Mercy Drops Dream Center


aka Mercy Drops Dream Center   |   Chesapeake, VA   |


We are all about finding the Forgotten, helping them build a Foundation, so they can Flourish in life. We do this by building lasting relationships within the community that bring hope alive. We bring hope alive by offering free resources and services to connect people with a need to a community of support that addresses their immediate and long-term needs. We specialize in bringing awareness to those experiencing homelessness, veterans, foster care prevention and under resource neighborhoods, so the community does not forget what they are going through.

Ruling year info


Chief Dream Officer

Joe Friszolowski

Main address

P.O Box 9416

Chesapeake, VA 23321 USA

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NTEE code info

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

Temporary Shelter For the Homeless (L41)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Mercy Drops Dream Center is all about finding the forgotten, helping them build a foundation so they can flourish in life. The most forgotten in our community are those experiencing homelessness, veterans, under-resourced neighborhoods and those in the foster care system. We reach into the chaos of their lives and help bring out the good because we believe there is good in everyone. We help bring the good out by building lasting relationships within the community that brings hope alive. We find those that are forgotten, connect them to those that have resources in order to build the foundation they need to flourish in life. The foundation we help build is based on 4 cornerstones, those being spiritually, mentally, physically and financially. Through being in community with one another, building lasting relationships and helping to provide the resources individuals need, we believe we are helping to transform an individuals life, so they can flourish.

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?

Care Packages

Care Packages are our flagship Outreach Program. Every week, rain or shine, we distribute care packages on the streets of Downtown Portsmouth to find the forgotten and build relationships. Our care packages include water, crackers, socks, and hygiene products. Our goal is simple, to start a conversation and build relationships with our homeless community and to let them know that they matter and are valued. Our hope is that a simple care package will eventually lead to a life of transformation.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

An outreach where we adopt under-resourced neighborhoods and serve their physical, mental, financial and spiritual needs. We go into these communities and start building lasting relationships through distributing cleaning products, blankets, lunches, toys, groceries, Thanksgiving Dinners, and doing fun activities with the children in these communities. We host Christmas parties, cookouts, community fun days, and so much more! Currently, we have 10 sites we serve in the Hampton Roads area.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The Dream Closet is the name of our clothes and shoes outreach. Through our Dream Closet we are able to provide clothes, shoes, coats, and blankets to our friends on the streets and to anyone in the community who needs clothes. Additionally, we open the Dream Closet to the community monthly to provide a lost-cost option for clothes and household items. We are able to use the proceeds to help fund our other outreaches!

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Economically disadvantaged people

Produce Hope is our food distribution outreach. The mission and purpose of Produce Hope is to educate, grow, and feed communities through grocery distribution, lunch distribution, and community gardens. We provide lunches twice a week to our friends in Downtown Portsmouth through community partnerships with businesses and other organizations. Currently, we distribute groceries to 3 locations once a week to our under-resourced communities through our Adopt-A-Block program. Lastly, we have 10 community gardens where we distribute fresh vegetables to these same communities, who are often food insecure and live in food deserts.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Homeless people

Our Transformation Program is a intense 2-year residential program designed to help men that are struggling with addictions or any other life-controlling problems. This program is a faith-based program designed to help men achieve spiritual, mental, physical & financial success through proper
​self-discipline, time management & healthy relationships. The program is divided into 3 phases; Discipleship, Connections & Transitions.

The vision of this program is to produce graduates who are self-sufficient, successful, productive, functional members of society. All three phases are provided free of charge to the men going through the program.

This program exists for the purpose of helping men between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine become free from addictions and other life-controlling problems by offering an effective and comprehensive faith-based discipleship program as an alternative to mainstream drug and alcohol treatment centers.
The program equips the participants with spiritual, mental, physical, and financial skills needed to transition to a life of independence and permanent housing. Housing, education, and mentorship are all provided free of charge.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people
Men and boys

The Job Placement Program is designed to help every individual looking for employment find a position. This program partners with local businesses and organizations to match up the skills an individual has with the positions businesses need filled.

Population(s) Served
Unemployed people
Economically disadvantaged people

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.

