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Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc.

 19 Needham Street, Suite 206
 Newton, MA 02461
[P] (617) 964-6273
[F] (617) 244-3983
www.MAREinc.org
[email protected]
Megan Dolan
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INCORPORATED: 1957
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2227431

LAST UPDATED: 09/12/2017
Organization DBA Mass. Adoption
MARE
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE) finds adoptive families for children and teens waiting in foster care.

Mission Statement

The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE) finds adoptive families for children and teens waiting in foster care.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $1,315,720.00
Projected Expense $1,314,861.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Child Services (Finding Adoptive Families for Waiting Children)
  • Family Support Services
  • Wendy's Wonderful Kids Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE) finds adoptive families for children and teens waiting in foster care.

Background Statement

 

Founded in 1957, MARE was one of the first adoption exchanges in the United States, and the only one established under private auspices with trustees from both the private and public sectors of adoption. The children we work with include those who are considered more difficult to place - teens, sibling groups, and children with emotional, physical, and intellectual challenges.

Since its inception, MARE has been at the forefront of best practices, innovative approaches, and leadership for the adoption from foster care community. We were the first exchange to use children’s photos, to have a regular television segment, and to utilize adoption parties in recruitment. Over the past 60 years, MARE has helped more than 6,500 children join nurturing, stable homes.

In the 1960s, MARE developed a pictorial newsletter, the first of its kind in the nation, to profile children waiting for adoption. This newsletter eventually became the MARE Photolisting®, which has been replicated throughout the United States and Canada. In the 1970s MARE began its long-standing collaboration with The Boston Globe in publishing “Sunday’s Child” and in 1981 Jack Williams began hosting "Wednesday's Child" on WBZ-TV, which continues through this day with rotating hosts. Today, MARE is a leader among adoption exchanges nationally with its innovative recruitment tools and Family Support Services offerings.

We have been doing this work for six decades, but have never allowed the organization to be complacent. We freely give out advice and provide leadership. MARE also consistently reviews services, progress, and results to see if there are things we could improve upon, add or subtract, or do differently. Our Executive Director has been contacted by professionals from all over the country as well from countries from New Zealand to Germany. All want to learn about tools that we have pioneered. How do you maintain your relationship with WBZ-TV? How can adoption parties work in our location? Can you provide us with materials to recruit LGBT families?

MARE’s approach to this social issue is to provide robust services to both populations involved with adoption from foster care – waiting children and prospective families. One tactic simply does not work without its complement, especially when the supply of prospective families is always outweighed by the demand and it takes a very large pool of families to find one that will be right for a specific waiting child.


Impact Statement

Top accomplishments from FY17 included placing 260 children and teens into permanent adoptive homes (a 28% increase from FY16), reformatting the organizational structure to maximize impact to children and families, and commencement of a strategic planning process which led to the adoption of the new, streamlined mission statement.

The long-term goal of our program is to find a nurturing forever family for every child in state foster care who cannot be raised by his or her birth family. Over the course of FY18, we seek to expand recruitment, retention, and matching of prospective adoptive parents with children awaiting adoption by:

  • Increasing the opportunities for the positive exposure of every child by working with DCF and its contracted partners to ensure they register their children for our events, keep photographs current, and follow up with families;
  • Increasing awareness of adoption from foster care as an option for families seeking to adopt;
  • Increasing the number and diversity of new families who inquire about adoption from foster care;
  • Increasing the variety of targeted outreach for specific prospective family audiences;
  • Increasing the number of recruited families who begin and progress through the adoption process;
  • Supporting recruited families; and
  • Getting more children into the adoptive homes they need. 

Needs Statement

1. ADOPT.

You don’t need to be perfect to be a perfect parent. Above all else, MARE needs families to adopt children and teens from foster care.

2. General Operating Funds.

The number of children in foster care is growing and with it, the demand for MARE’s services. Our caseload numbers are fluctuating between 600 and 800. To find permanency for every child and teen, we need unrestricted grants and donations, which allow MARE to be innovative and to prioritize spending where it is needed the most.

