December 18, 2018

With the Support From New England Patriots Owner, Robert Kraft, Friends–Boston is Moving to Roxbury

Relocation to provide deeper services to 138 Achievers and grow to serve 30 percent more children with long-term professional mentoring services.


BOSTON, M.A. Friends of the Children–Boston (Friends–Boston), whose successful model of providing Boston’s highest priority children with long-term, paid professional mentors called Friends from kindergarten through high school graduation, is thrilled to announce its plan to move into Hibernian Hall in the Dudley Square community of Roxbury. The relocation and expansion, supported by New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, will allow the organization to execute its plans to grow and deepen its impact in Boston over the next three years.

The expansion: Building upon the strong track record and exceptional results from the last 14 years, Friends–Boston recently completed a three-year strategic planning process focusing on growing and deepening their impact on youth who are considered to be the highest priority in our city. At the core of their Strategic Plan is a commitment to increase the total number of Achievers served by an additional 30 percent by 2021 while deepening the impact they have on the children and youth enrolled in the 12+ year program. The new space in the historical Hibernian Hall will offer more square footage and flexibility for the planned expansion and the increased developmental programming Friends–Boston offers.

In a surprise phone call to Friends–Boston’s Executive Director, Yi-Chin Chen, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said, “Friends–Boston caught my attention because of the great work you are doing with our most vulnerable young people.” Through his personal philanthropic efforts, Mr. Kraft committed a gift of $50,000 and challenged the organization to raise an additional $50,000 to cover the costs of the relocation. “My family and I want to support non-profit organizations where we believe an investment can serve as a catalyst at the right moment. Friends–Boston’s model and planned expansion will no doubt help address the opportunity gap that exists for youth who have experienced significant trauma and living in under-resourced communities,” said Kraft.

Based on analysis, for every kindergartener selected by Friends–Boston to be matched with a Friend, they estimate that there are between eight to twelve eligible students whom they are not serving. The planned growth/expansion will support their efforts to meet this demand for high-quality, long-term and professional mentoring services for youth facing the most difficult challenges.

“Mr. Kraft’s investment is a game-changer for Friends of the Children–Boston,” said Friends of the Children–Boston Executive Director Yi-Chin Chen. “We see the dramatic effect we are making in our children’s lives and the ripple effect in the community where they live and go to school. Moving into a larger space in the heart of Roxbury further solidifies our commitment to being more than just an organization that changes the lives of individual young people. We are eager to link our proven efforts with other high impact organizations in Roxbury and contribute to the community-wide effort of building community and supporting youth and their families.”

Friends–Boston’s first expansion phase will also include expansion into two to three new Boston Public Schools in the next three years, increasing the number of youth served by 30 percent. Friends–Boston will hire additional long-term paid professional mentors, who they call Friends, and build organizational capacity for larger-scale growth over the next three years.

Stacy DellOrfano, Director of Development