Recreation, Sports, Leisure, Athletics

The Felix Organization - Adoptees for Children

Making dreams come true for children in foster care since 2006.

aka The Felix Organization

Locust Valley, NY

Mission

The Felix Organization provides inspiring opportunities and new experiences to enrich the lives of children who are growing up in the foster care system.

Ruling Year

2006

Co-Founder

Ms. Sheila Jaffe

Co-Founder

Mr. Darryl "DMC" McDaniels

Main Address

43 Oyster Bay Rd

Locust Valley, NY 11560 USA

Keywords

youth services, youth, foster care, camp, social services, leadership, wellness

EIN

20-4413828

 Number

4406011398

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Recreational and Sporting Camps (Day, Overnight, etc.) (N20)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Foster Care (P32)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

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Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

There are roughly 400,000 children in the US in foster care. Approximately 12,000 live in NYC and 19,000 in LA.

Foster children fare poorly in our society. Most of them have witnessed abuse or were themselves abused or neglected. They ended up in foster care through no fault of their own, yet they are burdened with higher rates of mental and physical illnesses, more learning disabilities, and a disproportionate number of teen pregnancies. As adults they fail to complete high school, they must frequently depend on welfare and social services, and often end up in jail. The statistics are clear- we are not doing enough as a society to help foster children succeed.

Studies have shown that for youth who age out of the foster care system with no permanent family, approximately:
• 20% struggled with homelessness
• 50% did not complete high school
• 40% are unemployed
• 36% are arrested
• 22% are incarcerated
• 50% of girls are pregnant 12-18 months after leaving foster care

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Camp Felix

Beyond Camp

Felix Friendship Circle

Secret Santa

Camp Felix Teen Girls Getaway

Bryan's Camp Felix

Where we work

Our Results

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one. These quantitative program results are self-reported by the organization, illustrating their committment to transparency, learning, and interest in helping the whole sector learn and grow.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Number of youth who demonstrate leadership skills (e.g., organizing others, taking initiative, team-building)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

No target populations selected

Related program

Camp Felix

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

On the annual Camp Felix survey that the children fill out at the end of the camp season, our campers report that they are better leaders at Camp Felix and are confident about succeeding in school.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they are aware of their interests and abilities

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Beyond Camp

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Our campers report that they learned something, tried new activities, and improved their recreational skills, and developed solid career and educational goals through our Beyond Camp program.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed positive values

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Camp Felix

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

On the annual Camp Felix survey the children fill out at the end of the camp season, our campers report that they get along better with other kids and feel prepared to handle life's challenges.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed skills and attitudes to make physical activity a habit

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Camp Felix

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

On the annual Camp Felix survey the children fill out at the end of the camp season, our campers report that they enjoy exercising, playing sports, and being active more than before going to Camp.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed social skills (e.g., interpersonal communication, conflict resolution)

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Camp Felix

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Our campers report that they made a lot of new friends, learned to get along better with others, learned how to walk away from fights, and developed more respect for others at Camp Felix.

Number of youth who demonstrate motivation to learn

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

K-12 (5-19 years)

Related program

Camp Felix

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Our campers report that they tried new activities, learned something new, and feel that they are currently working toward their educational goals.

Number of youth who demonstrate that they have developed positive relationships

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Adolescents (13-19 years)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

On the survey that the 24-26 children from the Camp Felix teen camps filled out at the end of the camp season, our campers report they formed at least one meaningful relationship at Camp Felix.

Number of youth who demonstrate the ability to overcome challenges.

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Adolescents (13-19 years)

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

On the survey that the 24-26 children from the Camp Felix teen camps filled out at the end of the camp season, our campers report that Camp Felix helped them learn to overcome challenges.

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

The Felix Organization aims for all of our youth participants to leave Camp Felix with the following competencies:

1.Improved physical and cognitive skills

2.Improved awareness about healthy living

3.Improved self-esteem and sense of belonging

4.Heightened self-confidence including respect for self

5.Improved social skills including respect for others

6.Improved level of positive decision-making and leadership skills

The Felix Organization uses the following strategies to achieve our goals at Camp Felix, our signature program:

1. Children will participate in physical activities including swimming, team sports, and climbing wall. Children will participate in cognitive and problem-based activities such as project adventure and scavenger hunt.

2. Children will eat three healthy meals and a snack daily and learn about good nutrition from our Food Service staff who implement a weekly nutrition orientation and cooking classes.

3. Children will participate in various group team-building activities.

4. Children will have the opportunity to overcome fears and experience success by participating in various physical and social activities and living independently from their families.

5. Through participation in various group and team building activities, children will have an opportunity to build social skills and respect for others.

6. Through their participation in various group and team-building activities, children will hone and develop positive decision-making and leadership skills.

