I’m proud to say that the American Legion Family has had another strong year of supporting the Child Welfare Foundation (CWF).
The CWF ended the 2020-21 program year with $435,312 in donations. Of those donations, more than $317,000 came from the Sons of The American Legion – the single largest contributor to CWF, donating nearly $9 million since 1988. And together, The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary donated over $88,260.
The Child Welfare Foundation, cwf-inc.org, provides grants to nonprofits that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children and youth through programs, research and resources. One hundred percent of all money raised for the foundation is used exclusively for grants.
Your support of CWF is providing children a forever home.
Logan Belle was born in December 2020 to a teenage mother. The birth mother decided to proceed with adoption for Logan, who was matched with a family in Indiana. To financially complete the adoption process, a $5,000 grant from Gift of Adoption was provided to Melea and Christoph so they could bring Logan home to be a family.
Gift of Adoption of Northbrook, Ill., is a 2021 American Legion Child Welfare Foundation grant recipient of $25,000 to help provide adoption assistance for children in the United States. This is the second $25,000 CWF grant provided to Gift of Adoption whose mission since its founding in 1996 is to “provide adoption assistance grants to bring the most vulnerable children into permanent, loving families and really changing the trajectory of their lives,” said Julie Pendell, chief development officer at Gift of Adoption Fund. “I love that it’s a mission of real people’s stories.”
Gift of Adoption supports children who are at risk of entering foster care, aging out of foster care or an orphanage, and who have medical needs. They too focus on keeping siblings together through adoption.
In its 25-year history, Gift of Adoption has provided over $11 million in grants to unite more than 3,800 children with permanent families. The organization’s goal this fiscal year is to unite 525 children with families in honor of its 25th anniversary. And The American Legion’s CWF grant is helping achieve this.
Five children, including Logan, have been placed in forever homes thanks to the CWF grant with the rest of the funds to be expended on Gift of Adoption assistance grants through the end of 2021. Families that apply for a grant from Gift of Adoption have already been matched with their child(ren) and are in the process of adopting “but coming to the point where they can’t finalize the adoption due to lack of funding,” Pendell said. “They apply to Gift of Adoption for those final funds.”
Pendell said an average Gift of Adoption grant is $4,000 but can go up to $15,000. About 700 families apply every year for grants, and the organization can help just over half of them due to available funding. The organization has 26 chapters across the country that are volunteer driven with a goal of fundraising and awareness.
“A donation to a Gift of Adoption really does change a child’s life forever,” Pendell said. “And generationally too because that child goes on and their life is changed, the generations that follow that person are also changed … all because of one generous donation or a donor allowed us to give a grant to those parents.
“A grant that is truly transformational for the child and the family. I love that you can so easily take the picture of that change to our donors. Every story is hinged on the fact that people or companies, or organizations or foundations came alongside the mission and made that happen.”