- Who is Families Forward?
- Board of Directors
- News and Updates
- Financial Information
- Family Homelessness in OC
- Request a Tour
- Contact Us
Who is Families Forward?
Starting with 5 rented apartments in 1984, Families Forward has expanded to work with hundreds of families to regain economic independence and find a stable home for their children. Our vision is to end homelessness for local families.
Families Forward exists to help families in need achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, education, and other support services.
Families Forward holds strong to our commitment to the values of dignity, empowerment, accountability, community spirit, and hope.
- Dignity – Honor each individual through an atmosphere of respect, trust, and confidentiality.
- Empowerment – Inspire self-sufficiency through the development of courage, confidence, and pride.
- Accountability – Accept responsibility for commitments and accomplishing our goals.
- Community Spirit – Realize our vision through teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration.
- Hope – Share a belief in new beginnings and allowing dreams of the future to emerge.
The Hidden Orange County
One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is working families with children struggling to make ends meet. The high cost of basic living, including rent, transportation and childcare, coupled with the significant lack of affordable housing, puts many families at risk. More than 26,000 school-age children are homeless or housing-insecure. These are the families we see every day.
How We Help
Housing Program: Placing homeless children and families into stable housing. Families Forward works with homeless families to find realistic solutions for sustainable housing and build individualized plans to return each family to self-sufficiency. By stabilizing these families and giving them tools to build a future, we create a stronger community for all of us. A key factor for success is Families Forward’s commitment to collaborate with many organizations to end family homelessness in Orange County, including Orange County United Way, the Commission to End Homelessness, the Children and Families Commission and many other partner agencies and foundations. Only together will we be able to end homelessness in Orange County. Visit the Housing Program page for more information.
Community Services: Providing supportive services to improve lives. Families Forward also reaches out to low-income families to help reduce the pressures that can cause homelessness and help them maintain their stability. Through various safety-net services, those at-risk are given access to assistance such as our on-site food pantry, counseling, career coaching, and financial and life skills education. The goal of the program is to help families recover from a financial crisis so they can maintain their self-sufficiency. Visit the services page for more information.
Take a look at our Quick Facts to learn about Families Forward’s 2016 Impact.
How You Can Help
It’s fun and easy to get involved with Families Forward. Consider one of our many volunteer opportunities listed in our Volunteer section. Or visit our Donate section to see how your support can help families build a path to self-sufficiency.
Your support will help change a child’s life and create hope for a brighter future.
Josh Acorn, Facilities Assistant
Elizabeth Andrade, Director of Housing Programs and Services
Heidi Arellano, Housing Resource Specialist
Amanda Bravo, Program Assistant
Ghislaine Chavez, Case Manager
Elizabeth Childs, Executive Assistant
Isis Cortina, Program Assistant
Danielle DeBerg, Controller
Susan DeGrassi, Director of Development
Yadira Gonzalez, Senior Housing Resource Specialist
Marissa Hall, Volunteer Manager
Edith Hernandez, Case Manager
Madelynn (Montoya) Hirneise, Director of Property Acquisition and Management
Rebecca Holt, Housing Resource Specialist
Diane Ilan, Director of Community Counseling
Mimi Kahn, Counselor
Anne Kranz, Social Worker
Alexandra Leggitt, Prevention Program Manager
Henry Li, Staff Accountant
Kimberly Marmolejo, Case Manager
Jaqueline Martinez, Housing Program Manager
Jillian Miller, Grants and Communications Manager
Brad Mollick, Facilities Manager
Pam Morgan, Case Manager
Heidi Prescott, Career Coach
Haley Reyna, Operations Associate
Rose Rivera, Data Quality Manager
Soledad Rivera, Housing Intake Coordinator
Estela Salgado-Cohen, Counselor
Cassandra Seidler, Community Resource Coordinator
Andy Sepulveda, Data Entry Clerk
Jade Smith, Case Manager
Kim Strohm, Director of Marketing and Communications
Katherine Szymczak, Development and Outreach Coordinator
Alison Vu, Marketing & Development Specialist
Margie Wakeham, Executive Director
Christopher Wells, Property Assistant
Last updated: 3/28/17
Board of Directors
During fiscal year 2015-16, 100% of our Board of Directors made financial contributions to support the work of Families Forward. THANK YOU for the advocacy and commitment you have shown to families throughout Orange County!
