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Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc.

 19 Needham Street, Suite 206
 Newton, MA 02461
[P] (617) 964-6273 x 111
[F] --
www.MAREinc.org
[email protected]
Megan Dolan
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INCORPORATED: 1957
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2227431

LAST UPDATED: 12/06/2018
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, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $1,550,805.00
Projected Expense $1,566,266.00

ProgramsMORE »

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

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

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

The Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, Inc. (MARE) finds adoptive homes for children and teens in foster care. MARE works with the Commonwealth’s Department of Children & Families and its contracted agencies to register each child that cannot be reunited with his or her birth family and recruit families that meet an individual child’s particular needs.

MARE is the bridge between children in the custody of the Department of Children & Families (DCF), also known as foster care, and families interested in adoption. We recruit, educate, support, and advocate for families throughout the adoption process while targeting recruitment efforts to attract potential parents for specific waiting children. Over the past 61 years, MARE has helped more than 6,600 children join nurturing, stable homes through its history of innovative programming.

Right this moment, there are 9,600 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. Many have nowhere to go. As of the start of this fiscal year, 1,136 kids in Massachusetts foster care have a goal of adoption but no family member or identified resource that has come forward to offer permanency. These are the children MARE serves.

Annually, 600 Massachusetts teenagers age out of foster care at 18 without the permanent, caring relationships that can help them succeed as adults. Youth who do not find permanent families and age out of the system are far more likely to experience drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, unemployment, and incarceration. 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.


Impact Statement

MARE is necessary.

Without MARE, many of the children and teens in foster care with a goal of adoption would age out before finding a family OR would wait much longer before being placed into an adoptive home. During our most recently completed fiscal year, ending on June 30, 2018, MARE placed a record 291 children into adoptive homes, a 12% increase over the previous year and a 44% increase compared to two years prior. FY18 also saw MARE serve nearly 4,000 families interested in adoption.

MARE’s long-term goal 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 FY19, 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 social workers 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 reaching out to them to make sure their progress has not been stalled; and
  • Getting more children into the adoptive homes they need.

During FY18, MARE served a total of 928 children and 3,918 families. Of all the children registered with MARE at some point during FY18, 368 were placed into pre-adoptive homes. 79% of all of those placements were a result of MARE’s services (up from 70% over the prior 2 years). In FY18, 160 (55% compared to 52% in FY17) of children placed through MARE services were placed across region/state or agency.


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 is steadily increasing and we estimate that we will serve more than 1,000 children in FY19, the first time MARE has hit that benchmark. 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 the Hardest to Place - supporting Weekend Family Connections (need is $125,000 for FY19; $150,000 for FY20).

Recruiting permanent adoptive families for children and teens waiting in foster care is a challenging endeavor. Perhaps the greatest test is presented by children aged 10 and older living in group residential settings. This population is most at risk of aging out of care at 18 without being adopted. MARE is launching a 2-year pilot program aimed at finding permanency for these children. Weekend Family Connections is based upon the theory that by exposing a waiting child to a new and broad community of adults, a potential permanent resource is most likely to develop. Similar programs in Los Angeles and D.C. have shown tremendous success.


CEO Statement

Nearly the entirety of my 37-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

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 group care facilities throughout 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)

The children who are registered with MARE are those who have a goal of adoption and for whom no adoptive resource (family member or friend) has been identified. We often describe our caseload as “including those considered more difficult to place - sibling groups, teens, and children with special needs.” The truth is there are categories within categories within categories when looking at the waiting children we serve. It is not simple to find the right family for any child, but there are easily identifiable groups for which it is difficult, more difficult, extremely difficult, etc. Those who fall into the latter category are the ones who can linger for years in the system without finding a family; they are most at risk of aging out of the system at 18.

With the influx of children into foster care in Massachusetts and the correlating rise in MARE’s caseload, it could be tempting to focus energy on moving all the easiest placements through. But that is not what we’re doing. The organization was founded specifically to serve the hardest to place children, thus we are making a coordinated, enhanced effort to finding adoptive homes for those who have been waiting the longest, those who have not had inquiries, and those who have needs that drastically narrow the number of eligible families.