3. Permanency for Teens.

Youth aging out of foster care is a national epidemic. The statistics on the well-being of this population are abysmal. MARE continues to find innovative solutions to serve this group and is looking for targeted funds to develop pilot programs and enhance family recruitment for teens.


CEO Statement

Nearly the entirety of my 36-year career has been spent in pursuit of finding adoptive homes for children waiting in foster care. In fact, MARE was my second year field placement, resulting in a full-time position. I spent three years as a recruitment coordinator before taking the helm at our Rhode Island counterpart, the first of several leadership positions with agencies in this field. 22 years later, I returned to MARE to serve as Executive Director. I have been asked many times over the past four decades why I chose this path. There is no shortage of vulnerable populations to which one may dedicate their career in social work. But children cannot advocate for themselves – they’re without a voice unless someone speaks up for them. I worked in a day care center during high school in a poor neighborhood in the city where I grew up. Several of the children were in foster care and their situation made a huge impact on me. These were adorable, smart young children who deserved every opportunity, yet I worried about how they would fare without families. Children are vulnerable and depend on adults to keep them safe, happy, and healthy – what then would become of children who were lacking adult support? Their circumstances were not their fault yet they would suffer the effects. I believe creating a new family for a child will give him or her a real chance to be successful and productive and, most importantly, loved and supported. THAT is what drew me in, and why I’m still here.
 
-Lisa Funaro, MARE Executive Director, July 2017

Board Chair Statement



Geographic Area Served

STATEWIDE
MARE is a statewide organization that focuses on finding adoptive families for children in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. The children are generally older (6-18), sibling groups, and children with emotional, physical and/or intellectual challenges (80%). The children are living in foster homes or residential treatment facilities throughout Massachusetts. Over 90% of the potential adoptive families we serve are also in Massachusetts.

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Adoption
  2. Human Services - Foster Care
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

Yes

Programs

Child Services (Finding Adoptive Families for Waiting Children)

MARE's Child Services Department serves the 600-800 waiting children on the MARE caseload.  After a waiting child is registered by his or her social worker, we:
-Develop a profile for each child (and a related profile for each sibling group, if being recruited for together) using a strengths-based approach; 
-Design a targeted plan to recruit potential parents for child and/or sibling group;
-Execute the recruitment plan utilizing all appropriate tools (profiles, media campaigns, events, etc.); 
-Inform prospective families registered with MARE about specific waiting children;
-Review homestudies in order to match prospective parents with specific children whose needs they meet and forward the match information to the child's social worker; and
-Monitor the child/family match for success, reactivating the child onto the MARE caseload if necessary. 
Budget  $814,301.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  In FY17 (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017) MARE facilitated placement of 260 waiting children and teens into adoptive homes.  This represents a staggering 28% increase from the year prior. 
Program Long-Term Success 

The long-term goal of our program is to find a nurturing forever family for every child in state foster care who cannot be raised by his or her birth family. Over the course of FY18, we seek to expand recruitment, retention, and matching of prospective adoptive parents with children awaiting adoption by:

  • Increasing the opportunities for the positive exposure of every child by working with DCF and its contracted partners to ensure they register their children for our events, keep photographs current, and follow up with families;
  • Increasing awareness of adoption from foster care as an option for families seeking to adopt;
  • Increasing the number of new families who inquire about adoption from foster care;
  • Increasing the variety of targeted outreach for specific prospective family audiences.
  • Increasing the number of recruited families who begin and progress through the lengthy adoption process;
  • Supporting recruited families by proactively reaching out to them to make sure their progress has not been stalled for any reason;
  • Attracting more families to interactive events with children waiting to be adopted; and
  • Getting more children into the adoptive homes they need.
Program Success Monitored By 

MARE keeps extensive records of the steps along the path towards permanency - inquiries received, placements generated, children and families served, etc. The short-term indicators (events attended, inquiries, matches) are reviewed monthly.


