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Foster Progress Announces Matching Gift from the Evans Family Foundation of Chicago

CHICAGO -- June 12, 2018 -- Chicago’s two-year old non-profit organization Foster Progress, which empowers Illinois youth currently or formerly in foster care to attain a college degree and transition into adulthood, announced this week a $150,000 grant from the Evans Family Foundation. Foster Progress is an organization that partners with foster care agencies in Illinois to better the lives of teens and young adults who grew up in foster care, especially through supporting their efforts to earn a college degree or technical training.

Mike Evans, founder of GrubHub and Fixer.com and a Foster Progress supporter, announced that the three-year grant is structured to encourage other foundations to invest in this dynamic, youth-empowering organization.

For Evans and his wife, Christine, the motivation to donate to Foster Progress and encourage support is personal. Christine worked as a lawyer in the Chicago child welfare system for years and the Evanses are also adoptive parents. “We’ve been supporting Foster Progress from its initial concept through its first delivery of services.  We’ve been extremely impressed with the effectiveness of the organization. We are honored to be involved with them as they scale their services to address this urgent need in Chicago and beyond,” says Mike.

The Evans Family Grant includes a $25,000 gift each year, plus a $25,000 matching gift if other foundations donate to the Foster Progress organization.

“With the new grant from the Evans Family, Foster Progress will triple its Mentoring and Scholarship program from 10 students to 30 for the 2018-2019 school year,” said Kate Danielson, founder of Foster Progress.

In 2016, Danielson, a foster parent and adoptive mother herself, who started her career as a high school English teacher at Harper High School on Chicago’s south side, discovered that only three percent of youth from foster care earn a bachelor’s degree. She knew she had to help.

“These young adults in the foster care system have gone through more than most people could imagine,” says Danielson. “All of these youth were abused or neglected by the very people who were supposed to nurture and protect them,” she said. “When we take these children from those families, we promise them a better life, but foster care often doesn’t deliver on that promise. Our mission at Foster Progress is to paint a picture of a better future for these young people and then help them develop a plan to make it happen,” Danielson added.

Studies show that by age 26 years old, 50 percent of youth who age out of foster care have been unemployed, 31 percent have been homeless, and 57 percent have been to jail. For males, that number leaps to 74 percent.

According to Danielson, Foster Progress offers students scholarships, mentoring, and road trips to visit colleges around the state. They also train foster parents, caseworkers, and higher education professionals on how to support youth’s educational goals. Foster Progress advocates for policies at the state and federal level that will make higher education more accessible, such as the bill that just passed the Illinois House and Senate that offers free tuition to all youth from foster care who attend public colleges and universities.

To get involved in Foster Progress as mentor or volunteer, or to recommend a student for their programming, or to donate to this important cause, visit www.foster-progress.org or email info@foster-progress.org.