We call the children and youth we serve Achievers to demonstrate our belief in their potential to thrive!
Developed in Portland, Ore., in 1993, the Friends of the Children model was built around a simple solution: enter the lives of children who face the toughest challenges early, and provide them with a dedicated, caring adult who stays by their side no matter what. Friends of the Children–Boston was founded in 2004 as an independent 501(c)(3), using the national model. We were the first organization established in Boston by the GreenLight Fund, a venture philanthropy firm that brings innovative nonprofits from around the nation to Boston. Our proven model is in multiple cities and growing quickly.
Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.
Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.
Put Children First
We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.
Build Relationships on Love
We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful and meaningful.
Commit to Empowerment
We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.
Pursue Goals Relentlessly
We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.
We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic and institutional barriers.
Based on the success of the Portland program, Friends of the Children–Boston (Friends–Boston) was founded in 2004 as the first organization established by the GreenLight Fund.
Co-founded by John Simon and Margaret Hall, the GreenLight Fund is a venture philanthropy firm that identifies innovative nonprofits from around the nation and provides seed funding to bring them to Boston. After vetting hundreds of organizations to select as its very first investee, the GreenLight Fund selected a high impact mentoring organization named Friends of the Children.
Under the leadership and vision of John Simon and Margaret Hall, in 2004, Friends–Boston welcomed its first class of 16 Achievers; in 2016 and 2017, they graduated from high school, and five are now in college!
A dedicated champion and supporter of Friends–Boston ever since, John still serves on the Board of Directors. We call the children we serve Achievers to demonstrate our belief in their potential to succeed.
Unique to our work is our focus on serving the families of our achievers; we reach over 500 siblings and caregivers through our family engagement efforts. Our lifetime retention rate for Achievers is 75 percent!
Today, Friends–Boston serves 124 children in over 60 schools throughout Boston, and we honored to now have program graduates!
Friends of the Children was established in 1993 by entrepreneur Duncan Campbell and his wife, Cindy Campbell, in Portland, Ore. The Campbells purchased a school building in the same Northeast Portland neighborhood where Duncan experienced a challenging childhood. After finding business success, Duncan wanted to help kids who grew up in an environment like his. In 1992, the Campbell Institute for Children, conducted extensive research to determine the most effective program model to help young children overcome adversity and realize their inherent resilience and potential. The research clearly indicated that the strongest protective factor a child can have is a long-term, nurturing relationship with a consistent and caring adult.
Friends of the Children began with just three salaried, professional mentors called Friends and 24 children. Friends of the Children has grown to employ hundreds of Friends who serve thousands of children across the nation. You can view the full list of locations on our national website.