MARE will continue to measure the success of our programs and operations by the following metrics:

ü Number of children registered.

ü Number and source of inquiries about children registered with MARE.

ü Number of families who begin the training process as a result of MARE's help.

ü Number of families who complete the process and are approved to adopt.

ü Number of waiting children placed with adoptive families, and which services led to that match.

Examples of Program Success 



Family Support Services

Family Support Services works with families from an initial phone call or inquiry through legalization of an adoption from foster care.

MARE assists and supports by:

-Staffing an information and referral hotline;
-Providing individualized follow up with all families who inquire about adoption from foster care, and referring families to local agencies;
-Providing education on topics of interest via webinars, panels, social media, and newsletters;
-Hosting networking events for families at varying stages in the adoption process;
-Registering families’ homestudies and providing customized matching to identify children across the state as potential matches;
-Connecting families with providers of post-placement and post-adoption services;
-Working with experienced adoptive families to help spread the word about adoption from foster care; and
-Pairing experienced families with those in process for support and mentorship.
Budget  $143,415.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

FY17 statistics will be available at the beginning of October 2017.

Program Long-Term Success 

Over the course of FY18, we seek to expand recruitment, retention, and matching of prospective adoptive parents with children awaiting adoption by:

-Increasing the opportunities for the positive exposure of every child by working with DCF and its contracted partners to ensure they register their children for our events, keep photographs current, and follow up with families;
-Increasing awareness of adoption from foster care as an option for families seeking to adopt;
-Increasing the number of new families who inquire about adoption from foster care;
-Increasing the variety of targeted outreach for specific prospective family audiences;
-Increasing the number of recruited families who begin and progress through the lengthy adoption process;
-Supporting recruited families by proactively reaching out to them;
-Attracting more families to interactive events with waiting children; and
-Getting more children into the adoptive homes they need.
Program Success Monitored By 

MARE keeps extensive records of the steps along the path towards permanency - inquiries received, placements generated, children and families served, etc. The short-term indicators (events attended, inquiries, matches) are reviewed monthly.

MARE will continue to measure the success of our programs and operations by the following metrics:

ü Number of children registered.

ü Number and source of inquiries about children registered with MARE.

ü Number of families who begin the training process as a result of MARE's help.

ü Number of families who complete the process and are approved to adopt.

ü Number of waiting children placed with adoptive families, and which services led to that match.

Examples of Program Success  FY17 success story will be available in October.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids Program

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a non-profit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of the more than 100,000 children in North America’s foster care systems. Wendy's Wonderful Kids is a signature program of the Foundation.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters employ aggressive and proven  child-focused recruitment tactics for a select caseload of some of the youth who have been waiting the longest for adoption. These methods  involve case record review, regular meetings with children, assessment, adoption preparation, network building and the creation of recruitment plans for finding families for children who are waiting in foster care to be adopted.

MARE is proud to be the Massachusetts Wendy's Wonderful Kids partner of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, receiving grants for two Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, one serving Western Massachusetts and one serving the greater Boston area.