Children are registered with MARE by their adoption worker from DCF or one of its contracted agencies. Each waiting child is assigned to one of MARE’s Child Services Coordinators (CSCs) based upon geographic region. The CSC crafts a recruitment plan to find a permanent family for the child utilizing an array of tools including multimedia profiles, news campaigns, events, and targeted community outreach. The CSC also responds to inquiries from interested families resulting from these efforts. CSCs review homestudies of families registered with MARE or that have submitted them as part of an inquiry. Families who meet the criteria needed for a specific child are forwarded to the child’s adoption worker, who makes final decisions.

# kids in care / # needing adoptive families at start of fiscal year

  • FY19: 9,600/ 1,136
  • FY18: 9,600/ 850
  • FY17: 8,700/ 800
  • FY16: 7,000/ 600
Budget  $833,471.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success 

MARE was able to keep pace with the increase in child registrations (13%) with a similar increase in child placements (12%). To address the high caseloads, the decision was made to bring back the Director of Child Services position to oversee 4 Child Service Coordinators (CSCs), a change which occurred at the start of FY19. CSCs increased work in the field – meeting more frequently face-to-face with adoption workers. The new MARE website and related organizational database launched in February, speeding up the registration process and providing the opportunity for all licensed families to see information on legal risk children (who comprise the bulk of waiting children).

In FY18 MARE facilitated placement of 291 waiting children and teens into adoptive homes. This represents a staggering 44% increase over the previous two years.

Total number of children served during fiscal year

  • FY18: 928
  • FY17: 922
  • FY16: 996

Total Number of New Child Registrations

  • FY18: 488 (13% increase from FY’17)
  • FY17: 431
  • FY16: 399

Total Number of MARE-Assisted Child Placements

  • FY18: 291 (12% increase from FY17)
  • FY17: 260
  • FY16: 203

Placements of All Children Registered with MARE by any source

  • FY18: 368 (2% decrease from FY17)
  • FY17: 376
  • FY16: 290

Percentage of Total Placements which were MARE-assisted

  • FY18: 79%
  • FY17: 69%
  • FY16: 70%
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 FY19, 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:

  • 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.
Examples of Program Success 

Recruiting for Alijah – Persistence Pays Off

Registered with MARE in February 2014, Alijah was then a happy and sweet 6 year old boy with global developmental delays and a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. His biggest love was the characters from Kung-Fu Panda. Recruitment for Alijah was dependent on showcasing his personality through words, photos, and video as adoption parties were not a realistic option for him. Over 4 years, MARE staff facilitated 19 media campaigns which resulted in just 10 total inquiries. CSCs looked for internal matches every few months and utilized national databases as well.

In June of 2017, the Maxwell Family from New York was featured in an Adopt US Kids newsletter and at the same time came up when the CSC ran matches for Alijah. The Maxwell family had actually inquired about Alijah after seeing his profile on the MARE website back in 2014, but had not followed up when contacted by MARE. An update made to their MARE profile led to the new match. MARE reached out to the family’s social worker and found out the family was interested. A disclosure meeting occurred in March and then a slow transition took place over the Spring/Summer. Alijah moved into his new home (with 2 brothers, 1 sister, and a cat) in October. Sharing a happy photo of Alijah, his mom said, “I cannot believe how blessed we are to wake up and see this beautiful smile every day!”


Family Support Services

Getting Families to the Finish Line

Family Support Services provides information, support, and resources for families who want to learn about adoption from foster care as well as those families who are already in-process. Launched by MARE in 2008, Family Support was initially focused on helping families move from their first call or email to becoming a licensed waiting family. Now, with a dedicated Communications Department that handles many of the outreach functions, Family Support can concentrate on ensuring that families who begin the process make it through to a successful adoption.

Families come to MARE by inquiring about adoption in general or about a specific child for whom MARE is recruiting. Family Support Services fields informational requests and creates records for each new family so that MARE can track their progress and follow up to offer assistance. Once families are licensed, MARE registers their homestudy for consideration by CSCs when they are recruiting families for specific children. Throughout this entire process, and continuing after a family is matched and has a child placed in their home, the Family Support Services Team is providing guidance and support through events, mentorship, support groups, education, and advocacy.

