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We bring ideas to life that restore hope to children in foster care.

 

We are advocates for children and teens struggling in the foster care system throughout the nation.

We bring Great Ideas to life that improve lives, restore hope, build meaningful relationships and increase community-wide engagement. Our commitment to children provides significant support for them during their foster care journey. Through the work of the dedicated team at Fostering Great Ideas, healing is possible and success is attainable.

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OUR MISSION

We restore hope to children in foster care through innovative ideas built on meaningful relationships.

OUR VISION

Restore hope to every child struggling in foster care.

OUR CORE VALUES

Our Beginnings

  • 2010We began by asking 50 community members two questions.

    Can our communities do more for children in foster care?

    Would our collective action improve their outcomes?

  • 2011We incorporated as a non-profit and launched our first two ideas, using the power of volunteers to make a real difference in the lives of families.

    Making Memories®
    Family visits can feel sterile. Making crafts together promotes positive interaction. We began by asking 15 volunteers to sit with families during these critical visits and guide them in craft making. Why is this support important? The families have experienced trauma together, all eyes are on them, and they need to know healthy memories can be formed now, through fun, positive interaction.

    Thanksgiving Grace®
    Holidays apart are painful. Sharing time together restores the bond for better days ahead. We asked two churches to host a thanksgiving feast the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 10 families torn apart through foster care. The church volunteers brought all the turkey and dressings, laid out linens and nice cutlery, and hosted a memorable event during the family holiday season. This program continues and is what many look forward to each year.

  • 2012We launched our first Great Idea.

    Life Support®
    Many youth in foster care lack consistent relationships, much less any kind of mentor who can provide long-term guidance. The statistics are sobering. 18-year-olds age out and are largely on their own. We knew that if we could find volunteers to stand by these youth through their ups and downs, those volunteers would become critical advocates and build long-term relationships. 20 youth enrolled in Life Support® and were matched with trained mentors.

  • 2013We launched three more ideas focused on loss and trauma.

    Operation Bear Hug®
    Children feel scared entering foster care. Teddy bears bring comfort as the journey begins. It’s a simple concept, but effective. Children are traumatized when removed from their homes, and this trauma continues into their first several family visits. Often, they wonder why they can’t go back to mom or dad. Within this first year of launching this idea, 200 teddy bears were distributed, often by the case workers wanting to help lower the stress of trauma for the children. In one county, the case workers have a "teddy bear closet." If a family visit ends with significant stress, the case worker leads the child to the closet, filled with hundreds of bears and tells them, "You choose!" The children’s eyes beam as they are comforted by this simple gesture at such a critical moment.

    Our Common Loss®
    Foster families grieve the loss of children. Sharing some of the grief together helps to heal the pain. As we began to focus on the emotional needs of fostering families as well as the children they serve, we realized that their biggest struggle was the constant loss as children move. In our first year, 100 foster parents received this training and expressed a high level of gratitude. We knew were on to something.

    Life in Limbo®
    What is it like to be in foster care? We developed an interactive workshop designed to answer that question. The first workshop gave 12 people the opportunity to role play foster care, and 2 of them became foster parents within a year. We learned quickly that the experience helped participants see foster care with fresh eyes. Soon, Limbo was asked for across the country. It is now our largest program!

  • 2014Our Founder went fulltime as our first CEO, and a group of 27 donors invest toward a full year of growth. Another idea is launched in 2014 and more ideas that improve children’s lives in long-term, meaningful ways are developed, for launch in 2015.

    Carry On®
    Children often enter foster care with a couple of items thrown in a trash bag. This pattern sometimes continues when children move between placements. Luggage says, “You matter. You are valuable. You have worth.” Can’t we do better than this? We found out that with the community’s support, we can.

  • 2015We launched two more Great Ideas and held our first benefit event.

    Sib-Link®
    There aren’t enough foster parents, which means siblings are separated, children move more, and children are placed further away from their community and family.

    Moms Matter®
    We learned that over half of children will go back to their primary parent, often their mom. Could we support the moms during their treatment plans so that each child could come home to a healthier parent? Weekly peer support for moms encourages them to stay on track and heal from their own trauma. We served 18 moms served in the first year, and our second and third employees were hired to work on implementing these ideas.

  • 2017This was an expansion year. A national child welfare hero in Colorado asked for all of our ideas—especially SibLink®—to be implemented there. We grew 38% and also developed two new Great Ideas.

    Care2Foster®
    There aren’t enough foster parents. Sharing stories and offering support helps fill the gap. 33 new foster families were recruited, and an online supportive community launched with 100 foster parents.

    College Fellows®
    Fewer than 10% of youth aging out of foster care obtain a college degree. Academic and emotional support help youth to attend college. 15 students were served in the first year.

  • 2018A year to breathe (a little.) The focus for 2018 became quality of service. Ironically, we still grew 19%, serving 230 children with relationships that matter. Still, there was a core academic statistic we wanted to fix.

    Tutor Match®
    We knew children in foster care had the lowest standardized test scores of any group. It’s not a surprising stat, given the level of loss, shame and trauma heaped upon them. To help, we developed a tutor program for any child or youth in foster care. At first, this program didn’t take off like we expected. Over the next year, though, more and more people began to realize these children’s untapped academic abilities, and the program steadily gained traction.

  • 2019The organization hires its first COO.

    2019 growth was 32% from the prior year, amounting to meaningful relationships developed for 304 children across two states, South Carolina and Colorado!

  • 2020Piloted another Great Idea for relatives and kin of children in foster care: It's All Relative®

    Company pivoted to national platforms with virtual offerings. 150 volunteers, 250 donors, and 24 corporate sponsors all focused on one mission.

    Foster parent communities grew to over 1,200 members. Client communities became a new concept that informs all of our work, and we launched our first for moms and youth in South Carolina.

Our Team

Leadership

 
DavidDavid
 

 

David White, LMSW, MBA

Founder & CEO
864-567-5216 • Email David

 
Read David's Bio
 
 

 

Lindsey Hesketh, MSW

COO & Clinical Director
614-599-0999 • Email Lindsey

 
Read Lindsey's Bio

South Carolina Team

DenaDena

Dena Garzone, CPSS

Parent Advocate, Moms Matter®
Upstate, SC
864-569-7946
Email Dena

Read Dena's Bio
EbonyEbony

Ebony Cunningham

Program Manager, Sib-Link®
Upstate, SC
864-398-3934
Email Ebony

Read Ebony's Bio
HopeHope

Hope Coudayre, BSW

Education Advocate, College
Fellows®, Tutor Match®
SC (Statewide)
864-201-2347
Email Hope

Read Hope's Bio
JulieJulie

Julie Eaton

Program Manager,
Sib-Link®
Upstate, SC
864-209-1364
Email Julie

Read Julie's Bio
 
KaleyKaley

Kaley Lindquist, MS

Operations Director, Care2Foster® Director, College Bound Camp
SC (Statewide)
864-202-6839
Email Kaley

Read Kaley's Bio

Latece Logan

Program Manager, Life Support®
Upstate, SC
864-346-1097
Email Latece

Read Latece's Bio
 

Colorado Team

 

Tori Shuler

Director
Denver, CO
303-549-3765
Email Tori

Read Tori's Bio

Marisa Gohr

Parent Advocate, Moms Matter®
Denver, CO
720-643-6947
Email Marisa

Read Marisa's Bio
 

Our Board of Directors

Our Sponsors

Presenting Sponsor

 
 

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Learn how you can get involved.

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