Megan, Mason, Emma, Ellie and Brady 08.12.19
Better Together was founded on the belief we could reduce the number of children entering foster care, strengthen marriages, and keep families together without the help of the government.
We saw messy national problems—the tragedy of welfare, the breakdown of families—and got to work finding solutions at the local level using private funds, a network of volunteers, and the power of the local church.
The success we have achieved has exceeded our wildest expectations. As I reflect on 2019, three words come to mind: growth, opportunity, and gratitude.
Our impact is larger than ever. In 2019, our Better Families program served almost 600 children across Florida. Of those children, only two entered foster care.
Our Better Work program held 15 church-driven job fairs across 7 cities, serving 3,383 Job seekers in 2019 alone.
We earned national recognition from the Manhattan Institute at the 2019 Civil Society Awards, which gave us a platform to share inspirational stories that prove civil society is alive and well.
Like most things in life, our success came with growing pains. We had to make some tough decisions, including the closing of our Abilene office, and moving away from our city-based job fair model.
But we began to work smarter. Our team developed a new, scalable model that allowed us to train and support churches without spending too much staff time and money. Our budget decreased, while our impact increased.
Because of these changes, we trained 15 pilot churches in 2019 to test and drive a new job fair model which relies on only minimal consultation from our staff. Their job fairs were very successful, with outcomes similar to our staff-driven job fairs of prior years. Like the families we serve, our church partners have become self-sufficient in this ministry, allowing us to grow our impact exponentially.
Looking ahead, I’m excited to expand our Better Families program in Florida, starting in Sarasota and Manatee County. We are finishing plans for a Nationwide Day of Second Chances, when we will partner with over 50 churches to hold simultaneous “Second Chance Job Fairs” across 20 major cities.
Together, we will connect 10,000 citizens returning from prison—and facing other barriers to work—with job opportunities over the course of a single day.
I am full of gratitude for our staff, volunteers, church partners, donors and other community partners. Their compassion and selfless dedication allows us to see what is possible when people come together voluntarily to make communities stronger.