In FY18, MARE served 3,918 families through:

  • Staffing an information and referral hotline;
  • Providing individualized follow up with families and referring families to agencies in their area;
  • Providing education to prospective families via webinars, panels, social media, a blog, and newsletters;
  • Hosting networking events for families at varying stages in the adoption process;
  • Registering waiting 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 families in process for support and mentorship.
Budget  $168,821.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success 

In FY18, Family Support Services worked with 3,918 families. Here are some outcomes for this department:

Number of New Family Records Created:

  • FY18: 1,846 (14% increase from FY17)
  • FY17: 1,615
  • FY16: 1,535

Number of Family Contacts by Family Support Staff:

  • FY18: 2,452 (37% increase from FY17)
  • FY17: 1,793
  • FY16: 1,992

Total Number of new Mentor/Mentee Relationships created:

  • FY18: 51
  • FY17: 34
  • FY16: 14

MARE has long partnered with various religious institutions in promotion of adoption from foster care, both informally and as part of larger initiatives (such as the federal One Church, One Child program in the 1990s). During FY18, the groundwork was laid for a more comprehensive faith-based partnership program that focuses on making strong connections with nonprofit agencies and leaders in faith-based communities throughout Massachusetts. Led by Family Support Coordinator Ricardo Franco, Ph.D. Divinity, outreach and planning culminated in the creation of the Faith-Based Collaborative Group, which began meeting monthly in March 2018. The group is comprised of 12-15 people from MARE, DCF, and nonprofits, including The Forgotten Initiative, Fostering Hope, and Emmanuel Gospel Center. Its purpose is to discuss strategic ways to bring foster care/adoption into the theological conversation and ministry practice in faith communities.

Program Long-Term Success 

Over the course of FY19, 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:

  • 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.
Examples of Program Success 

Mentor/Mentee Program

Joe and Jim H. adopted their 2 sons from foster care in 2014. They have graciously volunteered their time on a number of occasions to speak with new families at events or on panels, as well as served as a mentor family for the past several years. In February 2018, they were paired up with a new family – single dad Joey C.

Joey was hoping to adopt a boy between 5 and 10, and ended up with 11 and 12-year old brothers! His family worker was initially not sure he could handle pre-teens, due to what she referred to as his gentle, sweet, parenting approach and lack of experience with limit setting. However, Joey has a lot of close family support and felt he would be up for the task with some guidance. Diane Tomaz, Director of Family Support Services knew that the H Family would be the perfect mentor family to help due to the similar ages of the boys and the parenting style she had observed on the many occasions the H Family came to MARE events. When asked what keeps them coming back, Joe shared, "My boys, Jim, and I love to help out in any way possible. We enjoy mentoring, volunteering, and donating our time at MARE events to give back to the organization that helped us form our family."


Weekend Family Connections

Recruiting permanent adoptive families for children and teens waiting in foster care is a challenging endeavor. Perhaps the greatest test is presented by children aged 10 and older living in group residential settings. Children are usually placed in these locations due to treatment or behavioral needs. For these young people, many of the traditional recruitment strategies have not been successful. Research has shown that, for this particular population of waiting children, the most successful recruitment is often amongst the people they already know, including previous and present personal connections. Yet for many children in residential care, their natural networks have been depleted and community involvement is limited.

Weekend Family Connections is based upon the theory that by exposing a waiting child to a new and broad community of adults, a potential permanent resource is most likely to develop. Similar models have shown tremendous success. The Weekend Family Connections (WFC) model provides youth with a weekend host family that will introduce him or her to their network and community and provide support in building lasting relationships.

The children invited to participate in Weekend Family Connections must all be referred by an adoption worker with DCF. Additionally, all WFC youth participants must:

  • Have a goal of adoption and be registered with MARE for adoption recruitment;
  • Presently live in residential care;
  • Be over the age of 10;
  • Have an interest in this program model; and
  • Display a motivation to move toward a permanent family or have been flagged by an adoption worker as one who would benefit from exposure to family life.

Potential host families will be recruited primarily from the following groups: families not ready to commit to adoption that may have the time and interest in weekend hosting; experienced adoptive families (with children still in the home or empty nesters); and approved adoptive families waiting for a match who may be appropriate for an older child in need of a long and gradual transition. The requirements for participating as a host family will be rigorous and follow DCF guidelines. Additionally, families will be asked to commit to one year in the program.

