SUMMIT, NJ— The Summit Area Public Foundation is supporting Family Promise’s expansion of its volunteer management program to include new technology that will assist the organization with engaging Union County volunteers and with prevention and stabilization efforts for families at risk of homelessness in Union County.
The $20,000 grant will allow Family Promise to pilot the volunteer management tool, developed through the JPMorgan Chase Force for Good initiative, in Union County and ultimately offer it to its more than 200 Affiliates nationwide. Nationally, more than 200,000 volunteers engage with Family Promise, with 1,500 in Union County, and 500 from Summit.
“Since its founding over 30 years ago by Karen Olson here in Summit, Family Promise has been integrally connected to our community through volunteers, donations and board governance. The Summit Area Public Foundation is pleased to support Family Promise’s local initiative for volunteer management, with the hope that the program becomes a model beyond Union County,” said Julie Keenan, President of SAPF.
Volunteers are the heart of Family Promise’s work. Each week, Family Promise volunteers welcome families, converting congregational space into home-like accommodations for them to live in while in its shelter program. They are hosts, cooks, mentors, and friends. Ten Summit congregations participate in the Union County Program.
SAPF’s support of Family Promise will allow for improved communication and engagement with existing volunteers in congregations, but also will allow the organization to recruit and retain new volunteers from the Summit area.
“Summit is our main base of support for volunteers in Union County. The dedicated individuals and companies help families move into their new homes, deliver in-kind donations, and form meaningful relationships with families experiencing homelessness,” said Amy Jones, Family Promise’s Manager of Volunteer Engagement.
This year, they can also play a role in preventing families from experiencing homelessness and in supporting families long-term. “We will be opening our office at 71 Summit Avenue for regular volunteer activities where Summit residents can drop off items or come with their kids to take part in an activity that will benefit families we serve,” Jones said.
Family Promise’s volunteer program is looking to actively involve corporate volunteers, individuals, landlords, and realtors who would like to volunteer outside of the congregational space to provide resources for financial capability, family wellness, tenancy resources, transportation help, resume writing, and more.
In 2019, Summit residents volunteered with a bike clinic, hosted by Hilltop Bicycles, which taught children basic biking and safety skills. Student members of the Family Promise Club at Summit High School took children experiencing homelessness trick-or-treating. Dr. Christina Johnson of Overlook Medical Center organized a “Mini Med-School” and nutrition workshops.
The Summit Police Department fifth annual food drive collected more than 1,250 pounds of food, as well as paper goods, cleaning products, and hygiene items, which were donated to Family Promise Union County and to families in Summit. Multiple Summit corporations, congregations, and individuals helped with the Family Promise Holiday Drive, delivering presents and much-needed cheer to local families in need.
About the Summit Area Public Foundation
SAPF is a community foundation that fosters philanthropy in the Summit, NJ, area by identifying local needs and offering donors flexible ways to make a difference in the lives of their neighbors. During the past 10 years, SAPF has awarded more than $5.2 million to 107 nonprofit agencies. SAPF currently awards nearly 40 grants per year.
About Family Promise
Family Promise envisions a nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future. What began as a local initiative in Summit, NJ, has become a national movement that involves 200,000 volunteers and served more than 125,000 family members in 2018. Family Promise will change the future for 1 million children by 2030.