Funding & Development
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Funds Significant Expansion of Support Program for Former Foster Youth
New Funding will Double the Capacity for ‘Fostering Bright Futures’ program
RALEIGH, N.C. (April 12, 2019) - Fostering Bright Futures (FBF) provides academic, social, and financial support to former foster youth pursuing a college education. Now, thanks to a major gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), the program will be able to double in scope. Blue Cross NC will donate $346,500 to the program over the next three years, to help students who have “aged out” of the foster care system. Currently, there are 30 students in Fostering Bright Futures. The gift will allow the program to serve 60 and to expand core program components.
Nationwide statistics show that only three-percent of former foster youth are successful in obtaining a college degree by age 25.
“I cannot overstate the impact of this generous gift,” says Matt Smith, Executive Director of the Wake Tech Foundation, “or how grateful we are. This support will literally change the lives of some very deserving young men and women facing incredible odds.”
“Blue Cross NC recognizes that access to higher education plays a vital role in creating opportunities for more rewarding, fulfilling lives, and this is particularly true for former foster youth and their families,” said Jesse Thomas, VP of the Medicaid Segment for Blue Cross NC. “We’re appreciative of the positive impact Fostering Bright Futures is having on our community, and we’re proud to support them in their efforts.”
The Blue Cross NC donation will enable Fostering Bright Futures to extend its reach to more of the growing number of youth transitioning out of foster care in Wake County. The program will open a second resource center, with a dedicated program specialist, and be able to add tutors, mentors, and advisors; offer more workshops; improve technology and other learning resources; and increase specialized support services, internships, and incentive programs.
“These students face obstacles of all kinds,” says Michelle Blackmon, program coordinator for FBF. “We try to respond to each unique individual, whether the need is for academic support, assistance with finances or transportation, or simply someone to talk with about the decisions and challenges at hand.”
Since Fostering Bright Futures began 10 years ago, 13 students have earned associate’s degrees, seven have transferred to universities, and six are working in their chosen field. Forty-five students are currently on a waiting list for the program.
Blue Cross NC joins a network of community partners who support FBF, including Wake County government, AT&T, Lenovo, Dress for Success, the United Way of the Greater Triangle, and others. Learn more at fosteringbrightfutures.waketech.edu.