For more than 25 years, Felix co-founder Darryl “DMC" McDaniels has had an influence on popular culture. The first rap group to grace the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine and the first to appear on MTV, Run DMC changed music and made history. Thirty million record sales later, DMC continues to create, inspire and motivate. DMC was born in Harlem, put up for adoption and grew up in Hollis, Queens. After discovering, as an adult, this part of his history, DMC began his journey down another life path in search of his birth mother. While his struggle was captured in the 2007 Emmy-winning VH-1 documentary, “DMC: My Adoption Journey", the process gave DMC tremendous insight and purpose, prompting him to become an advocate for adoption and children in foster care. He was invited to the White House by President Obama to address youth groups on responsibility and has appeared before Congress and State Legislatures in support of this cause. DMC has been the recipient of various awards including Hard Rock's Love All Serve All Award for his numerous philanthropic endeavors. DMC also sits on the board of directors of Children's Rights. Felix co-founder, Sheila Jaffe was born in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx. At eleven years of age, she found out she was adopted. Today, she is an Emmy Award-winning casting director whose body of work includes the HBO hit series, The Sopranos, and Entourage. Her feature film resume includes: The Fighter, Rocky Balboa, and Ted. Although casting is her profession, Sheila's true passion is helping children. She started out with a simple idea to sponsor inner-city boys and girls to experience their first Broadway play. As co-founder of The Felix Organization, Sheila is starring in her most rewarding and vital role. As she sees it: “Felix is like my child and watching Felix grow in its reach to help these children has been an indescribable blessing." Sheila currently sits on the board of the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the Advisory Board of the Savannah Film Festival. In 2013, she was honored at The Children's Rights Gala for her work with children in foster care. Amanda Simonetta, Felix's Executive Director, began her work with foster children when she was a Grant-Writer for an orphanage in Cusco, Peru. As a former School Counselor with a Masters Degree in Education, Amanda has worked with hundreds of children in need. As Director of Institutional Giving at The New York Foundling, one of New York City's largest social services agencies, she managed a grant portfolio of over $3 million, supporting programs to help disadvantaged youth. Amanda became Camp Felix's on-site Camp Director and Program Administrator for its first five years. Our seasonal camp staff includes certified social workers and medical professionals who are highly trained to work with this population. Our medical team is certified to administer medications so that no child misses the opportunity to attend Camp Felix.

The Camp Felix program and facilities are overseen and reviewed every summer by The Putnam County Department of Health, and its meals program is assessed by The New York State Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program. The Camp Director conducts a camper and parent survey as well as an annual review and debrief meeting that is attended by The Executive Directors of The Felix Organization and our partners, the New York Foundling, as well as The Co-founders of Felix and key camp staff members. In addition, Camp Felix is evaluated every three years by The New York Foundling's national accrediting body, The Council on Accreditation.

Our short term indicators include:

• How many campers we send to Camp Felix overnight camp in Putnam Valley, NY each year.
• How many children we send to Camp Felix West Coast in LA each year.
• How much money we distribute in Beyond Camp mini-grants to allow children in foster care to follow their dreams. We distributed funds for such activities as dance lessons, gymnastics, college textbooks, sports leagues, photography equipment, tutoring, laptops for school and more.
• How many youth in the foster care system we send to cultural events in New York City each year including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, other plays and professional sporting events.
• How many children we serve a delicious Thanksgiving meal during our annual feast-i-val where children decorated t-shirts, sing and dance at a restaurant in NYC.
• How much money we distribute in gift cards during the holiday season for teens in foster care, who often get overlooked at that time of year.

Long-term indicators:

• How many Camp Felix campers have become Counselors In Training
• How many campers have become camp volunteer staff
• How many former campers have moved into the role of Camp Felix employee.
• How many former campers move into administrative roles at Camp Felix such as Camp Director, Assistant Director and others.

In the past year, in 2018, Felix accomplished the following: • Sent over 500 children to camp through our 5 Camp Felix programs on the East and West Coast, including two camps for teen boys and girls: Bryan's Camp Felix and Camp Felix Teen Girls Getaway. • Distributed $15,000 worth of Beyond Camp mini-grants to allow children in foster care to follow their dreams. We distributed funds for guitar lessons, swimming lessons at the Y, sports leagues, tutoring, laptops for school, and more. • Sent 30 youth in the foster care system on a trip to Six Flags. • Served a delicious Thanksgiving meal to 100 children during our annual feast-i-val where children decorated chalkboard t-shirts, sang and danced at Hill Country Barbecue restaurant in NYC. • Sent 100 youth in the foster care system to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. • Distributed over $33,000 in gift cards to over 600 children during the holiday season for teens in foster care, who often get overlooked this time of year. The impact of Felix's programs is life-long. To date: • 74 Camp Felix campers have become Counselors In Training • 12 campers have become camp volunteer staff • 10 former campers have moved into the role of Camp Felix employee. These opportunities help our youth build job experience, enhance their leadership skills, and expand their resumes to prepare them for their professional careers. We hope that in future summers our Camp Felix administrative positions, such as Camp Director and Assistant Director, among others, will be filled by former Camp Felix campers. We feel strongly that youth who have gone through the program will make the best role models for new youth who understand that these staff members were once in their position. We feel confident that, as our former campers continue to fill Counselor roles, they will move up the ranks to fill these higher positions. This will help those youth to obtain full-time year-round positions and support them in leading healthy and positive lifestyles.

How We Listen

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

Source: Self-reported by organization

the feedback loop
check_box We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
check_box We shared information about our current feedback practices.
How is the organization collecting feedback?
We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), community meetings/town halls, constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees.
How is the organization using feedback?
We use feedback to: to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.
With whom is the organization sharing feedback?
We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board.
What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?
It is difficult to: we don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback.
What significant change resulted from feedback
We believe that our youth must be the agents of their own change, in order for real growth to be possible. As such, in 2019, we officially launched The Camp Felix Youth Board. This program inspires our youth to become more involved with our mission while building the skills and abilities to create a positive impact in their community. At our first meeting with the youth board members, they requested opportunities to volunteer and workshops for personal development. In the past 6 months, our youth were recruited to volunteer at several events including our annual Thanksgiving Feast-i-val and our first ever Youth Jam event where they helped us set up the venue, welcome our guests, and also distribute goody bags. We have also been mindful of connecting with leaders who can meet our kids.

External Reviews

Photos

Financials

The Felix Organization - Adoptees for Children

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

Yes

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

No

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

No

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

Yes

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?

No

Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 03/23/2020

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender Identity
Female, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability Status
Decline to state

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender Identity
Male, Not Transgender (Cisgender)
Sexual Orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability Status
Decline to state

Race & Ethnicity

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.