Friends of the Children. Defying the Odds of Generational Poverty

Friends of the Children

Friends of the Children invests in salaried, professional mentors who build relationships with youth to achieve their hopes and dreams; 12.5 years of mentorship, no matter what.

Last Updated: May 2023
Competition Participation
100 & Change logo
  • United States of America
  • Ghana
  • Jamaica
  • United States of America
  • At-risk youth
  • Children & Youth (0-18 yrs.)
  • Multiracial people
  • 1. No poverty
  • 3. Good health and well-being
  • 10. Reduced inequalities

Executive Summary

In 2018, one in five U.S. children lived in poverty. Extreme obstacles—generational school failure, parental substance use, incarceration, violence in the home and community, and teen pregnancy—create cycles where children fail in education, behavioral health, and foster care systems, and frequently land in the justice system. Friends of the Children provides these children with intensive, individualized guidance from full-time, salaried professional mentors—Friends—for 12.5 years, from kindergarten through high school graduation.

Friends of the Children (FOTC) is the solution to breaking the cycle of poverty and intergenerational repetition of low educational attainment, teen parenting, and criminality. We empower youth to move beyond their circumstances and become healthy, productive citizens.

Additional support would provide the means for FOTC to establish 25 new chapters in highest-need communities. One-to-one national and local matching funds would support long-term sustainability. Every $1 invested in FOTC returns $7 to the community. The expansion ROI is $700 million.

Organization Details
Lead Organization

Friends of the Children

Organization Headquarters
Oregon, United States of America
Organization ID
Number of Full-time Employees
301 to 500
Annual Operating Budget
$25.1 to 50 Million

Charity, fund, non-governmental organization, religious institution, school, or other entity

Organizations may provide budget and employee data based on this proposal or the organization as a whole. For more information on this proposal or organization, please email us.


As the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, Friends of the Children deepened our commitment to fulfill our vision that one day, every child who needs a Friend will have one. Over the past year, our network has scaled up to serving 22 communities from 16, launching new chapters in Lane County, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; Fargo, ND-Moorhead, MN; Detroit, MI; Southwest Washington state; and Tacoma, WA. Additional recent milestones include receiving $2.5 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund the final phase of our randomized controlled study—the only long-term RCT of a mentoring program in the past 50 years—and the completion of a four-year, network-wide implementation and outcome study on our two-generation (2Gen) approach. Both further strengthen our base of evidence demonstrating the tremendous impact our model has in the lives of the children and families we serve.

Help Fund Bold Solutions

Learn more and help fund this highly-rated project:

Lever for change arrows logo