Mercy Drops Dream Center is aiming to accomplish the goal of transforming a city one person at a time. We transform a persons life by finding their need and then meeting that specific need. As we find the needs in the community, we live out what we value most as an organization. We value showing love, giving respect, keeping it simple, as well as be persistent and consistent until the need is filled. We want to show love to everyone, because we believe everyone deserves to be loved. We want to give respect, because in the world today it seems everyone must earn respect before it is given. We believe in keeping it simple, no need to over complicate what it takes to impact someones life. We will be persistent, we will continue to show up in peoples lives until they are flourishing regardless of the difficulty or challenges. Lastly, we will be consistent, we will continue to provide the resources when we are expected and be there when we are needed.

Mercy Drops Dream Centers strategy for achieving our goals is to be in the individuals life in order to build an authentic, lasting relationship that produces change. Once we build an authentic relationship, we are allowed the right to speak into an individuals life. Trust and confidence is everything our strategy is built upon. We build the trust and confidence by showing up on a weekly basis, meeting needs and providing resources for those in need. We work as the middle man to connect those with the resources to those that need the resources to flourish in life.

Mercy Drops Dream Centers capability to meet our goals will be directly related to our volunteers, our community partners, relationships that we are building in the community and our community development. Currently, we have 50 to 100 volunteers each week that help us go into the community 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year to impact our community, without our volunteers, this organization does not exist. Our community partners, whether companies, organizations, other nonprofits, churches or community groups help us in finding volunteers, resources and funding to allow our programs to operate 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Our capability to build lasting relationships in the community is a huge reason we have the ability to meet our goals. We pride ourselves on taking the time to be authentic. Our community development is another reason we have the capability to meet our goals. Through our private donors, corporate donors, our sponsorship's, gifts in kind and grants, we have been able to grow each and every year that we have been in existence. These are all components that will give us the capability to meet our goals for our organization.

Since we have launched the organization in 2010, we have been able to provide
-14,000+ volunteer hours to serve our community
-21,000+ care packages to those experiencing homelessness
-emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness for 2 years during the summer/fall seasons
-given out 3,500+ articles of clothing
-given out 500+ pairs of shoes
-have partnered with Pharrell Williams, World Central Kitchen, Roger Browns, Amicis, Chickfila Portsmouth Blvd, Deep Creek 7-11 and Chick a Sea to feed 9,000+ hot meals to those in the community that were in need of food
-given out 13,000+ lunches through our partnerships with Mercy Chefs and Chickfila Portsmouth Blvd
-given out 1,750,000+ pounds of groceries through our partnerships with 7-11, Operation Blessing, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, City Serve & Farmers to Families Initiative
-given out 125,000 lunches to students in 3 neighborhoods that we have adopted
-have grown from 1 to 5 sites where we distribute food to those in need
-provided Christmas for over 2,000+ children over the past 4 years
-established Adopt A Block programs in 10 neighborhoods in our community
-launched an Adopt A Block site for Veterans
-provided transitional housing for 3 homeless families for a total of 3 years
-provided transitional housing for 12 men that have been dealing with life controlling issues
-raised over $650,000 to impact our community
-provided $4,000,000+ in Gift In Kind to impact our community
-launched 10 back yard gardens and 1 community garden to be able to educate, grow and feed our community with fresh food.
-we have 10 outreaches operating 6 days a week to better serve our community in this time of need

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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve those in our community who are experiencing homelessness, Veterans, Families and children in Foster Care as well as under resourced neighborhoods.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Case management notes, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We recently revamped one of our programs completely due to the fact that it was not meeting the expectations of our clients nor the expectations of our organization. The program had been in operations for 2 years. After feedback from our clients, our staff, our senior leadership, our Board of Directors and a third party representative, we decided to make the needed adjustments. When we launched the program, we had great intentions and goals but unfortunately, those expectations were not being met and the adjustments were needed. From the feedback from everyone, we were able to revamp and relaunch the program. Already, in the short time it has been relaunched, the program has met some of its goals and expectations.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    The feedback from our community is the key to building lasting relationships with in the community that bring hope alive. Without the feedback from our surveys, we wouldn't know what is working and what is not working and how to make a needed change when time calls for it.

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, 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 demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), 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, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,


Mercy Drops Dream Center

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


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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

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Mercy Drops Dream Center

Board of directors
as of 3/18/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jacob Phillips

World Distribution Services

Term: 2019 - 2021

Sue Carroll


Joseph Friszolowski

Mercy Drops Dream Center

Kimberly Harrell

City of Hampton

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 03/06/2021

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Sexual orientation
Decline to state
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


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

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/06/2021

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

  • 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.