Youth Development

Together We Rise

Helping Children in Foster Care

Brea, CA

Mission

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the way youth navigate through the foster care system in America.

Ruling Year

2009

CEO

Danny Mendoza

Main Address

560 W Lambert Rd

Brea, CA 92821 USA

Keywords

foster care, social work, at-risk youth, children, mentor, foster youth

EIN

26-3043727

 Number

6943965684

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Foster Care (P32)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Register now

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

We are working to address the underserved population of youth in foster care. Youth in foster care are facing alarming drop out rates and graduation rates. Children are sleeping in offices around the country due to the lack of parents willing to become foster parents. Our goal is to ease the transition into foster care and get the community involved to hopefully one day spark a desire for them to become foster parents.

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

Sweet Cases For Children in Foster Care

Build A Bike

Family Fellowship Program

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 products distributed

TOTALS BY YEAR
Population(s) served

Children and youth (0-19 years)

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context notes

Number of Bags, Bicycles, scholarships, and gift cards donated to children in foster care.

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 foster care system can be a confusing and sometimes disheartening place, but through our social media fundraising and network of passionate volunteers, we strive to provide foster children with a brighter future, a sense of normalcy and belonging. Events like Build-A-Bike ( free bikes for foster children that are built by the kids and a volunteer), Clothing Tour, and Sweet Cases ( providing free duffel bags and suitcases ) allow foster youth to get out, play, and learn new skills just like any other kid. Our Aging Out program also provides resources to older youth who are leaving the foster care system. We recently launched a new scholarship program called The Family Fellowship. This scholarship provides 40 students enrolled in higher education to receive up to $90,000 in support throughout the next 5 years of their educational journey. This scholarship is rare in that it not only provide monetary resources but emotional support as well. We strive to be the helping hand that foster youth need so that they may go confidently onto their futures. Additionally, a charity that donors can trust and work hard to make sure their donation stays local.
Goal 1: Improve sense of normalcy, which will enhance feelings of psychological well-being.
Goal 2: Raise self-esteem and decrease stress levels in times of trauma.
Goal 3: Create programs that raise AWARENESS through service.
Goal 4: Mobilize young people to make a difference in their community.
Goal 5: Open minds to the idea of foster parenting and adoption.

Strategy: TWR believes that gifting foster children with Sweet Cases serves as a tangible reminder for children that they are more than just a case number in the system. Our project aims to give foster children a sense of normalcy by reducing the negative trauma through our Sweet Case program. These simple possessions will aid in nurturing a sense of belonging that every child should experience. In addition, the gifting process being carried out by the fundraisers allows us to create a new network of supporters for children in foster care. It also allows us to build a strong sense of trust and transparency.

Strategy: Provide programs that focus on self-esteem. I.E. Clothing Tour: The average teen in foster care receives $50-150 ( depending on state ) for back to school shopping. The average American teen spends $800 on back to school shopping. For our Clothing Tour we provide teens with new, brand name clothing and school supplies. Our motto includes: “ We won't give anything we wouldn't want ourselves "

Strategy: Structure our programs to allow the donors, supporters, and volunteers to be hands on.Group requests and team building to be highlighted via social media to inspire others to do the same.

Strategy: Highlight more success stories of our college interns via social media. Provide college academic internships which meet the requirements of colleges and universities around the country. Through this program we can educate students directly through outreach, statistics, and TWR brand. We will inspire the next generation about getting involved in the foster care system and introduce the idea of parenting a child in foster care.

Strategy: Using the power of social media and interns, we can harness powerful and inspiring stories to show them the difference they could make. With so many negative realities in the foster care system, we focus on the good stories that sometimes get overshadowed with the negative. Focusing on positive adoption stories also helps us alleviate the negative stigmatism towards foster care and attract new potential families.

Together We Rise currently has 20 full time staff and 2 part time to successful manage and execute our programs. We have been able to increase our output as well as our quality with our Sweet Case and Bike program. We started in 2012 with an annual goal of 1,200 duffel bags and now we distribute over 100,000 duffel bags per year to foster youth across the country. We have an ultimate goal of giving over 500,000 duffle bags and Sweet Cases annually year after year.

Our bike program has been easily distributed through our bike partners who help in shipment of the bikes to our sponsors who build them and give them to the foster agencies in their communities. Through our programs we have been able to gain large supportive corporate sponsors who not only provide financial support but volunteers hours as well. Some our sponsors include: JetBlue Airways, Mattress Firm, Toyota, Iron Mountain, Cooley LLP, Farmers Insurance, and PineSol. We've also retained and gained in our grant and Foundation support with new partners including: Jim Mora's Count On Me Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, and Community Foundations around the country Our social media has also increased which is a huge asset in recruiting/maintaining individual donors.

We measure the success of our goals by continued relationships with children's social workers, which will ensure the children they work with do not enter with trash bags. We also keep in contact with the agencies and social workers so they can alert us when new children enter the system so we can provide them with Sweet Cases.

In addition, we send out surveys to foster agencies and individuals after they receive their sweet case and bike orders. These surveys helps us determine how effective the sweet cases are and also what we can improve on. For example, a question that is often asked on the survey is: How important do you think our services are for transitioning foster youth? The average response to this question is 4.7/5. We also participate in many different forms of program evaluations with our target population.

We have a strong social media with a big following which allows our focus groups to do annual polling. We have 550k followers on Facebook, 32k followers on Instagram, and 70k on Twitter. The polls we conduct are geared towards foster parents and agencies to see if their kids came with trash bags or nothing.

Replace 100,000 trash bags with duffel bags annually. In 2015 we set a goal 10,000 duffel bags but we crushed it and ended up providing over 30,000. For 2018, we are on track to provide support for over 100,000 youth in foster care. We are on track to become the leading advocate in foster care. In two years we hope to engage over 15,000 hands on volunteers that have fundraised or built bags/bikes for our organization. Through this commitment, we hope to be able to create a strong advocacy network for future policy campaigns. The best way to change the future for kids in foster care is to create or participate in policy change. However, we want to be involved when we have enough hands on supporters that have showed a high level of engagement rather than just a social media supporter. We want to make foster care a known issue. We have discovered that almost everyone we come across does not have an idea what foster care really is or why it is a problem. Everyone has a negative perception because of the films and negative news that they see on the news. Our goal is to have our volunteers, interns, and online supporters to help share our content so people know. With the launch of our new Family Fellowship program we want to change the statistics young former foster youth are faced with once they exit the system.

External Reviews

Awards

Photos

Financials

Together We Rise

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

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

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?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

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

Yes

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?

Yes

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 11/04/2019

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Decline to state
Gender Identity
Male

Race & Ethnicity

No data

Gender Identity

No data

Sexual Orientation

No data

Disability

No data