Jack Stemper, President, First Foundation Advisors
Gary Cohn, VP Strategic Planning, Marx|Okubo
Susan McClintic, VP Program, Early Childhood Educator
Mary Earl Spencer, VP Fund Development, Doncaster
Peter Reynolds, VP Audit, Community Leader
Dr. Jim Berman, VP Governance, Internal Medicine
Michael Kaufman, VP Human Resources, Community Leader
Mark Engstrom, Treasurer, Deloitte & Touche, LLP
Robert Davis, Secretary, HNTB Corporation
Mark Harryman, Member at Large, Unire Real Estate Group
Kevin Baldridge, Tricon American Homes
Mary Ann Bentrott, Community Leader
Kfir Ben-Zvi, PIMCO
Rhonda Bolton, KIA Motors America
Nancy Chase, Community Leader
Deborah Coombs, AvalonBay Communities
Ken Coulter, NCA Developments
Meg English, Community Leader
Mark Henigan, Irvine Company
Khairulnissa Hotaki, U.S. Bank
Shige Itoh, Rutan & Tucker, LLP
James Klingler, JK Advisors
Kathleen Lockhart, Community Leader
Tracie McCloskey, Community Leader
Trish Scarborough, Community Leader
David Vento, Allergan
Diana Wong, Capital Group Companies
News and Updates
Thank you for your interest and support of Families Forward. We’re excited to share our latest news and information on helping disadvantaged families build a brighter future for themselves.
Please sign up to receive Families Forward emails to get information on upcoming events and quarterly newsletters.
Review our most recent eNewletters:
- Community Connections Winter 2017
- Community Connections Fall 2016
- Community Connections Summer 2016
- Community Connections Spring 2016
Families Forward News
- Price tag of homelessness in Orange County is nearly $300 million, UCI study finds – Posted March 8, 2017
- Why more California families are becoming homeless – Posted January 5, 2017
- Unsung hero: Allison Rabin helps kids get involved in helping homeless – Posted December 28, 2016
- Families Forward Earns 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for 7th Consecutive Year! – Posted December 7, 2016
- Families Forward Announces Three New Board Members – September 30, 2016
- “Putting Families First“, Orange County Business Journal, October 3, 2016
- Families Forward’s 32nd Annual Gala raises more than $465,000 to help local families in crisis – Posted September 26, 2016
- Lake Forest divides $60,000 in federal grant money among local nonprofits – Posted April 13, 2016
- Building Better Lives – Posted February 29, 2016
- Orange County United Way: Madisyn’s Story
- Orange County United Way: Steve and Melissa
- Orange County United Way: Michael’s Story
- Orange County United Way: Home for Good
- National Alliance to End Homelessness: Parents and Kids Talk About Homelessness
Families Forward Videos
For press inquiries, please contact:
Director of Marketing and Communications
About Families Forward – Since 1984, Families Forward has worked with families in need to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency through housing, food, counseling, career coaching, education, and other support services. Operating with a guiding principal of support with accountability, last year Families Forward improved the lives of nearly 8,000 children and adults by providing safety-net services through the framework of our values: Dignity, Empowerment, Accountability, Community Spirit and Hope.
Committed to Accountability & Transparency
Families Forward is consistently ranked as one of the best run charities in Orange County. Families Forward participates with Charity Navigator, Guidestar, and Connect OC, operated by the Orange County Community Foundation, to ensure supporters have easy access to information about our organization.
For the seventh year in a row, Families Forward earned Charity Navigator’s top 4 Star rating, placing our agency among the top 3% of rated charities nationwide.
2015-2016 Audited Financials at a Glance
Families Forward understands the importance of having a diverse funding base. The strength of our budget comes from a balanced approach of government, corporate/foundation and individual contributions to implement our programs and services.
This past year, significant capital and in-kind contributions from local cities and the building industry accounted for the majority of income in excess of expenses for the year. In addition, there were significant unrealized gains on our investments.
FY 2015-2016 Revenues $5.35 M
For every $1.00 donated to Families Forward, $0.90 directly funds programs and services to client families. This is a direct result of Families Forward’s careful management of resources, an extensive volunteer corps and thousands of food and product donations.
