The numbers are really staggering:
- In 2022, we served 138 families. That’s a nearly 40% increase from 2021’s record of 103 families.
- This service equates to over $800,000 in household bills, rent, and mortgages, home modifications, accessible transportation, and other non-medical bills.
While we’ve had a banner year, the gravity of these statistics is not lost on us. We’ve supported more families than ever before because more families are struggling than ever before. The socio-economic ripple effects of the pandemic continue to create challenge in the lives of the families we serve. With the national nursing shortage, it’s harder than ever to find skilled in-home care for a medically-complex child. Without this essential support, parents cannot return to work outside the home. Inflation and rising housing costs are making the cost of living nearly unmanageable. And for many of our families with medically-fragile children, it is still not safe for them and their siblings to leave home due to the high transmission rate of infection.
While this is disheartening, we are encouraged by the fact that we are able to do something about it. Please consider a donation to the year-end appeal to help us meet this growing need in 2023 and beyond.
How’d we pull this off?
We’re a lean staff with limited resources, so you may be wondering, how did Fred’s Footsteps scale operations to be able to serve more families this year?
- First and foremost, this was made possible through the generosity of corporate and community partners, donors, and supporters. Supporting additional families means raising additional funds, and this community has shown up for us – and our families – like never before. When we ask, you say ‘yes’ so we can continue to say ‘yes’ to families in need.
- Our Program Manager and Operations & Systems Coordinator – Diane and Kate – deserve much of the credit for ramping up their processes to meet this influx. More families mean more Social Workers to coordinate with, more personal conversations to be had, and more relationships to manage. And, since Fred’s Footsteps personally pays off the family’s bills, pays down the contractor expense for home modifications, vets the adapted van lease, and deals with the funeral homes, 2023 has seen our team doing 40% more of this. We work tirelessly to ensure each family’s needs are met so that the lights will stay on – literally and figuratively.
- Our Grant Advisory Committee is a dedicated group of physicians and community members with charitable and social work experience. Each month, our GAC meets to review family applications submitted by Social Workers and helps direct the financial support to make the most meaningful impact for the family. With an influx in applications, this has increased their commitment in hours, and emotional bandwidth, to reading and vetting applications.
- Lastly, and perhaps most significantly, we attribute this increase in families served to a more efficient application and review process via our new family application portal, Zengine by WizeHive – and we owe all of it to a group of Fellows! The Fred’s Footsteps Fellowship Program is a year-long program for young professionals. The program features a two-day seminar facilitated by top, regional, business and community leaders. Following the retreat, the Fellows are split into teams to conduct a service-learning project designed to apply their newfound learnings. For the Fred’s Footsteps Fellowship Class of 2019, one team dedicated their project to addressing improvements to our application process. Their findings were so compelling that Fellowship Faculty Advisor and Fred’s Footsteps Board Member, Mike Bova, along with Accenture, underwrote the full costs of implementing the new portal. It’s truly an example of strategic partnership at its best!
Thank you to all those involved with this banner year. Together, we made someone’s hardest year just that much easier.
Wishing everyone a happy 2023!