10 Best Charities for Supporting Foster Care (Complete 2024 List)

10 Best Charities for Supporting Foster Care (Complete 2024 List)

By
Carla Shaik

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There are estimated to be around 117,470 children waiting to be adopted in America. 25% of these children experience PTSD (double the rate of US war veterans) and they are often left to fend for themselves once they leave the care system at 18 years old. Charities across the continent are working to support and empower these vulnerable children. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for supporting foster care?

The best charities for supporting foster care in terms of overall impact are Foster Care to Success and Together We Rise. Charities such as the Children’s Defense Fund do amazing work providing vulnerable foster care children with the education and funding they need to succeed. 

Whether you want to improve the career prospects of aged-out foster youths, ensure every child in foster care gets the support they deserve, or make sure every vulnerable child has the best chance of finding a forever home, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for supporting foster care are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Supporting Foster Care Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate across America, supporting the nation’s most vulnerable children in foster care.

Many of the charities on this list focus their efforts on changing the laws surrounding foster care so children are better protected. Others focus their attention on providing essential care packages and educational support to young foster children to improve their experiences.

Yet, they all share the same goal – to ensure that every child in foster care gets the love and support they deserve.  

These Are the 10 Best Charities for Supporting Foster Care in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for supporting foster care (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Foster Care to Success: America’s College Fund For Foster Youth

Logo for Foster Care to Success
I am not a statistic

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Foster Care to Success spent 87% of their income on training and education services, and 4.8% on care package programs. The charity also has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Providing tuition grants as well as book money, living stipends and emergency funding for the unexpected expenses that could derail the most dedicated student on a tight budget.”

Foster Care to Success

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What they do:

Foster Care to Success provides support, advice, and tuition grants (up to $5,000 per year) to foster youths after they have left the care system. They also provide academic coaches, mentors, and care packages to help them get through college. Through their Reach USA program, the charity works with governments and businesses to establish statewide education grants for foster youths and adoptees. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Every year, Foster Care to Success provides $15 million in funding to college, training, and student support programs for foster youths. Since their inception, the charity has given vital support to over 50,000 students so they can enjoy college life without worrying about financial barriers. Over the years, the charity has also helped to shape public child welfare policies, including the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 and the Education Training Voucher Program.

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Foster Care to Success through their website. You can also support the charity by funding their Care Package program or by getting involved in their Sponsored Scholarship program.

2

Together We Rise: Changing Foster Care Experiences For Young Children

Logo for Together We Rise
Together We Rise - The story of Together We Rise

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Their transparency & ratings:

According to their financial report, Together We Rise Spent 92% of their income on program expenses, 6% on general expenses, and 2% on fundraising.

“To improve the lives of children in foster care, who often find themselves forgotten and neglected by the public.”

Together We Rise

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What they do:

Together We Rise works with volunteers, social workers, and other like-minded organizations to change the way children are treated in foster care. Through their Sweet Cases project, the charity provides duffle bags of essential items such as blankets, teddies, and hygiene kits, to children moving into foster care. They also provide free bicycles and skateboards so foster care children don’t miss out on the fun things in life. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, Together We Rise has impacted over 650,000 foster children across America. In 2020, the charity provided over 200,000 foster youths with essential care packages and allocated $1.2 million to support ex-foster care students in college. 

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Together We Rise through their website. You can also support the charity by fundraising or by purchasing items from their online shop.

3

Think of Us: Heal. Develop. Thrive

Logo for Think of Us
Think of Us: An Introduction

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Their transparency & ratings:

Think of Us holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator.

“Working to build a system where the millions of people impacted by foster care have the conditions they need to Heal, Develop, and Thrive.”

Think of Us

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What they do:

Think of Us runs as a Research and Development lab, as well as an advocacy organization, to transform the child welfare sector. They regularly engage with the White House Office of Public Engagement on issues that are directly related to child welfare. Through their outreach campaigns, the charity works to connect former foster youths with their state to apply for funding. They also utilize virtual support services to give young people access to vital resources and advice. 