Budget  $151,750.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success  All children on the Wendy's Wonderful Kids caseload will know that they have an advocate working with them to find the permanent families they need. They will have the opportunity to take an active role in finding a family, and will have the ongoing support of their Wendy's Wonderful Kids Recruiter.
Program Long-Term Success  More of the hardest-to-place children in foster care will find the permanent family life that every child needs and deserves.
Program Success Monitored By  The Wendy's Wonderful Kids program is monitored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, through regular meetings, progress reports, and detailed assessments.The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption uses ChildTrends to monitor and track the effectiveness of the Wendy's Wonderful Kids program.
Examples of Program Success  FY17 success story coming in October.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Lisa Funaro
CEO Term Start June 2006
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Ms. Funaro has over 25 years experience in the adoption field. She began her career as an intern and then Recruitment Coordinator at MARE in the 1980s. Before returning to MARE as Executive Director in 2006, she served as executive director of the Ocean State Adoption Resource Exchange, now Adoption Rhode Island. She was also director of adoption for Cambridge Family & Children’s Services and directed adoption programs for Act of Love Adoptions and Boston Children’s Services. Ms. Funaro is ultimately responsible for all of MARE’s programs, services, budgets, and equipment, and oversees a staff of 13, 11 in Boston and 2 in Springfield. She has been a resource for adoption professionals worldwide as child welfare professionals from England, Australia, Canada, Russia, Romania, Florida, Ohio and Maine have sought out our Executive Director for guidance on our effective tools and systems for improving outcomes and permanency for youth in state care. She was honored as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, after being nominated by Congressman Joe Kennedy III.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Ms. Carolyn Smith 1986 June 2006

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Ms. Bridget Chiaruttini Associate Director

Bridget Chiaruttini has over 12 years of experience in the adoption field. Before joining the MARE staff, she was the clinical coordinator and then program director for a Boston adoption and foster care program. Ms. Chiaruttini was first hired at MARE to manage all of MARE's child recruitment and family support programs and did numerous presentations on such topics as working with LGBT children and families, guiding youth and families towards permanency and best practice issues. Since September 2016, she has assumed the Associate Director position and oversees the day-to-day operations of the agency’s child recruitment, family support, and communication and public relations functions.

Ms. Megan Dolan Esq. Director of Development

Megan Dolan joined MARE as Director of Development in October of 2016 and holds primary responsibility for fundraising activities. She has a BA from Boston College and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. After spending more than 8 years as a practicing attorney, Megan moved into non-legal management roles for nonprofit and governmental organizations including serving as the Network Coordinator for the City of Boston Network to End Homelessness. In her prior role as Development & Communications Manager for The Possible Project, a Cambridge nonprofit serving at-risk high school students, Megan developed and rolled-out a multi-faceted system of fundraising and crafted all the organization’s written and electronic collaterals.

Mr. Joe Sandagato Director of PR & Communications

Joseph Sandagato joined MARE in the fall of 2015 specifically to work on a grant implemented to increase awareness about the need for foster and adoptive parents across Massachusetts. He was known to the agency as a long-time volunteer and the father to seven children, all of whom were adopted from state foster care. Joseph brought to MARE over twenty-years of professional skills acquired while working in corporate communications, public relations and community development. In September of 2016, Joseph assumed the role of Director Communications and Public Relations. He is responsible for managing broad, organization-wide communications, media engagement and supporting staff specific communications needs.

Ms. Diane Tomaz Director of Family Support Services

Prior to her arrival at MARE in 2010, Diane Tomaz taught Kindergarten, ESL to adult learners, and Spanish and English literature to high school students. In her current role as Director of Family Support Services at MARE, she is responsible for developing and implementing services to recruit, retain and support prospective adoptive families from their first contact with MARE to the placement of a child in their home. She is also the adoptive parent of two boys.

Ms. Victoria Tucker Child Services Coordinator

Victoria Tucker has worked in the adoption field for the past eight years. Before joining MARE, Victoria worked at an international adoption agency completing homestudies and post-placement visits as well as focusing on family recruitment for children with medical needs living in other countries. Victoria was hired by MARE in 2013 initially as a Child Service Coordinator, recruiting for specific children in the northern region of Massachusetts and handling all print media submissions and video snapshots. Since September 2016 she has taken on the role of Child Service Coordinator Supervisor where she supervises child services staff in addition to continuing to recruit for children in the northern region of Massachusetts.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
Wednesday's Child Award Adoption Exchange Association 2012

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) --
Associated Grant Makers --
Child Welfare League - Accredited Member --
Children’s League of Massachusetts --
North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

MARE collaborates extensively with the Mass. Department of Children & Families, and private adoption agencies throughout the state, including The Home for Little Wanderers, MSPCC, and Cambridge Family & Children's Service. We partner with a variety of organizations to host and publicize our Heart Gallery, adoption parties and informational events, including Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and colleges; with the Massachusetts Trial Courts to coordinate National Adoption Day ceremonies; and with media outlets (WBZ, Boston Sunday Globe, etc.) to raise awareness of adoption from foster care. 

