In 2002, I founded Focus America and created a volunteer-run 501(c)3 non-profit after reading a disturbing article in the New York Times about a poor community in Pembroke, IL. It shocked me to know that people in remote sections of our country lacked running water or paved roads or food to eat.
Having grown up in an affluent region of the US, I knew that poverty existed in other countries. I have seen poverty first-hand during my numerous international excursions over the years, including the Shanty Towns in Venezuela, villages in Dominican Republic, and Indian Reservations in Alaska. When I realized that children were starving in our own country strictly because of limited resources, I knew that I had to help in some way. With the encouragement of my senior students at a local college, Focus America was founded.
As we prepare to celebrate our Five Year Anniversary, I'm terribly proud of the journey in which I have embarked. Focus America has morphed over the years, from a volunteer-run charity by my college students with a broad range of interests (and, therefore, projects) to a smaller, more focused organization with specific goals and projects that reflect my own personal interests:
- helping impoverished communities in Appalachia become self-sufficient and
- helping the underprivileged living in my community experience existing athletic opportunities that, due to financial reasons, would be unobtainable without our help.
People help us achieve our goals and mission every day...often not even knowing so. Assisting an elderly person with their groceries or holding a door open for a stranger at the store are simple ways we can make a difference. My hope is that everyone visiting this website will take the next step and help us help other people.
Focus America's mission includes:
- Humanitarian (such as providing food, clothing, and other support)
- Education (such as providing school supplies to children and schools)
- Resource (such as providing information and referral services)
Focus America was founded based upon the following philanthropic objectives:
- To provide humanitarian relief to people living in impoverished communities; and
- To provide assistance with returning children to the classroom in order to complete their education; and
- To serve as a distribution point of information and referral service to help these communities connect with other resources; and
- To develop volunteer opportunities for high school students, college students, corporations and individuals who can manage their own projects to help individuals.
In order to achieve its Mission, Focus America provides the following services through its 100%volunteer network:
- Collects and distributes school supplies to impoverished communities and foster children.
- Collects and distributes food to improverished communities.
- Collects and distributes food and gifts during the holidays to provide a day of cheer and hope for the children.
- Collects and distributes winter clothing for impoverished communities living in northern regions.
- Distributes information to these supported communities to assist them in rebuilding their future (such as providing links to jobs or other social services).
- Solicits donations on a very limited basis with all contributions and gifts supporting the organization's Mission.
Focus America is an exempt organization pursuant section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are therefore tax deductible.