Think about the last time you gave your teen $20 for gas, or paid for their books or school fees. For young people who age out of foster care, these “small things” can become big things that prevent them being successful. Without the built-in support of family, routine life expenses can become barriers to establishing their independence. By partnering with Foundation 2’s Fostering Futures and the Small Big Things initiative, you can help young people overcome these barriers.
Small Big Things
Make a Big Impact
Things Your Donation Can Support
For young people establishing independence after aging out of foster care, there are many “little things” that can create a large barrier to success. Parking tickets. An apartment deposit. Books for college. These life expenses can be insurmountable when combined with other life challenges, and limit what our young people can do. Your Small Big Things donation helps fill these real-life gaps for young people in your community who are working hard to establish their independence, often after experiencing many set backs in life.
- Apartment deposit
- Driver’s license fees
- Utility down payments
- Books for school
- Criminal fines and fees
- Basic household necessities
- Equipment and supplies for school
You can also donate on Venmo @Foundation2
Your Dollars at Work
Donations to the Big Small Things Campaign have already supported young people in our community. (Names have been changed to protect privacy)
Isabella, 19, was displaced after the August 2020 derecho and lived in temporary housing for months. She secured a new apartment, but lacked funds to move her belongings. Through Big Small Things donations, we provided $170 in totes and moving supplies to help her relocate. She is now safe and happy in her new home!
John, 21, fell behind on his rent after the derecho and COVID-19 caused him to lose significant hours at his restaurant jobs. Through Big Small Things, we provided him with a $500 rental relief so he could maintain his housing.
Erica, 20, got a new job with higher pay and more hours, but needed to purchase a uniform to wear. She lacked the funds to buy the clothing. Through Small Big Things, we provided her with $50 for two uniform shirts so she could start at her new job and increase her income stability.
How We Started
When Iowa Giving Crew approached us with a $15,000 gift to directly support the young people we serve, we knew it would provide life-changing resources to our young adults impacted by COVID-19 and the derecho. Spurred by these impacts, we launched the Small Big Things campaign in spring 2021. The initial gift is now being supported by additional community organizations, individuals and even grants to continue the Iowa Giving Crew’s impact. We look forward to sharing more ways your dollars have helped our young people!
Thank you to our fund-founding donors – The Iowa Giving Crew, Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors, and the Iowa Realtors Association – for their initial grants and gifts to launch this program. We sincerely appreciate everyone who has given through our Facebook campaign, Venmo and our website to support the Small Big Things fund. Your support is vital to helping our young people!
Why pay fines and fees?
Sometimes, when young people come to us, they have fines and fees due to criminal activity and legal proceedings. Working toward stability includes responsibly taking care of these, but paying for fines can be extremely difficult or impossible for these young people without a safety net. The impact can be multifold, impacting their overall ability to achieve or maintain stability.
When people live in poverty and they get a speeding ticket or criminal charge, they typically don’t have the financial means to pay the associated fines. This causes relatively small issues to quickly become much larger, impacting many areas of their life and ability to be stable. Without access to the necessary resources, a single fine can build to warrants, suspensions, loss of income, loss of childcare, loss of housing and more.
For example, unpaid fines can lead to the loss of a driver’s license, which can lead to a loss of transportation to childcare, work, or school. This can result in a loss of income or an inability to continue education or training, impacting the ability to maintain housing, meet basic needs, and create long term stability stability.
When Fostering Futures is able to reduce or alleviate the financial impact of previous charges, it allows our young people to focus on building stability in housing, employment, education and training and other basic needs. Through working with our advocates, we can help young people build positive habits, avoid additional charges or consequences, and build stability moving forward. Through Small Big Things, you can be part of their next chapter.
Chloe, 19, has worked hard for the last year to get established on her own after aging out of foster care. She was able to secure a full time job with the help of the Foundation 2 Fostering Futures team. She currently takes the bus to work, and is working on getting her own apartment. Her supervisor said she has earned a promotion, but at a store location across town, where the bus doesn’t run. Chloe has a car, but due to choices she made in the past, her license is currently suspended. She has worked hard to take all the steps required to reinstate the license, and only has the $300 fine left to finish the reinstatement process. It isn’t an expense she can pay off in quickly on her current salary. If she had her license again, she can take the promotion, growing her earning potential and allowing her to start a lease at her own apartment. Your Big Little Things gift can help young people like Chloe overcome the small life barriers on their way to independence, giving them a change to thrive.
A fictionalized example of what the young people we serve face every day.
Learn more by contacting Katie Curtis, Chief Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 319-361-0436.