Friends of the Children – Central Oregon Receives $440,000 Grant Award from Wood Next Fund & the Central Oregon Health Council


Friends of the Children – Central Oregon (FOTCCO) announced today it has received a $220,000 grant award from the Wood Next Fund, to support its mission to break generational cycles of poverty through its long-term, professional mentoring program.

“This gift from Wood Next Fund will be transformational for our program, and the youth and families we serve,” said Executive Director Rachel Cardwell. “It will allow us to expand, not just in the number of youth we select into our program, but also our ability to effectively serve kids outside of Bend and throughout Central Oregon.”

FOTCCO has an expansion plan in progress to serve rural communities in Jefferson and Crook Counties. The gift will support an additional 15 youth, bringing total enrollment to 61, with the addition of two Professional Mentors, called Friends, one of whom will be dedicated to areas outside Bend. These funds will also support a new position for the organization, a Family & Education Specialist, focused on providing individualized educational supports around literacy and math concepts to ensure their youth are hitting grade-level benchmarks in core areas. The position will also build additional opportunities for family engagement into program design and decision-making.

“Wood Next Fund is impressed by Friends of the Children’s proven long-term mentoring model to turn around outcomes for the most vulnerable children, “ said Nancy Chan, director of Wood Next Fund. “We are excited to support this important work in Central Oregon and help the chapter build its capacity to serve more children.”

Understanding the enormous impact these dollars would have on youth across the region, the Central Oregon Health Council stepped up and matched the awarded funds, dollar for dollar.

“It is with great gratitude and partnership that we present FOTCCO with these matching grant funds. The Central Oregon Health Council has created this Impact Fund program to assist and further the reach and success of our partners and their community investments. Our Regional Health Improvement Plan (RHIP) reflects the efforts of the region we serve in aligning with those measures that create a healthier Central Oregon. Thank you to FOTCC for their commitment to the kiddos in their program “12 years no matter what.”

One of 25 chapters in the U.S. and England, the Friends of the Children model has redefined the youth mentoring field by creating the first and only long-term professional mentoring program in the country. The Friends are experts in building sustained and nurturing relationships with youth. It specializes in working with youth who have faced a lot of adversity. The model was founded on research showing that the single most important factor in overcoming childhood adversity is a long-term, nurturing relationship with a consistent and caring adult. Research over the past three decades continues to affirm how much these relationships matter.

About Friends of the Children
Friends of the Children is a national nonprofit started in Portland, Oregon 28 years ago. The Central Oregon chapter became a 501c3 October 2017 with the mission of breaking the cycle of generational poverty by giving the most vulnerable children the ability to create a new story. We provide our children with a long-term, salaried, professional mentor, who we call a Friend, from kindergarten through graduation — 12+ years, no matter what. Our Friends support and guide children in becoming healthy and contributing members in the community.

About Wood Next Fund
Wood Next Fund is the philanthropy of tech innovator Anthony Wood and his wife Susan. In collaboration with the Fund’s director Nancy Chan, their philanthropic efforts are guided by their overall mission to support the human spirit, advance human progress and remove obstacles to a fulfilling life. The Fund’s priorities include mental health and related issues, scientific and biomedical research and economic opportunity with a focus on addressing the root causes of poverty.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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