PLATINUM2023

COMFORT CASES INC

Providing Comfort and Support for Youth in Foster Care

Rockville, MD   |  www.comfortcases.org

Mission

Comfort Cases' mission is to inspire communities to bring dignity and hope to youth in foster care.

Notes from the nonprofit

The effectiveness of the organization’s work has been acknowledged and appreciated through heartfelt comments such as these from partners and youth in foster care: Teresa Ponn-Lemaster of Oasis Foster Care in Albany, OH said that the foster children her agency serves “…are excited to have their own bags to put their personal stuff in. Foster parents love them too.” Donna Biase, Executive Director and Co-Founder at Best Foot Forward Foundation in Boca Raton, Florida, said “The beautiful, high quality blankets help soothe and comfort our children and youth. The age appropriate books align with our focus on education. We are so happy to have joined forces for good with Comfort Cases. This partnership helps us restore dignity and hope to children and youth in Florida.” One of the children served by Comfort Cases told us, “I met you 3 years ago. When you visited my shelter you brought me a shiny new book bag. Today I am packing my belongings in that bag and I’m going to my new home!"

Ruling year info

2014

Executive Director

Robert Scheer

Main address

15825 Shady Grove Road suite 60

Rockville, MD 20850 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

46-4044090

NTEE code info

Foster Care (P32)

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

There are roughly 437,500 youth in the U.S. foster care system. Of the thousands of youth who enter the system each year, most arrive carrying little more than the clothes on their backs. If they are given the chance to collect any personal belongings, many are given a trash bag in which to place and carry them. It is a time of great upheaval and instability, and their first foster home placement is unlikely their last. Many youth in foster care will be relocated multiple times, carrying their life's treasures in a trash bag.

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?

Comfort Cases Distribution

Comfort Cases distributes overnight bags filled with essential and comfort items to youth entering the foster care system.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

CNN Hero Award 2018

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of products distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Comfort Cases Distribution

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The total number of Comfort Cases and Comfort XLs distributed annually.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Comfort Cases Distribution

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The total number of volunteer hours contributed to the cause - from packing Comfort Cases to working events and front desk reception.

Number of invitations for advocates to speak as experts

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Founder Rob Scheer hosted 53 podcast interviews and served as a speaker 120 times in 2022. An additional two dozen advocates (including staff), spoke at additional locations on behalf of Comfort Cases

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.

#NoMoreTrashBags. Comfort Cases aims to eliminate trash bags from our foster care system - and ensure that no child ever has to carry their belongings in a trash bag. At a time when youth are experiencing stress and fear, each case (a backpack containing a blanket, pajamas, toiletries and hygiene items, a stuffed animal, a book, a journal, school and art supplies and a duffel bag that can be used as a suitcase) ensures its recipient feels that they matter to someone.

Comfort Cases packs and distributes cases to children entering foster care. A Comfort Case is a small duffel bag or backpack with a purpose to provide comfort for youth as they enter the foster care system. Our case provides the essentials for the first few days in a new place as well as comfort items to help ease a scary transition. Every case includes what we call a "Comfort XL". The XL is a collapsible, compact large duffel bag that children can use to pack up and transport their belongings - and truly eliminate the trash bag.

We have been fortunate enough to have had a large group of supporters from the very beginning which has enabled our organization to run largely through volunteer support. We also have a fundraising campaign called Bag Busters which allows supporters to become monthly donors, through a monthly donation of 10 dollars or 45 dollars a supporter is able to eliminate a trash bag for a child in foster care by helping provide either a comfort XL or a comfort case. We have also partnered with various organizations that have allowed us to receive items such as duffel bags, backpacks and many of the items that go into a case at a discounted price. This allows us to purchase large numbers of items and support a larger number of youth than we would have had we not had these partnerships.

Our organization was founded in 2013 and since then we have served over 85,008 youth in foster care. We recently met one of our longest standing goals of distributing cases to all 50 states as well as D.C and Puerto Rico. Comfort Cases was originally created to serve youth locally and we now served youth nationwide. Our next goal is to reach every county in every state, we currently reach all 50 states but because there are various counties in each state there are still certain geographical regions that are not getting the service they deserve. If we are able to send cases to every county in a particular state we will know that we are reaching all the youth in foster care in that state instead of just a portion of them.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

COMFORT CASES INC
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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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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

COMFORT CASES INC

Board of directors
as of 11/21/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Laura Degnon

Degnon Associates

Bill Lynch

ProChain Solutions, Inc.

Elizabeth Luke

Pintrest

Andrew Lewis

KPMG LLP

Lisa Dallos

High10

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? 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

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 9/19/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person with a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/20/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.