend;

· 93% of youth with Friends avoid the juvenile justice system, compared to 74% without Friends;

· 98% of youth with Friends advanced to the next grade in school

· 92% of our program graduates go on to enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country, or become employed in a living wage job.

Friends–Tampa Bay pairs youth with big dreams who have been impacted by systemic inequities, which may include poverty, foster care and criminal justice system involvement, and other childhood traumatic experiences—with “Friends” who stay by each child’s side from as early as age 4 through high school graduation.

“Long-term, one-on-one relationships between Friends and youth can bring needed stability to a child’s life and open up opportunities for our youth,” said Greg Harvey, professional mentor at Friends - Tampa Bay. “This incredible gift will support our work with youth and help us piece together a million little victories for them in the face of systemic challenges.”

In addition to Friends - Tampa Bay, 11 other Friends of the Children locations across the country received gifts directly from MacKenzie Scott. Funding gifted directly to Friends of the Children - National will support the organization in expanding its child and whole-family well-being services through new Friends of the Children locations and expansion of other current locations. Over the last eight years, Friends of the Children has grown from five to 26 locations across the U.S.

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