We are also part of a 14-year collaboration with Jordan’s Furniture  - The Jordan's Initiative - which hosts a variety of Adoption Parties, provides extensive advertising and public awareness support for these events, and hosts the Heart Gallery photography exhibit of waiting children in its stores. Along with DCF management, we meet regularly with Jordan’s leadership to plan new initiatives to recruit more foster and adoptive families and to bring a business approach to the non-profit adoption and foster care collaborators.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 13
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 150
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 62%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 11
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan No
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Bi-Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Anthony Jordan
Board Chair Company Affiliation EY
Board Chair Term May 2016 - May 2018
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Tracey Aronson WilmerHale Voting
Mr. Stephen Briggs KPMG Voting
Mr. Paul Deletetsky W.B. Mason Voting
Ms. Lisa K. Funaro Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) Voting
Mr. Jamie Grant Year Up Voting
Ms. Jane Hart retired Voting
Mr. Anthony Jordan StoneTurn Group Voting
Mr. Jeffrey Kruck New Directions Voting
Mr. Tony LaCasse New England Aquarium Voting
Ms. Dana Lehman UnCommon Schools --
Ms. Karen Litchfield MSPCC, Retired Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 10
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 5
Male: 6
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 9
Board Meeting Attendance % 85%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Human Resources / Personnel
  • Program / Program Planning

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

While we do not have any additional Boards, we do have Constituents as full voting members of our Board of Directors. Five of our 11 Board Members are adoptive parents and one was adopted from foster care.

Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Projected Income $1,315,720.00
Projected Expense $1,314,861.00
Form 990s

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

2008 990

Audit Documents

2016 Audit

2015 Audit

2014 Audit

2013 Audit

2012 Audit

2011 Audit

2010 Audit

2009 Audit

2008 Audit

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $1,485,590 $1,368,644 $1,231,390
Total Expenses $1,433,590 $1,310,217 $1,146,805

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $735,468 $735,468 $579,063
    Federal -- -- --
    State $735,468 $735,468 $579,063
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $453,592 $383,547 $407,296
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $83,170 $78,527 $81,098
Revenue In-Kind $213,360 $171,102 $163,933
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $1,207,527 $1,115,939 $984,007
Administration Expense $132,194 $100,432 $87,710
Fundraising Expense $93,869 $93,846 $75,088
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.04 1.04 1.07
Program Expense/Total Expenses 84% 85% 86%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 7% 8% 7%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $434,863 $400,861 $323,203
Current Assets $426,957 $390,021 $312,108
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $51,954 $69,952 $50,721
Total Net Assets $382,909 $330,909 $272,482

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 4.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 8.22 5.58 6.15

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the organization's audited financials. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Right this moment, there are more than 9,000 children in the foster care system in Massachusetts. These children have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and to prevent future harm. Some will be reunited with their birth parents; others will be adopted by family members or close friends.

800 of them have nowhere to go.

These children face the prospect of growing up in foster care, eventually aging out of the system with no supports. Most children enter foster care with medical, mental health, and/or developmental needs. All children in foster care have experienced trauma of some type, which can affect brain development and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional and behavioral challenges, and physical and/or cognitive disabilities. Additionally, there are many children in foster care with disabilities ranging from autism to cerebral palsy. The stress and instability of life in foster care take an additional physical and psychological toll. Some children live in as many as 12-15 homes before they turn 18.

