August 26, 2022

Friends of the Children Network Receives $44 Million Gift from MacKenzie Scott

Friends of the Children – National announced today that its national network received a gift of $44 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Of the $44 million, Friends of the Children – National received a $15 million gift and 12 of its chapters received direct gifts totaling $29 million. This is the largest single gift ever received by the organization in its 30-year history. While Lane County is not one of the 12 chapters identified in the award, the chapter will still receive some financial benefit from historic gift

“We are honored to kickstart our 30th anniversary of serving children with this extraordinary gift from MacKenzie Scott. This catalytic investment means we will continue expanding across the country to provide a Friend to thousands more youth,” said Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children - National. “In 2020, nearly 32,000 children ages four to six entered foster care in the U.S. – that’s 32,000 children and families who may have avoided foster care involvement if they’d had a Friend by their side.”

At the national level, the award will support expansion of Friends unique long-term family support services to thousands more children and families at new Friends of the Children locations. The funds will go towards launching 10 new chapters and getting to 25 states and sovereign nations in partnership with communities by 2025. In Lane County, funds will be used to extend services to more children and families as the organization stretches beyond its current services focused in 4J, Bethel and South Lane School Districts.

Olympic gymnast and youth advocate Simone Biles spoke to the power of the Friends of the Children model when she heard about the gift and leant her voice to speak to the media about the organization.

“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. “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. “

Simone continued: “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.” 

For more about this exciting gift in the press release.