R.J. Leonard Foundation

Launching Foster Care into Self-Sufficiency

aka R.J. Leonard Foundation   |   Doylestown, PA   |  www.rjleonardfoundation.org

Mission

R.J.Leonard Foundation (RJLF) is a Mentoring Program for young people exiting the Foster Care System in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania. RJLF's Mission is to "educate, initiate careers and personally mentor young adults who are aging out of the foster care system; we empower them to succeed, free of government assistance for the rest of their lives". An R.J. Leonard Foundation Fellow is a young adult who is currently in or who has been in foster care and is awarded an individualized Fellowship by exhibiting a proven interest in furthering their education and/or career. Much attention is given to matching a Mentor with a Fellow with a goal of developing a lifetime connection and relationship. Each Mentor goes through our Mentor program and is supported by our Mentoring team.

Ruling year info

2009

Principal Officer

Jo Leonard

Executive Director

Joelle Pitts

Main address

PO Box 1138

Doylestown, PA 18901 USA

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Formerly known as

Robert James Leonard Foundation Inc

EIN

26-3202552

NTEE code info

Foster Care (P32)

Financial Counseling, Money Management (P51)

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (J12)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Imagine this reality. On your 18th birthday, you have no home, and no emotional, financial, or social support systems of any kind. You dream of going to college, but that dream is just a dream. You want to be a nurse or a software engineer, but tuition and transportation are insurmountable impediments. Higher education seems impossible. Only 2.5 percent of children who grow up in foster care graduate from a four-year college. These obstacles are just a few that young adults who have aged out of the foster care system face every day. Typically, when a young person turns 18, they are no longer involved in or receiving support from the child welfare system. Aging out of foster care unprepared for the real world can have catastrophic and life-altering consequences.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Education Planning

Education scholarships enable Fellows to continue their education beyond high school. The nature of this education varies for each Fellow and can include pursuing technical or apprenticeship training, attending classes at a community college, and/or working towards a 4-year college degree. Loan burdens, supplies, housing, and tuition are all assessed, and scholarships are customized for each Fellow.

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Access to industry research, networking and internship opportunities
Mentor matching

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Introduction to, and involvement in community activities   
Social and professional etiquette training

Population(s) Served
Young adults

Transportation support allows Fellows to secure better paying jobs, attend internships, and/or travel to and from school by helping them obtain reliable transportation.

Population(s) Served
Young adults
Adults

Where we work

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Why and How the R. J. Leonard Foundation Was Created
When founder Jo Leonard’s father died in 2006, she knew she wanted to start a non-profit in his name, Robert James Leonard. Combining her experience and passion for working with young adults with the need to address the challenges faced by those aging out of the foster care system, the R. J. Leonard Foundation (RJLF) was born. RJLF became a springboard for launching foster care youth into self-sufficiency. Dreams and self-reliance became realities for this often invisible population in our community.

RJLF’s Mission Statement
RJLF’s success is attributed to its focused and simple mission: The R.J. Leonard Foundation educates, initiates careers, and personally mentors young adults who are aging out of the foster care system, empowering them to succeed, free of government assistance for the rest of their lives.

RJLF supports young adults who are either in or have aged out of foster care and currently reside in Bucks or Montgomery Counties, PA.

How the R. J. Leonard Foundation Changes Lives
An R. J. Leonard Fellow is a young adult who is currently in or who has been in foster care. Typically, a Fellow steps into the RJLF family without social capital, without typical parental safety nets to catch them when they are sick or experience an emergency, and without the necessary skills to navigate the systems they will encounter as they attempt to become self-sufficient.

The RJLF matches them with lifelong Mentors who play an essential role in helping them establish and work towards specific education and career goals. We also provide them with individually customized education, transportation, and living expense scholarships to ensure stability while they pursue education and career opportunities. We have built the social, educational, and professional networks that enable Fellows to move beyond their past experiences and become happy, productive and self-sufficient young professionals. Each generous act of support makes a life-changing impact.

Mentors are defined as experienced and trusted advisors. At the R. J. Leonard Foundation, mentors provide Fellows with hope, guidance, and an avenue to a new world of experiences. Mentors are essential to ensuring that the Fellows fulfill their goals and succeed.

Each Fellow is carefully matched with a mentor, and a relationship develops based on a mutual level of trust and commitment. Without exception, the RJLF mentors discover that their lives have been enriched in unexpected ways. Without our mentors, we would not have a successful program.

Moreover, RJLF staff, mentors, board members, and supporters utilize their own professional and personal networks to open up new doors for Fellows. RJLF is commitment to creating not just opportunities for Fellows but, strengthening community relationships for all. Many of the foundations tangible supports for Fellows are gifted through the foundation's relationships with other organizations and community partners.

RJLF has successfully launched Fellows into self-sufficiency. Two of these individuals continue to be involved in RJLF as a board member and speaker. You can hear from Fellow's themselves in our video: Chosen Home on the foundation's homepage: rjleonardfoundation.org.

Financials

R.J. Leonard Foundation
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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R.J. Leonard Foundation

Board of directors
as of 2/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Miles Hanley

R.J.Leonard Foundation

Term: 2021 - 2022

John Ortolf

Wells Fargo Advisors Finanical Network

Abby Applebaum

Psychologist

Jo Leonard

Jo Leonard & Co.

Miles Hanley

Google

Caitlin Deppeler

Keller Williams

Kathleen Kasper

Chad Guth

Habitat for Humanity

Megan Craig

Kerry Galaton

Melanie Augustin

Epic Research

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and 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 and 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

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/8/2021,

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data