A comprehensive study by Chapin Hall at University of Chicago published in 2011 followed youth who aged out of the foster system through age 26. About 80% had a high school diploma or GED, but only 11% of the females and 5% of males held even an Associate's Degree. Fewer than half were employed, and most who had a job were not earning a living wage. 50% experienced at least one economic hardship and 25% experienced food insecurity in the prior year, while 66% of females and 40% of males had received food stamps. A large proportion was or had been incarcerated (42% for females, 74% for males). 20% of females experienced sexual violence, as did 17% of males.

Every year, about 600 Massachusetts teenagers age out of foster care at 18 without the permanent, caring relationships that can help them succeed as adults. A 2008 Boston Foundation report found that young adults who age out of state foster care are far more likely to become teenage parents, be unemployed, incarcerated or involved in the criminal justice system, or abuse alcohol or drugs. Other studies have found that more than half of the nation's young adult homeless population had been in foster care. While services and supports are available, youth who have experienced the trauma of neglect or abuse, removal from their birth family, and the instability of foster care are ill-equipped to navigate the systems to reach these services. Society cannot provide what a family could give them. Their best option is to find a permanent family before aging out.

Recently, there has been an increase both locally and nationally in the number of children living in foster care. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data released by the federal government, show a continued increase in the numbers for FY15 (the latest year for which statistics are available) with 428,000 children in foster care, an increase from 414,000 the year prior. A factor leading to this increase that has been cited in numerous reports is the uptick in opioid abuse.

Permanency -- a lifelong familial connection -- is vital to avoid disparities in income, education, employment, and health. MARE addresses this by providing waiting children with opportunities to come to the attention of potential adoptive parents in positive and creative ways; and recruiting, supporting, and advocating for families to advance them toward successful adoptions.

 


2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

What We Do

-Develop a profile for each of the children on our caseload in need of adoption;
-Design a targeted plan to recruit potential parents for each waiting child;
-Educate adults about the need for adoptive families, and the adoption process, supports, and benefits;
-Inform prospective families about specific waiting children;
-Track and support prospective families throughout the adoption process;
-Match prospective parents with specific children awaiting adoption whose needs they meet; and
-Move children from temporary foster care to permanent family life.

How We Do It

Child Registration and Matching. Our Child Services Coordinators register waiting children with MARE in collaboration with their social workers, and then work to match them with families that have registered with our organization.

Child-Specific Media Campaigns. Individual waiting children or sibling groups are featured in media campaigns using a strengths-based model to appeal to potential adoptive parents for the featured child(ren) and to promote adoption from foster care and MARE to a wide audience.

Adoption Parties/ Informational Events. An adoption party is an interactive event that brings together waiting children and prospective adoptive families in a low-pressure atmosphere. Adoption parties are our most successful recruitment tool and were responsible for 27% of all placements last year. MARE also hosts matching nights where prospective families can have in-depth conversation with social workers about waiting children on their caseloads.

Heart Gallery Portrait Exhibit. The Heart Gallery is our photography display featuring waiting children. It is our most forward-facing recruitment tool as it can be showcased in a multitude of public spaces in any area of the state. We are in the process of moving to a digital format to expand the number of galleries and provide an interactive experience that will promote individual waiting children or sibling groups and provide a mechanism for real-time inquiries from prospective adoptive families.

MARE Web Services. Our extensive Web Services allow prospective adoptive families to view photos, profiles, and videos of waiting children from all over the state. Families can also search our database to find and inquire about children who might be a good fit for their family.

Intensive Recruitment Services. Through a grant from The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, MARE has two Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiters that provide intensive recruitment services for children who have been waiting for adoptive families the longest. This process includes case record review, regular meetings with children, assessment, recruitment plan creation, and adoption preparation.

Family Support Services. This multi-faceted program provides support and follow-through for the thousands of families who make the initial call to learn about adoption. Our staff host Family Fun Day events to support families with recently placed children, informational family recruitment events, and in-person and virtual forums for families to connect, network, and share resources. The Friend of the Family program provides experienced mentors who are matched with families at any stage of the adoption process from initially exploring the ideas, to being in the waiting period after being home studied, matched, or newly placed with a child.

