Fundraising in support of the mission is a critical challenge for every nonprofit organization providing social services. The recent recession has presented unique challenges to organizations such as BTG. Here are some approaches that Bridge the Gap has taken to fundraising since its founding in 1999:
Bridge the Gap has a history of creativity in approaches to resource generation from the very caring communities of Clark and Skamania Counties. For example, BTG leverages a public-private partnership resulting in 10 hours/month of staff time from the Vancouver DCFS Office. Other resources come from individual donations, corporate grants, in-kind donation of items, and thousands of volunteer hours. Business, community groups, and churches have held drives to obtain clothing, toys, and school supplies for donation to foster kids through Bridge the Gap. Between 2000-2006, BTG organized an annual "Toy Run" with Santa leading a procession of motorcycle riders picking up toys. Golf tournaments for several years, as well as two auctions have been held. In the winter of 2013, BTG held its first annual "Girlfriends Champagne Brunch" which raised $15,000 and expanded the BTG circle of supporters.
Challenges for Bridge the Gap have arisen from the funding environment in which the State DCFS Office has operated in recent years. Funding for foster care has remained stagnant for years, with foster parents receiving little to no increases in support while costs of raising children have increased steadily. DCFS eliminated the funds for summer camp for each child and has eliminated the $200 initial clothing allowance. Foster parent reimbursement has been flat for years. Throughout these challenges, the vision, energy, and dedication of the co-founders and their team of volunteers have sustained the organization.
As the program heads into its 15th year, BTG leadership is committed to expand and strengthen its ability to help foster children to have more enriched childhoods with a diversity of educational and fun experiences. The vision is to give each child in foster care opportunities that will provide the same sense of self and skill development as those experienced by children who have not lived with abuse and neglect.