FY 2015-2016 Expenses $4.40 M
Families Forward’s Annual Report provides a yearly overview of our programs and services and our impact on homeless and disadvantaged families in Orange County. Click here to view our 2015-2016 Annual Report.
The Form 990 is a yearly report which all nonprofit organizations are required to file with the IRS. Families Forward’s most recent filing is the 2014 Form 990.
Families Forward’s latest Audit of Financial Statements (2015-2016) is also available. This audit includes information about our internal accounting and financial reporting processes and controls.
Family Homelessness in OC
Lack of Affordable Housing
There is a significant lack of affordable housing in Orange County, making affording an apartment extremely difficult for families struggling to make ends meet. According to a 2014 report from California Housing Partnership, there is a shortfall of 118,895 homes affordable to Orange County’s very low-income households. It is startling to know that “79% of very low-income households spend more than half their income on rent.” This is evidenced by the fact that while median rents increased by 19% between 2000 and 2012, median income for this population declined by 10%. In fact, a minimum wage worker must work 102 hours a week to rent an average one-bedroom apartment in Orange County.
High Cost of Living
Due to the high cost of basic living needs in Orange County, including rent, transportation and childcare, families can lose their housing with any slight unforeseen expense or disruption. This challenging ratio of income to living expense leaves many families on the cusp and vulnerable to homelessness. As reported in the Orange County 2016 Community Indicators report, “5.2% – or 26,064 – Orange County students have insecure housing, more than eight times the percentage 10 years ago”. At 5.2% of total enrollment, Orange County has proportionately more students with insecure housing than the statewide average and all California regions compared except Riverside/San Bernardino County.
Many families do not have any safety-net resources such as savings or local family to support them through a challenging time. A job loss, sudden illness or rent increase can often push the family beyond their financial limits and result in them losing their home. This is the case for the vast majority of literally homeless families who come to Families Forward for assistance.
Poverty and Hunger
According to the 2016 Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County, 49.1% of students, or 237,969 individuals, in 2015/2016 qualified for free and reduced price meals in Orange County. This number is widely viewed as a proxy for the number of children at or near the poverty line and indicates a rising level of need for safety net services in O.C. Our food pantry is one of our many basic safety net services provided that allows families to focus on their journey towards self-sufficiency.
OC Cost of Homelessness Report
Families Forward is proud to be a contributor to important research that dispels many of the myths of the homeless in our neighborhoods. We encourage you to read more about the OC Homeless Cost Study and Report.
Last updated: 3/28/17
Request a Tour
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday 9AM-5PM and Fridays 9AM-1PM
Families Forward is a 501(c)(3) organization
Federal Tax ID #: 33-0086043
Get in Touch with Us
Would you like to learn more about what we do and how you can get involved? Call us during business hours at 949-552-2727.
Or fill out this form below to learn more about our services, volunteer opportunities or how you can support our mission to end homelessness for local families.
Do you have a strong desire to make a positive impact in your community? Do you see yourself thriving in a dynamic, constructive, and collaborative workplace? Then Families Forward might just be the place for you!
We are committed to making a difference in the Orange County community. Families Forward is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides housing, food, counseling, education and other support services to families and individuals facing homelessness in the Orange County, California area and provides programs to help such families and individuals become self-sufficient.
Families Forward is an organization with a solid history since 1984 and a growing future with career opportunities in case management, counseling, workforce development, fund development and more.
Our core values are the foundation of culture at Families Forward. We seek people who share a common commitment to integrity and excellence, and who demonstrate these five core values:
- Dignity: Honor each individual through an atmosphere of respect, trust and confidentiality.
- Empowerment: Inspire self-sufficiency through the development of courage, confidence and pride.
- Accountability: Accept responsibility for commitments and accomplishing our goals.
- Community Spirit: Realize our vision through teamwork, cooperation and collaboration.
- Hope: Share a belief in new beginnings and allowing dreams of the future to emerge.
See below to review current openings and application instructions. No employment inquiries via telephone please. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Families Forward offers academic internships in a variety of departments, including: Finance, Fund Development and Marketing & Communications, and Program & Operations. For more information on our internships, please contact our Volunteer Manager, Marissa Hall, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 716-2731.