Encore Host Organization
Reid Cox started iFoster over 10 years ago with his wife, Sarita, working out of their office in Truckee, California. “My wife was raised in the foster care system,” Reid shares, “and we felt that we could have the biggest impact by finding new ways to get more resources to foster youth, families, social workers and nonprofits working in this space.”
Outcomes often reflect his lack of investment. Findings from a 2016 California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study show that within four years of aging out of the system, about 70 percent of foster youth receive government assistance, and 50 percent are unemployed.
iFoster forms partnerships with companies, local businesses and nonprofits to negotiate low-cost purchases of items foster youth need, like laptops, and works with foundations and companies willing to donate products and services to foster youth across the country.
Marketing was a competency the organization didn’t have, and was actively seeking. “We’ve been so focused on doing the day-to-day blocking and tackling to get these kids what they need,” Reid says. “We brought Marc in to help us take a step back, and think about how we should be communicating what iFoster is doing, to set us up as the leading voice in providing resources to these kids.”
The Encore Fellowship experience was so positive for both parties that they’ve decided to continue working together, which happens with about half of all fellowships.
“For the first nine years, we didn’t spend any money on general audience advertising,” he says. “That was the beauty of Marc and the Encore Fellowship program. We could bring someone in who has a lifetime of experience in this area, and go from zero to where we are today in just a year.”