Budget  $125,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Adoption
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

The long-term intended outcome of this program is to identify a permanent adoptive family for each child engaged in the program. In efforts towards this goal, participation in the program will also provide the opportunity to:

  1. Build a network of adults and community organizations with which the child has contact and identify adult lifelong connections. This could include the host family’s personal network of family and friends, neighbors, co-workers, faith community, school, etc. While adoption remains the ultimate goal, identifying adults who would commit to guardianship or a lifelong non-legal relationship would also be measured positive outcomes.
  2. Increase community living skills for children in institutional care through exposure to family life. Development of such skills will instill confidence about the likelihood of success in a family setting. Additionally, potential adoptive families may be more likely to consider parenting a child who has a demonstrated record of success in a family setting. This includes both traditional independent living skills (e.g. cooking a meal, doing laundry) in addition to relationship building, attachment skills, network building, and participation in social/recreational activities.
  3. Increase children’s willingness to consider adoption as a permanent plan. Many older youth in group care settings have endured repeated losses and disappointments, and express reluctance to take the emotional risk inherent in being open to adoption. Through positive experience in a family setting, children may begin to recognize some of the benefits of family membership, and may thus become more open to the adoption process.
  4. Provide a family with an additional opportunity to help a child. This program is a way for invested families who may not feel ready to commit to adoption to remain engaged in preventing the aging out of youth in care, through supporting a specific child in need.
  5. Create a new recruitment tool to find families for registered children, particularly older children in residential care.
Program Long-Term Success  Every youth participant will find permanency through adoption before aging out of care.
Program Success Monitored By 

At a minimum, the WFC Program Coordinator will utilize the following metrics and methods:

  • Interviews with all WFC Host Families;
  • Interviews with all participant youth;
  • Surveys of DCF and CFCS managers, all involved adoption workers, treatment team members, and relevant residential facility staff;
  • Surveys of any adult resources produced through visits;
  • Length of time for youth participant recruitment;
  • Length of time for WFC Host Family recruitment;
  • Length of time for WFC Host Family training;
  • Number, duration, and type of visits for participant youth;
  • Number of new adult connections brokered for participant youth;
  • Number of new social and/or recreational activities provided for participant youth; and
  • Number of new potential adoptive families recruited and referred to CFCS for follow-up.
Examples of Program Success  Pilot will begin on our around March 1, 2019.

Wendy's Wonderful Kids Program

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. 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.

 

Budget  $174,876.00
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 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  After five years on WWK Recruiter Lauren Wolcott's caseload, Elijah H. found permanency with his grandmother. Lauren had first found and approached Elijah's grandmother in 2014, but at the time her home was not found to be an appropriate placement by DCF. While she explored other alternatives, Lauren never gave up on the idea of Elijah being able to live with a member of his birth family. She worked with Elijah's grandmother for years and in fall 2018, Elijah transitioned into her home.

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 35 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. Kimberly Sheppard Director of Child Services Kimberly Sheppard joined MARE as the Director of Child Services in July 2018, and has primary responsibility for child recruitment activities. She has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Boston University and a Master of Social Work from Boston College. Kimberly has over 25 years of experience in the field of child welfare, specifically specializing in permanency for children in foster care. She began her career as a social worker with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, where she also served in a number of other professional capacities, including as a foster care reviewer and program coordinator, before moving on to serve as the youth engagement supervisor for BUILD – a non-profit youth entrepreneurship and college access program. Kimberly has also done per diem work with the Boston Public Health Commission and The Pine Street Inn, where she counseled homeless individuals, as well as those struggling with addiction. In her current role with MARE, Kimberly manages the Child Service Coordinators across the agency, as well as the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program, and will also have oversight of the newly created Weekend Family Connections Program.
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.

