Grant awarded to Together We Rise

The Foundation is pleased to support the work of Together We Rise (TWR) and their efforts to help Foster youths,

TWR was founded in 2008 by Danny Mendoza after he discovered that his 9-year-old cousin was living in a car. He wanted to help but ran into obstacles because he was under the age of 21. Instead of giving up, Danny decided there needed to be ways to help children in foster care without becoming a foster parent. Danny’s vision became a reality as Together We Rise grew into a nation-wide organization changing the way youth experience foster care.

The Rapid Response Program for Foster Youth in College provides immediate access to flexible resources that quickly address the wide range of challenges presented by COVID-19 that could potentially threaten a student’s transition to and through college. Due to the crisis, aged-out foster youth who are currently attending college or about to enter are being displaced, especially those who depend on campus housing. In addition to housing loss, these students are facing food insecurity, a lack of education technology, and many other unforeseen challenges. In response, Together We Rise is providing emergency funding support to current and aged-out foster youth who are in need of housing, groceries, education technology access to remain enrolled in school, access to mental healthcare, and other urgent needs. The funds are intended to enhance, not supplant federal, state or local public funds. The Rapid Response program will serve foster youth into 2021 as the need persists.

The Rapid Response for Foster Youth in College program will pursue three key strategies to ensure that students in foster care have the resources and support they need to pursue their educational goals: 1. Advocacy to ensure that students currently in and from foster care are receiving additional support and resources to succeed in college and career. 2. Ensuring that professionals in campus support programs, nonprofits, etc. have up to date information on federal, state and private resources available and making sure that students in foster care access everything they are entitled to. 3. A designated safety net fund that is nimble enough to support foster youth with a variety of emergency needs that cannot be addressed through other public and private funding. Goals and Desired Outcomes : The primary objective of this program is to provide the target population with immediate assistance in the following key areas: 1) Imminent housing loss – Help with rent payments and temporary housing rental 2) Emergency food resources: A stipend for the purchase of groceries, hygiene products, and other vital necessities 3) Case Management: Individualized information resources, webinars for students, addressing specific needs of students who are parents . 4) TechnologyAccess: Funds for the purchase of a laptop, access to wifi, or software so the student can continue to successfully complete online courses and remain enrolled during Summer and Fall semesters 5) Health Care: Funds for testing and preventative health measures, access to mental health treatment, prescriptions and medications. 6) Other Individual Needs: These needs are not always addressed with other types of aid. However, through our one-on-one evaluation process we can identify needs such as cell phones, internet & wifi, technology needs, case management, personal development & life coaching, financial planning, unemployment & expanded unemployment insurance, access to government services (CalFresh), government stimulus check.

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