Family Outreach. Informational events that allow in-depth presentations and discussion among prospective adoptive parents are held regularly.

Counseling and Referral. We provide individuals and families free private counseling about adoption. The service is reached via MARE's local and toll-free phone numbers, and our website.

Weekend Family Connections. In 2018 MARE is planning to pilot a permanency initiative that provides family and community resources to teens close to aging out in order to increase the likelihood of adoption.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Our team of 16 features social workers and media specialists, in addition to administrative and executive staff. Programming is handled by our Child Services and Family Support Services Departments. MARE is the bridge between children in the care of the Massachusetts Department of Children & Families (DCF) and its contracted agencies, and families interested in adoption.

Two members of MARE’s staff and seven members of the Board are adoptive parents, while one is an adoptee. We have representatives from the Latino, LGBTQ, and African-American communities. The Executive Director and Associate Director oversee four departments: Child Services, Family Suport Services, PR & Communications, and Development.

Lisa Funaro has over 30 years experience in the adoption field. She earned her Bachelors from Tufts University, and an MSW from Boston University. She began her career as an intern and then recruitment coordinator at MARE in the 1980s. Before returning to MARE as Executive Director in 2006, she served as Director of the Ocean State Adoption Resource Exchange, now Adoption Rhode Island. She was also Director of Adoption for Cambridge Family & Children’s Service and directed adoption programs for Act of Love Adoptions and Boston Children’s Services. Lisa was nominated by Congressman Joseph Kennedy III and named a 2013 Angels in Adoption honoree by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Bridget Chiaruttini has over 12 years of experience in the adoption field. Before joining the MARE staff, she was the clinical coordinator and then program director for a Boston adoption and foster care program. She previously managed all of MARE's child recruitment and family support programs and did numerous presentations on such topics as working with LGBT children and families, guiding youth and families towards permanency, and best practice issues. Since September 2016, she has assumed the Associate Director position and oversees the day-to-day operations.


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

We consider every child who gains a permanent home a success. Our Child Services Coordinators meet monthly to review progress, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and plan new recruitment events and services. MARE keeps extensive records of the steps along the path towards permanency - inquiries received, placements generated, children and families served, etc. The short-term indicators (events attended, inquiries, matches) are reviewed monthly. We are able to analyze our results to determine which services are most effective in finding homes for these children, such as how many children were placed because of an Adoption Party (FY16, 27%), or because of our on-line matching program (FY16, 15%)

 
We also conduct an annual review of all our events, programs, and activities to prepare a statistical report on MARE’s services. This report serves as a guide for developing new programs that better meet the needs of waiting children and families, and the social workers serving them, and is shared and reviewed in conjunction with DCF and its contracting agencies. The FY16 Report became available in early November of this year.

In addition to the evaluative methods described above, MARE strives to be at the forefront of promoting more and better evidence-based methods throughout the adoption for foster care community. Research on the topic of placing children from foster care into permanent adoptive homes is not prevalent. There is a limited amount that has been done through AdoptUsKids, a program of the Children’s Bureau (part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services) that MARE uses to evaluate the success of various recruitment strategies used in finding families for specific children. Though the research is new and small in nature, MARE is a part of coalition of several national groups working toward greater evidence-based approaches.  

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 MARE will continue to measure the success of our programs and operations by the following metrics.

-Number of children registered.

-Number and source of inquiries about children registered with MARE.

-Number of families who begin the training process as a result of MARE's help.

-Number of families who complete the process and are approved to adopt.

-Number of waiting children placed with adoptive families, and which services led to that match.


5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Since 1957, MARE has been a leader in innovative recruitment of families for children in foster care. We have built, strengthened, and refined our successful programs over six decades. MARE has developed deep, fruitful relationships with a variety of public and private organizations to ensure that we tap every available resource to find each child a permanent, loving home.