“The relationship is phenomenal. It’s great, it is not just a business transaction; it’s more like a partnership. NAF really wants to know about the work that we do.”

Jessica Rogers, Executive Director at Connections to Independence

Connections to Independence (C2i) started as a youth foster care program at Summit Academy OIC. Due to shifts in priorities, leadership at Summit Academy approached Jessica Rogers, the program’s manager, about merging with another agency or for Rogers to turn the program into its own nonprofit. Rogers, a product of the foster system herself, accepted the challenge. In 2010, C2i became its own nonprofit and transformed into an organization that provided a holistic approach to reduce the rate in which foster care youth reconnect with the system.

As a new nonprofit, C2i struggles to manage cash flow. The majority of their funding is government reimbursements. Jessica Rogers met with Phil Hatlie at Nonprofits Assistance Fund to learn more about how NAF could help C2i. After exploring other options and turning up empty handed, Jessica Rogers returned to NAF and applied for a line of credit. This line of credit has helped twice in two emergency situations, and without it, Rogers doesn’t know what they would do.

Today, 92% of Connections to Independence’s youth get their high school diploma or GED, and 50% continue on to post-secondary education. The foster youth national average is 45% and 13% respectively.  Jessica Rogers knows their model works and looks forward to sharing their story and replicating this model to other counties, regions and states.  

Photo Credit: Teambuilding exercise, Connections to Independence