Safe Families for Children: Fighting Poverty by Keeping Families Together
How a program for nonprofits is creating a movement to break the cycle of poverty and change how society helps the least fortunate
Stand Together Foundation’s Catalyst Community, a network of community-based nonprofits working to break the cycle of poverty in America
America has spent more than $22 trillion in the War on Poverty, yet the poverty rate has barely budged
Stand Together Foundation partners with nonprofits to help them empower more people and spur a national rethink of how to tackle poverty
210 nonprofits serving one million people in 48 states and inspiring tens of millions of people to think differently about poverty
America’s best efforts to end poverty aren’t working. Why?
For more than 50 years, policymakers have thrown $22 trillion at poverty, while philanthropists devote $50 billion more every year. Despite this massive investment, decades of top-down, one-size-fits-all projects and programs, 37.2 million Americans still experience poverty.
Poverty is easier to endure, but harder to escape.
Poured into the “War on Poverty” by taxpayers, yet the poverty rate has not improved
Americans still experience poverty
Of Americans are dissatisfied with the War on Poverty’s results
It’s time for a new strategy — a bottom-up, individualized approach. Instead of treating poverty as a single problem, we should empower people living in poverty to use their unique knowledge and abilities to break barriers for themselves and others.
You can’t break the cycle of poverty by treating people as problems.
Stand Together Foundation created the Catalyst Community to unite some of America’s most effective nonprofits, all of which leverage the power of community to empower people in poverty. Through the Catalyst Program, Stand Together Foundation provides partners with funding and management consulting to make them even more effective, while helping them tell their story in the media to inspire the country with their groundbreaking work.
You’re building stronger communities. We’re here to unlock your potential. Learn more about the Catalyst experience.
Nonprofits in the Catalyst Community
Number of people our partners are helping to escape poverty
Number of states where Catalysts operate
Safe Families for Children joined the Catalyst Community in 2019. It’s the brainchild of Dr. David Anderson, a psychologist who founded the Chicago-based nonprofit after seeing the problems in the child welfare system. His experience taught him that families need support to come through times of crisis. He created Safe Families to provide an alternative to the foster care system.
Foster care is a big driver of poverty. Safe Families proves we can do better than the usual approach.
The nonprofit mobilizes volunteer families to care for kids whose parents fall on tough times. They’re spared from foster care and the harmful emotional, educational, and economic consequences that accompany it. Once the parents get back on their feet, they’re reunited with their kids. Safe Families is twice as effective as foster care at keeping families together.
Of Safe Families children are reunited with their parents, and 82% are reunited within one month
More effective at reuniting families than the foster care system
Dr. Anderson wanted to make an even bigger difference. But scaling nationwide was no simple task. That’s why he partners with Stand Together Foundation.
Working with Safe Families for Children was a clear choice. It’s the essence of a bottom-up, individualized approach, leveraging the power of community to tackle a complex problem. Not only are we committed to help it expand nationwide, we know it has potential to change how people think about solving problems like foster care.
“Since we’ve partnered with Stand Together, we’ve grown tremendously.”
Since 2019, Dr. Anderson has worked with us to significantly strengthen Safe Families:
- He needed funding. Stand Together’s community of 700 business leaders and philanthropists committed $6 million over three years.
- He wanted to expand. Stand Together Foundation helped him experiment with his strategy for expansion in key regions responsible for a quarter of children entering the foster care system each year, including Los Angeles, New York City, and Texas, and Florida.
- He wanted to find more volunteers and referral partners. The Stand Together production team developed multiple videos to recruit more volunteers and host families and educate agencies working with families in crisis on the benefit of Safe Families’ model.
- He wanted to improve his operations. Stand Together Foundation helped him expand Safe Families’ leadership team to broaden their capabilities, streamline and standardize volunteer onboarding, training, and engagement, and strengthen data collection.
This organization is helping families in crisis
Safe Families chapters nationwide, with more on the way
Safe Families is just one of 210 nonprofits in the Catalyst Community. Mobiles Loaves & Fishes tackles homelessness. The Phoenix tackles addiction. Café Momentum tackles juvenile justice. While each partner differs, they all share one thing in common. They’re empowering people within communities to break the cycle of poverty. The Catalyst Community will aim to expand to at least 500 nonprofit partners by 2025.
These trailblazing nonprofits show what’s possible when you address problems in communities by empowering people closest to the problems to solve them. After spending so much time and so much money in a failing, top-down fight to end poverty, it’s time for America to rethink the path forward. Groups like Safe Families are a good place to start.
What You Can Do
Learn More: Explore how the Catalyst Community is working with its diverse partners to break the cycle of poverty and bridge divides in communities.
Partner With Us: Find out how you can partner with us to solve any number of big challenges — not just poverty.
Become a Catalyst Partner: Apply to become a member of the Catalyst Program.