We work with some pretty awesome nonprofits. I spoke with Jeff Burch of Fostering Hope and learned all about why he started his nonprofit, the biggest hurdles his organization has had to overcome, and much more. Follow along with our conversation below, and take 90 seconds to watch the heartwarming video of their organization’s members buying Christmas presents for foster children!
What are the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome?
One of the biggest hurdles we had to overcome was earning the trust of the Children’s Division workers and other local community agencies. Once people realized that all of us at Fostering Hope were committed to helping the children in foster care and all of the people who work alongside the kids, they let their guards down and allowed us to help. Finances have also been a hurdle. We have gained support from a few local churches but are still looking for ongoing financial support to keep our organization going.
What specifically sets your mission apart from others?
Our commitment to providing our services and goods (for free) to foster parents. We currently have two Caring Closets (stores with clothes, diapers, cribs, beds, and other essentials, and also some toys) locations where everything is given to foster families for free. We also provide freezer meals to families as they get new placements. We also host various appreciation events for families and other events, such as an annual Back to School event and Christmas of Hope. Each foster child gets approximately $55 in Christmas presents from a list that was created by the child or foster parent.
What compelled you to start your nonprofit?
When we became aware of the numbers associated with foster care in Jasper County, Missouri, we knew we needed to do something. When we started Fostering Hope, we found out that 520 children were in foster care and that there were only 64 licensed foster homes in the county! We also found out that Missouri ranked 49th in reimbursement rates for foster parents. We knew that we needed to do something to show God’s love to the foster parents and these children who have already been through so much.
Is there something you wish your nonprofit could do, but you just don’t feel like you have the resources or manpower to accomplish?
We would like to be able to host more events. Our teen events had great success and feedback but we cannot afford to put on as many as we would like. Our organization doesn’t have the resources to do it more than once or twice a year. We would also like to be able to have our Caring Closet locations open for more hours each day. It’s just difficult since we have a hard time staffing them right now.