July 20, 2023

Celebrating the Founder's Award and the Extraordinary Achievements of Hope and Robert F. Smith


Each passing year witnesses the unwavering dedication of thousands of individuals who generously devote their time, resources, and energy to uplift their communities through remarkable philanthropic endeavors. Their selfless actions create a meaningful and lasting impact on some of the most vulnerable populations in our society today. As Foster Love continues its remarkable journey towards fulfilling its mission, we recognize the importance of acknowledging these incredible individuals and families whose boundless efforts have revolutionized the child welfare system and contributed to the growth of our special organization.

In this spirit of recognition, joy, and gratitude, we are thrilled to announce the introduction of the prestigious Founders Award at each annual Foster Love Gala. This esteemed accolade serves as a tribute to the titans of philanthropy whose exceptional work exemplifies not only profound achievements in altruism, innovation, and community service but also embodies the very core values and principles that drive Foster Love's mission. The Founders Award stands as a testament to individuals who are the epitome of our organization's vision and mission, shining beacons that inspire others to follow their path of compassionate and transformative work. They are true role models for generations to come, igniting hope and change for the betterment of our society.

During the momentous inaugural Foster Love Gala held on July 13th of this year, it was with utmost pleasure that we bestowed the prestigious Founders Award upon the remarkable change-makers Hope and Robert F. Smith. This well-deserved recognition stands as a testament to the extraordinary positive impact they have made in the lives of at-risk individuals and families. The compassionate work of both Hope and Robert F. Smith has left an indelible mark on countless lives. From spearheading pivotal and unprecedented academic opportunities for at-risk youth to engaging in far-reaching philanthropic initiatives that enhance community health globally, their profound dedication has uplifted the lives of thousands of vulnerable individuals in need of support. As we celebrate these inspiring achievements, let us take a closer look at the qualities and actions that truly make Hope and Robert F. Smith deserving recipients of the coveted Founders Award.

The profound impact of Hope and Robert F. Smith's good deeds can be witnessed through Foster Love's pivotal Family Fellowship scholarship program. For children and youth who have experienced the foster care system, life presents significant and unimaginable challenges that pose risks to their health, healing, and future prospects. Among transition-age youth, the hope of pursuing higher education often seems like an unattainable dream. Shockingly, despite nearly 100% of high school foster youth aspiring to attend college, only 50% manage to graduate with a diploma. Of those, a mere 3% ultimately earn a college degree. In order to provide these high-risk youth with unprecedented opportunities to access postsecondary education, become part of a close-knit support system, and enter the workforce in their desired field, Hope and Robert worked with Foster Love to conceptualize and fund the revolutionary Family Fellowship scholarship program.

Since its inception in 2015, the Family Fellowship has evolved into the nation's largest scholarship initiative for transition-age foster youth. This program goes above and beyond the provision of tuition payments by providing scholars with monthly housing allowances, technology and educational supplies, annual retreats, holiday gatherings, mentorship, life skills training, budgeting workshops, and the availability of 24/7 emotional support. With dedication and determination, it has worked with 58 young individuals, successfully graduating 26 of them, with an impressive 90% achieving completion of their undergraduate programs. Currently, ten of the program's recipients are pursuing advanced degrees, while four have already attained a Master's. Notably, 100% of Family Fellowship scholars have found employment in their respective fields, and an encouraging 38% have embarked on pursuing a doctorate degree.

The transformative impact of this scholarship program has been made possible through Hope and Robert's unwavering commitment to these deserving youth. They have created a profound legacy of resilience that will continue to inspire and positively transform lives for generations to come. The dedication and care they have invested in uplifting the lives of foster youth exemplify the true essence of fostering hope and instilling opportunity, leading to a brighter and more promising future for these individuals.

In conclusion, Hope and Robert F. Smith's exceptional dedication to uplifting their communities through remarkable philanthropy is the driving force behind their well-deserved recognition as recipients of the first prestigious Founders Award. Their unwavering commitment to the transformative Family Fellowship scholarship program, which has revolutionized the lives of at-risk youth, exemplifies the very core values that drive Foster Love's mission. Their compassionate work has left an indelible mark on countless lives, offering unprecedented opportunities for education, support, and a brighter future to those who need it most. As we honor these inspiring change-makers, we celebrate their profound impact and their role as shining beacons of hope and resilience, inspiring future generations to follow their path of compassionate and transformative work. Through their dedication and care, Hope and Robert F. Smith have truly made a difference in the lives of vulnerable youth, leaving a legacy that will continue to inspire and positively transform lives for years to come.

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