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letter from ed reg

Connection is at the heart of our mission. It is our connection to others that makes life rich and meaningful, and we believe every child deserves to have the most basic experience of connection – family. All of our programs, events, and services aim to create the life-changing connections between children and families that result in the stable, caring relationships our kids need to thrive. 

We continue to fight for those kids most likely to experience disconnection, isolation, and long waits for adoptive families. This year, 22% of all youth placed were teens, and 15% were in group care settings. This continues a multi-year trend of success for these older youth, thanks in large part to specialized programs like Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, Weekend Family Connections, and Videosnapshots. A full 37% of our placements this year were from sibling groups, representing 90 children who were able to keep their vital sibling connection intact. 

We’ve continued to provide families with the means and resources they need for life-changing connection as parents. We became more engaged with communities of color at a local level, and provided resources throughout the year to help families maintain their child’s cultural community connections. We offered many opportunities for training in Trust-Based Relational Intervention, giving parents the tools they need to build meaningful connection with their kids. Across all of our programs, over 650 families attended our events and trainings this year. 

None of this would be possible without our amazing community of collaborators, supporters, funders, and volunteers. Together, you are making a difference for hundreds of children in foster care as they find the connections that will truly transform their lives. 

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Every year, approximately 25,000 teenagers transition out of foster care without the support of a family. Marisol once believed she would be part of this number and was starting to feel anxious about facing life on her own. Her journey through the foster care system had spanned most of her life—5,176 days to be precise—and had involved moving from one foster home to another until she eventually found herself in a group home. Though hope to find a family had started to dwindle, Marisol felt a renewed sense of optimism when she met Scott Barry, MARE’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter.  

“My NorthStar is to find permanency for a kid — a safe, stable, loving home that will help them heal,” Barry passionately shares. His daily focus revolves around orchestrating visits for all fifteen children on his caseload, scheduling calls with their families, social workers, teachers, and all those who are important parts of their lives. Scott clearly remembers how whenever he met Marisol during these visits, she would ask him: “Have you found me a family yet?”. And then, one day, he was finally able to deliver the long-awaited good news. 

At first, Marisol met Mom Heather for dinner and then the rest of the Santana Clan: Dad Edwin, sister Valerie, brother Eddie, and adorable baby sister Vivienne. They had an immediate sense of  connection and they bonded together quickly. After numerous visits with the Santanas, some memorable sleepovers, and outdoor adventures, Marisol transitioned into their home. Adapting to family life presented its challenges, but with Scott's unwavering support and the warmth of her new family, everyone embraced and adjusted to their new reality. Then, on March 17th, 2023, Marisol officially became a Santana. The joyous occasion drew their entire extended family to town to show their support.  

“We are super grateful to MARE and Scott specifically. Without MARE there wouldn’t be a newest daughter,” share Heather and Edwin Santana. Throughout this process, Scott provided personalized support not only related to the adoption itself but also tending to practical and emotional aspects to ensure a seamless transition. For example, arranging for cherished family photos and assisting with the administrative hurdles of Marisol's transition to a public high school. 

Now, as the Santana family looks ahead to the future and the experiences that await them, Marisol's personal growth has been remarkable. She successfully transitioned to a public high school, celebrated her graduation, and is currently enrolled in a program designed to equip her with the skills and knowledge needed for her journey into adulthood. 
“There are so many of us aging out and we have nowhere to go. When I was about to turn eighteen, I thought I was going to be completely homeless. I don’t know where I’d be,” Marisol reveals, highlighting the challenge many teens face.  Marisol doesn’t know what the future holds, but regardless of the direction she ultimately chooses, she knows her loving family will support her every step of the way. 

Watch even more of the Santana Family's adoption story here.


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For the Most Isolated

Among the children and teens we serve, 34% are in group care settings. Youth in group care live in institutional settings, isolated from community and outside of a family environment. These kids face dire obstacles to finding adoptive families, often waiting more than five years for the life-changing connection of a permanent family. Yet, there is hope. With the help of programs like Weekend Family Connections, we nearly doubled the number of kids from group settings that found adoptive placements this past year.  

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Community Connections

For children of color, maintaining meaningful connection with their culture and racial identity is essential as they navigate adoption. That's why we've focused on recruiting families of color into the adoption process and on creating trainings for families on racial and cultural identity.

This was the second year for the Outreach and Support Coordinator for Adoptive Families of Color, Mary Liz Nogueras. This program has made great progress in developing relationships with cultural hubs and in creating new peer-to-peer support groups and other educational supports for prospective and adoptive families of color. With consistent relationship building in these communities, we continued a multi-year increase in the number of families of color adopting from foster care.

Mary Liz has also worked to develop a new series of trainings for foster and adoptive parents to help them advocate for their children’s positive racial and cultural identity and provide ongoing opportunities for their children to experience and maintain their connection to their own culture.  


Sibling Connections

The bond between siblings can be one of the only stable connections children keep in a turbulent foster care system. Finding families that can adopt multiple children and keep sibling groups together is one of the most important ways we can serve these youth. This year we placed ninety siblings together, representing dozens of sibling groups now in adoptive families. 

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Placements by Attribution

In total, 249 children receiving MARE services were placed in adoptive homes last year. The majority of those placements were directly attributable to MARE services, programs, and events.

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Placements by Key Demographics

We are especially focused on groups most likely to wait the longest for adoptive homes: children of color, teens, siblings, LGBTQ+ youth, and those with disabilities. 87% of our 249 placements served these target groups - 209 placements in total. 

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Videosnapshots are short films that capture the unique spirit and authentic voice of each child, so that we are more able to connect them to families for adoption.These videos actively challenge and dismantle stereotypes and misconceptions about youth in foster care. As we empower youth to share their voice, it enables them to connect with families in a more personal way. That's why we are thrilled to share that last year, we crafted more than 30 videosnapshots, opening a window into their unique personalities, hopes, and aspirations.

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Full Financial Statements and conflict of interest policy available upon request.

82% program services

10% fundraising

8% management & general

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At KPMG, we are committed to the communities in which we live. We are passionate about MARE’s mission. There are so many children in need of a permanent, stable family, and we couldn’t be happier to support the organization in any way that we can!

Stephen Briggs
Corporate Donor

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The saddest thing in life is wasted talent. Everyone needs a family to help them discover their talents and have meaningful lives.  Social workers come and go, but family is forever.  No other organization does the work of MARE of helping to create families for these wonderful kids, who just need the permanency that only comes with a family.  I was lucky enough to adopt my son through MARE.  Its been quite a journey and I am so grateful to Bridget Chiaruttini and the rest of the MARE organization for their great work.  But in order for MARE to reach the maximum impact, it needs financial support.  That is why I am glad to support MARE in any way that I can. 

Mary Moran
Individual Donor

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The Foundation’s trustees have had the satisfaction of seeing our grants significantly improve the public-facing and back-office capabilities of MARE. It takes people, technology, knowledge and heart to connect kids with forever families, and MARE has a well-deserved reputation for delivering. The short-term results may be numerical but the long-term outcomes are permanence, love and happiness.

Margaret Carr
George Frederick Jewett Foundation East
Grant Funder

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