An Interview With the Center for Family Representation's John Linder
Simply put, the Center for Family Representation’s (CFR) mission is to keep families together. It provides disadvantaged families in crisis with free legal assistance and social-work services to enable children to stay with their parents safely.
"Because of the detrimental effects of long-term stays in foster care, CFR works to keep kids out of care entirely or keep their time in care to a minimum." says John Linder, chief development and communications officer at CFR. "In addition to direct legal and social-work services, CFR trains organizations locally and nationally on our unique team-based model to representing families as well as advocating on behalf of families at the local and national levels."
Here, FundRaising Success talks more with Linder about CFR and its fundraising model.
FundRaising Success: What is CFR's annual operating budget?
John Linder: CFR’s annual budget in 2002 was $250,000. In 2012, we have a projected budget of $7 million, enabling us to more than double the number of new families we serve each year.
FS: How does the organization fund its mission?
JL: CFR has two large contracts with New York City, one in Manhattan and one in Queens, which cover the bulk of our direct services to families. Because our team-based model is not fully supported by the city contracts — yet it is this unique model that gives us dramatic results — we raise about 25 percent of our funds from competitive corporate, foundation and government grants, as well as from individuals and an annual gala.
FS: What are CFR's fundraising strengths/weaknesses?
JL: CFR has a strong data-driven message that resonates with donors of all stripes. For example, in 2011, CFR kept 73 percent of our clients’ children out of foster care entirely. For those who did have to enter care, their median length of stay was just 2.2 months. This is significantly shorter than the New York State average of 29 months and the New York City median of 6.4 months.
Dane Grams is the director of membership for Human Rights Campaign. He has held senior positions at Amnesty International, Greenpeace USA and Care2. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.