June 16, 2022

Friends of the Children Receives $2 Million to Scale Model to New Communities and Expand Partnerships with Tribal Communities


Ariane Le Chevallier


June 15, 2022 (PORTLAND, ORE.) – The national organization Friends of the Children announced today it received a five-year, $1 million gift from King Philanthropies as well as a $1 million gift from #startsmall. These two generous investments provide additional momentum for the organization to scale its evidence-based, long-term professional mentoring model in communities across the country as well as expand partnerships with Tribal communities.

“The need for long-term mentorship is not limited to urban communities. These gifts allow Friends of the Children to empower children and families in rural and Tribal communities who often lack the services and resources of larger cities,” said Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children.

Friends of the Children pairs children facing the greatest obstacles with salaried, professional mentors - called Friends - who stay by each child’s side from as early as age four through high school graduation—12+ years, no matter what. The organization serves children and families in 26 sites across the country in rural and urban areas; 17 of these sites impact Indigenous youth and families. In Fall of 2022, the organization will launch Friends of the Children – He Sapa in partnership with the Lakota community in Rapid City, South Dakota. This will be Friends of the Children’s first Indigenous youth site.

Funding will support the organization to expand its child and whole-family well-being services to thousands more children and families through the establishment of new Friends of the Children locations. It will also enable Friends of the Children to increase support for its Director of Tribal Programs.

Indigenous youth are disproportionately represented in state foster care systems nationwide, and American Indian/Alaska Native children are four times more likely to be placed in foster care than their white counterparts. Further, more than half of Indigenous families live in rural or small-town areas which are disproportionately affected by generational poverty. Rural areas also face challenges including higher rates of child poverty, limited infrastructure such as broadband internet and public transportation, and fewer community-based services, including mental health resources – all of which can impact the well-being of youth and families.

“Like all youth, the youth we serve have big dreams and limitless potential,” said Sorensen. “On behalf of thousands of curious, courageous, and resourceful young people that need a Friend by their side, we thank King Philanthropies and #startsmall for investing in their empowerment.”

Over the last eight years, Friends of the Children has grown from five to 26 locations across the United States. The organization has set a goal of raising $50 million for its national expansion campaign, which is being fueled by public and private investments.


About Friends of the Children

Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit with the mission of impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what. Our successful model is now in 26 locations around the country. Our work has been featured in The New York Times, Stanford Social Innovation Review and CBS News. Visit to learn more.

About King Philanthropies

Created in 2016, King Philanthropies is a grantmaking foundation that works to combat extreme poverty. Our mission is to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the world’s poorest people by multiplying the impact of high-performing leaders and organizations. We conduct rigorous due diligence to identify excellent organizations and interventions that work - and then we fund them generously with a focus on impact at scale.

About #startsmall

#startsmall is Jack Dorsey's philanthropic initiative to fund crisis relief, girls health and education, and efforts towards Universal Basic Income. Dorsey transferred $1 billion (28% of his wealth) to #startsmall in 2020.