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What they’ve achieved:

To date, Think of Us has reached more than 500,000 former foster youths that are eligible for state funding. The charity was also integral to the government allocation of $400 million to help vulnerable children. In 2021, Think of Us engaged 38,000 young people in the negotiations for changes to child welfare laws in America and supported 14,399 young people through their virtual support services. 

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Think of Us through their website. If you have lived-in experience in the foster care system you can also support the charity by signing up to become a Lived Experience Advisor

4

Children’s Defense Fund: Leave No Child Behind

Logo for Children’s Defense Fund
Introduction to the Children's Defense Fund

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Children’s Defense Fund holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To ensure every child has a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life, and a successful passage to adulthood.”

Children’s Defense Fund

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What they do:

The Children’s Defense Fund works with Congress and the Federal government to advocate for improvements to child welfare policies. They particularly focus on laws that affect poor children, children of color, and those with disabilities, in the foster care system. Through their Freedom Schools Initiative, the charity provides K-12 scholars with high-quality teaching materials and books to help them excel in their studies and develop a love of reading. 

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What they’ve achieved:

To date, the Children’s Defense Fund has supported over 150,000 children through their Freedom Schools initiative. The charity has also served more than 728,000 meals to vulnerable children, including those in foster care. In addition, the charity successfully fought for the passage of the landmark Family First Transition Act that helps to keep children safe with their families, and trained over 1,300 young people to serve as mentors in Freedom Schools.

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Children’s Defense Fund through their website. You can also support the charity by joining one of their campaigns or by donating a tribute gift

5

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: Finding Forever Homes for Children in Foster Care

Logo for Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Unadoptable is Unacceptable (US - 30s)  | Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“Every child will have a permanent home and a loving family.”

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

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What they do:

Through their signature Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption funds professionals who are dedicated to finding permanent loving homes for children waiting in foster care. Through their Adoption-Friendly Workplace scheme, the charity accredits companies that strive to make adoption a supported option for employees through financial reimbursement and paid leave packages.

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What they’ve achieved:

A rigorous 5-year national evaluation found that children referred to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program are 3 times more likely to be adopted. Over 10,000 children have now been adopted through the scheme. In 2021, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption trained over 100 new mentors and served nearly 9000 children through their child-focused recruitment model. 

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption through their website. You can also support the charity by fundraising or by purchasing items from their online shop.

6

A Sense of Home: Building Homes for Aged-out Foster Youths

Logo for A Sense of Home
The Power of A Sense of Home

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Their transparency & ratings:

A Sense of Home holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 100% Encompass rating for finance and accountability from Charity Navigator

“We believe that a home full of hope, dignity, and love is the first step in homeless prevention.”

A Sense of Home

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What they do:

A Sense of Home utilizes their network of volunteers and donated homewares to build and furnish first-time homes for youths aging out of the foster care system. They also connect youths to businesses and services to advance their career prospects and provide access to mental health services where needed.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, a Sense of Home has created 730 homes for 1,825 youths aging out of foster care. Their network of 21,900 volunteers have put in 46,400 hours and installed over 182,500 donated furniture and household items into these new homes.

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Sense of Home through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by donating unwanted furniture.

7

National Foster Youth Institute: Elevating Foster Youth Voices

Logo for National Foster Youth Institute
How Your Donation to NFYI Lifts #FosterYouthVoices

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Their transparency & ratings:

The National Foster Youth Institute holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has an 80% Encompass rating for finance and accountability from Charity Navigator

“Revolutionizing the American Foster Care System through education, action, and lifting up foster youth voices.”

