This year's grant cycle focused on organizations that will direct the funds toward the need areas of elderly, homelessness, human services and hunger. These grants are not recurring, and the 2020 recipient organizations will not be eligible to apply again until 2023.
Fostering Success also offers a supply closet for students in need of school supplies or other items; provides scholarships and direct aid to students; and employs peer mentors who help other Fostering Success students succeed.
About 80% of foster youth nationally have goals of attending college, 20% enroll and only 3% graduate from a four-year institution, Ruppe said.
“When we give support with a program like Fostering Success, the retention rate of our students exceeds that of our general population,” Ruppe said. “These students outperform their peers when they are supported.”
Since 2018 the average retention rate is 80% for students in Fostering Success, exceeding the retention rate of the general student population.
Supporting former foster care youth, helps break the cycle of poverty when they get an education, Ruppe said. “People who have been in foster care are more likely to experience incarceration or homelessness than they are to earn a college degree,” she noted. “With some support we can make a big difference.”
The Packers Foundation funding and raising money through Stout Gives Back will help ensure Fostering Success continues to provide economic and emotional support to students, Ruppe said.
Many people believe foster care students get their college paid for, Ruppe said. That is not true. Even with loans, they still have unmet financial needs and most pay out-of-pocket expenses for college on their own.
“They typically don’t have savings or a safety net,” Ruppe said. “They have to pay for their living expenses and any unexpected emergencies themselves. Many of them have food insecurity. We give some of that economic support, but it’s really the relationships that matter. They have a person they can go to, to ask questions and get support.”