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 16
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 150
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 72%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 15
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
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 2019
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. Tony LaCasse New England Aquarium Voting
Ms. Dana Lehman UnCommon Schools --
Ms. Karen Litchfield MSPCC, Retired Voting
Ms. Deborah Yamin 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: 6
Male: 5
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 2018 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2018 to June 30, 2019
Projected Income $1,550,805.00
Projected Expense $1,566,266.00
Form 990s

2017 990

2016 990

2015 990

2014 990

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

2008 990

Audit Documents

2018 Audit

2017 Audit

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 2018 2017 2016
Total Revenue $1,661,667 $1,567,009 $1,485,590
Total Expenses $1,622,273 $1,553,665 $1,433,590

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $754,921 $750,057 $735,468
    Federal -- -- --
    State $754,921 $750,057 $735,468
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $505,521 $414,790 $453,592
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events $128,344 $88,379 $83,170
Revenue In-Kind $272,881 $313,783 $213,360
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Program Expense $1,324,224 $1,308,239 $1,207,527
Administration Expense $179,640 $158,710 $132,194
Fundraising Expense $118,409 $86,716 $93,869
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.02 1.01 1.04
Program Expense/Total Expenses 82% 84% 84%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 9% 7% 7%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Total Assets $536,390 $477,399 $434,863
Current Assets $489,140 $453,613 $426,957
Long-Term Liabilities $38,979 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $61,764 $81,146 $51,954
Total Net Assets $435,647 $396,253 $382,909

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
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 2018 2017 2016
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 7.92 5.59 8.22

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2018 2017 2016
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 7% 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.

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?

MARE finds adoptive homes for children and teens in foster care. MARE works with the Commonwealth’s Department of Children & Families and its contracted agencies to register each child that cannot be reunited with his or her birth family and recruit families that meet an individual child’s particular needs.

Right this moment, there are 9,600 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. Many have nowhere to go.

Waiting 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, which can affect brain development and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional and behavioral challenges, and physical and/or cognitive disabilities. 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.

As of the start of this fiscal year, 1,136 kids in Massachusetts foster care have a goal of adoption but no family member or identified resource that has come forward to offer permanency. These are the children and teens MARE serves.

Annually, 600 Massachusetts teenagers age out of foster care at 18 without the permanent, caring relationships that can help them succeed as adults. Youth who do not find permanent families and age out of the system are far more likely to experience drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, unemployment, and incarceration. A comprehensive study in 2011 from the UChicago followed youth who aged out of care through age 26. A large proportion of the aged-out youth was currently or had previously been incarcerated (42% for females, 74% for males), while nearly 1/5 had experienced sexual violence. Half of the group had at least one economic hardship and 25% experienced food insecurity in the prior year. The general population of the same age group was 6 times more likely to have some type of post-secondary degree and 9 times more likely to have a 4-year degree. Fewer than half were employed, as compared to 80% of the general population, and most who had a job were not earning a living wage. The median income for the aged-out youth was merely $8,950 annually, an incredible 67% less than their general population counterparts.

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?

MARE's work is focused on a 2-pronged approach of targeted recruitment of families for specific waiting children and helping families who begin the adoption process reach successful conclusions. MARE has 2 complementary programs.

Child Services

Children are registered with MARE by their adoption worker from DCF or one of its 10 contracted agencies. Each waiting child is assigned to one of MARE’s Child Services Coordinators (CSCs) based upon geographic region. The CSC crafts a recruitment plan to find a permanent family for the child utilizing an array of tools including multimedia profiles, news campaigns, events, and targeted community outreach. The CSC also responds to inquiries from interested families resulting from these efforts. CSCs review homestudies of families that have registered them with MARE or that have submitted them as part of an inquiry and forward recommendations to the child’s adoption worker, who makes final decisions.

Family Support Services

Families come to MARE by inquiring about adoption in general or about a specific child for whom MARE is recruiting. Family Support Services fields informational requests and creates records for each new family so that MARE can track their progress and follow up to offer assistance. Once families are licensed, MARE registers their homestudy for consideration by CSCs when they are recruiting families for specific children. Throughout this entire process, and continuing after a family is matched and has a child placed in their home, the Family Support Services Team is providing guidance and support through events, mentorship, support groups, education, and advocacy.


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

MARE has been matching waiting children with adoptive families for 61 years. Our team of 18 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, each of which is overseen by a Director with years of experience in the foster care/ adoption world.  

One of MARE's Child Services staff members is an adoptee from foster care, as is one member of the Board of Directors. Three staff members and five members of the Board are adoptive parents. 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. Annually, outcomes are aggregated and results are reviewed to determine trends, successes, and challenges. Those results inform the organization’s priorities, program components and staffing, and the annual budget.

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.  In 61 years of operations, MARE has found adoptive homes for 6,600 waiting children.