National Foster Youth Institute

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What they do:

The National Foster Youth Institute works with 18-30-year-olds that have left the foster care system. Through their National Voices Program, the charity helps these young people develop their professional skills and connects them with elected representatives so they can formulate their own ideas to change child welfare policies. They also run internship programs to help aged-out foster youths develop the skills they need to find employment. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their inception, the National Foster Youth Institute has given over 750 youngsters the opportunity to share their stories and offer input directly to federal lawmakers. In 2018, the charity succeeded in the passage of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act which provides school stability for foster youths by allowing a child’s caseworker to access education records. It also enables children to remain in school even if their place of residence changes. 

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the National Foster Youth Institute through their website. You can also support the charity by hosting a fundraiser or by attending one of their education and awareness events.

8

Foster America: Improving the Lives of Children in Foster Care

Logo for Foster America
Foster America Fellow Spotlight: Adam Williams, Rhode Island DCYF

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Their transparency & ratings:

Foster America holds the Bronze Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator.

“Every child deserves a safe and loving family.”

Foster America

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What they do:

Foster America works to address staff shortages in the child welfare sector by recruiting professionals and training them to succeed in an 18-month fellowship role. They recruit people with backgrounds such as finance, marketing, technology, and design, to become innovative leaders that will update the child welfare system. The charity also collates data analytics and cutting-edge business strategies to improve the outcomes for children in foster care.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Foster America has placed trained fellows in 14 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico. In Rhode Island, the charity’s fellow Adam Williams helped the state increase the number of foster families by 25%, which has decreased the number of foster children placed in orphanage institutions by 30%

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to Foster America through their website. You can also support the charity by getting involved in their Fellowship program or by joining the Foster America team.

9

Children’s Foundation of America: Supporting America’s Most Vulnerable Children

Logo for Children’s Foundation of America
What We Do

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Their transparency & ratings:

The Children’s Foundation of America holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity also has a 100% Encompass rating for finance and accountability from Charity Navigator.

“Providing an opportunity for every person to help children heal, learn, and thrive.”

Children’s Foundation of America

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What they do:

The Children’s Foundation of America provides financial and volunteer support to high-quality programs that serve foster children across America. Through their annual campaigns, the charity also provides care packages and support to trauma-affected children who have been placed into foster care, residential treatment, shelters, crisis centers, mental health programs, or underserved schools.  

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Ways to contribute:

Since their inception, the Children’s Foundation of America has supported over 2,800 vulnerable children every year, and delivered 3,000 holiday gifts to foster children at 19 organizations. In 2021, the charity partnered with She Stories and Shoes 4 Grades to provide 147 foster youths with brand new shoes.  

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to the Children’s Foundation of America through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering or by becoming a Resource Family

10

America’s Kids Belong: Improving Foster Care in Our Communities

Logo for America’s Kids Belong
2022 Meet America's Kids Belong

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Their transparency & ratings:

America’s Kids Belong has a 97% Encompass score for finance & accountability from Charity Navigator. The charity also holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar

“Working to dramatically improve the experiences and outcomes for kids in foster care so they find and thrive in safe, loving families.”

America’s Kids Belong

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What they do:

America’s Kids Belong equips communities in 9 states to improve the lives of foster care kids, including California and Georgia. They do this through their Foster Friendly App which connects foster families with local businesses and foster-friendly faith communities to provide vital social support. Through their I Belong Project, the charity also gives foster children a platform to speak out to potential foster families. In addition, America’s Kids Belong runs Governors Campaigns to influence political leaders to create sustainable change in the American foster care system.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, America’s Kids Belong has remained dedicated to revolutionizing the foster care system and improving the lives of foster children across America. For example, in 2021, the charity produced 512 videos through their I Belong Project which resulted in 310 foster children finding loving, forever homes. In the same year, they enabled nearly 2,469 foster families to access exclusive discounts and services through the Foster-Friendly App and trained 355 trauma advocates to support vulnerable children. 

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Ways to contribute:

You can donate directly to America’s Kids Belong through their website. You can also support the charity by sharing their foster care videos on social media. If you own a business or run a faith community in one of their Foster-Friendly App states, you can also register to join their app. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for supporting foster care. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to supporting foster care – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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