Today, more than 400,000 children are in the U.S. foster care system, with 100,000 eligible for adoption.
Many people think that the only way to engage this issue is through becoming a foster or adoptive parent. America’s Kids Belong (AKB) is working to change the way we think about the foster care crisis. They believe all people can be part of the solution—even businesses.
AKB has mobilized government, faith-based, business and creative leaders around the goal of permanency and belonging for every child—and they have seen tremendous success. Through AKB’s efforts, the states of Virginia, Oklahoma and Tennessee have seen a 40% increase in recruitment of foster and adoptive families. But it takes an entire community to see these children and families flourish, which means businesses have a unique opportunity to bring their resources and expertise to the table.
Do you lead a business or know someone who does? As AKB likes to say “You don’t have to change your vocation to be part of the solution. Your vocation IS part of the solution!”
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Be “Foster Friendly” by offering discounts or special offers to foster families in your area.
- Provide In-kind Support to assist with a video shoot, thank volunteers, or even offer pro-bono professional services for AKB or a chapter affiliate (click here and select “states” from the drop-down menu to see where we work).
- Host a Fundraiser to help AKB’s programs or to fulfill a dream for a youth aging out of the system without a family of their own (see DreamMakersProject.org for details).
- Volunteer Locally by connecting with local fostering and support agencies.
- Be a Corporate Sponsor by supporting AKB or a chapter affiliate monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Advocate for Kids by sharing our content on your social media and with your customers, and host a link to AKB or chapter affiliate on your company website (click here to visit our Facebook profile).
- Empower your Employees by hosting a lunch and learn focused on foster care and adoption, and research your company’s benefits for foster families to advocate for additional support for employees who are fostering.
Recently in Tennessee, Whitestone Enterprises LLC used their arena to spotlight foster care and adoption. Chris Veal—from Whitestone—said, “We are great at working on homes for families, we started thinking, how can we use our work, connections and platform to support at non-profit that desires to find more safe, loving homes for kids?” They teamed up with Property Brothers to host an online fundraiser to auction off an experience on their film set. The winners also received an evening stay at Embassy Suites Hotels and dinner at a local restaurant. This is one story of local businesses rallying together to support kids!