Arizona Foster Youth Education Advocates Awarded $500,000 Grant

Education advocacy group
FosterEd Arizona has been awarded a $500,000 grant from a local foundation to continue its work on improving educational outcomes for youth in foster care across the state.

Launched in 2014 in Pima County as a pilot program of the Oakland, California-based National Center for Youth Law, FosterEd Arizona works with caregivers, school districts, the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Department of Child Safety to make sure students in foster care have the resources they need to succeed in school.

According to FosterEd, as of the 2012-2013 school year, only one-third of Arizona foster youth who enrolled in 12th grade went on to graduate high school that year.

The $500,000 grant from The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation of Phoenix may provide FosterEd Arizona with the funds it needs to grow beyond the two major metropolitan areas of Maricopa (Phoenix) and Pima (Tucson) counties. The grant will allow FosterEd Arizona to apply for up to $500,000 in state matching funds from its Foster Youth Education Success Fund.

“The funding … combined with the state match, will allow us to support many more foster children,” said FosterEd Arizona’s Director Molly Dunn, in a statement announcing the grant. “It will also enable us to expand our efforts to more students, develop youth leadership councils and increase our volunteer capacity.”

As of October 2017, FosterEd Arizona had reached 541 youth in foster care.

Bob Parsons is the founder of web services company The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, established in 2012, gave away $23 million in grants in 2017. Forty-eight percent of those dollars went to programs in Arizona, and $5.6 million were given to youth-serving organizations.

“I was a very distracted student who failed the 5th grade and almost didn’t graduate high school, so I can only imagine how challenging it must be for foster children to stay focused on school work while dealing with the additional stresses they face in their personal lives,” Parsons said in a press release.

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