JOIN OUR FOUNDERS’ CIRCLE CAMPAIGN!
Join our family as we create a New home!
Hope in a Suitcase and Make Good, Inc. are in urgent need of Founder’s Circle Funding Partners to help us raise $400,000 to secure and create our New Home for The Emporium: Foster Resource & Literacy Center. Please read below for more information. Email us at email@example.com if you would like additional details or would like to schedule a visit.
All June & July donations up to $100,000 will be matched by pledge of generous supporters of Hope in a Suitcase & Make Good, Inc.
We Will Recognize Founding Gifts on a Prominent Wall of Our New Building and Our Webpage:
· $50,000 or more Anchors Circle
· $25,000 or more Founders Circle
· $12,500 or more Platinum Circle
· $ 7,500 or more Gold Circle
· $ 5,000 or more Silver Circle
Any contribution you are able to give is welcome & appreciated. Every Dollar Counts!
Why Hope in a Suitcase?
There are approximately 35,000 children in foster care in Los Angeles alone. They are separated from their families through no fault of their own, often because their parents are unable to keep them safe.
As anyone can imagine, it can be very scary for a child to suddenly leave his or her family and transition into a foster family. Children are generally able to bring very few personal belongings, and they often don’t even have a suitcase or duffel bag in which to carry them. Having to transport their property in plastic garbage bags or pillow cases can be a very depersonalizing experience, especially when the average foster child may move between different foster homes 3 to 4 times while in care.
We want foster children to know that there are people who care about their wellbeing and hope they soon find the stability they deserve. The simple gesture of receiving personalized attention, all new clothing, reading material and a suitcase they can call their own gives children the message that they are important and that their belongings deserve the same dignity they do. Older highest-need children are invited to choose for themselves items that fit their personal style, needs and body types, so they can enter a new school or community with confidence. Where Hope in a Suitcase leaves off (at age 18), our partners at The Emporium pick up, providing programing, resources, clothing and literacy materials to foster youth as they transition out of the foster care system and into young adulthood.
What Is The Emporium: Foster Resource & Literacy Center?
The Emporium: Foster Resource & Literacy Center is a collaborative effort between mission-aligned non-profits (Foster Care Counts, Make Good, Inc. / The Book Foundation and Hope in a Suitcase) that share resources to provide tangible necessities and increase positive outcomes for foster and vulnerable children and youth.
Our original mid-city location was opened in August of 2017 as the shared headquarters of Hope in a Suitcase and Make Good, Inc. There, tweens, teens and transition age foster youth (TAY) have been able to “shop” entirely free of charge for casual and business clothing, basic essentials and literacy material. Being able to leave with new clothing as they integrate into a new family, school or community or as they interview for jobs and internships is often life-changing for the young people who visit our space.
Due to new ownership, we’ve been forced to vacate our shared “open air” headquarters, from which we have collectively provided new clothing, literacy materials, luggage, and dignity to over 46,000 Los Angeles children.
We need your Highest Level of Support for a July 1 Move-in Date, in order to resume our services to foster children and youth in need of urgent assistance.
Our new home will require significantly higher rent and operating costs, and this is why we need your help to make this effort sustainable. The good news is that the New Emporium space will be a Game Changer in terms of our ability to significantly increase what we can offer our city’s most vulnerable kids!
Our Proof-of Concept “Starter” Space
Thanks to a generous grant from the Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker Foster Care Initiative, we were able to operate the first 2 years rent-free. During our “Proof of Concept” phase, approximately 97% of Hope in a Suitcase’s monetary budget has been allocated directly to program expenses and tangible items for the foster youth we serve.
Bare minimum overhead costs for our Starter Home have given us time to establish best practices, build partnerships with retailers, donors, other non-profit partners, and implement feedback from foster families, CASAs and social workers.
We have verified that there is a extensive need for our programs and that there are no other organizations currently fulfilling this need in our area. Our Shopping Days program has been particularly well received. Being able to choose for themselves NEW items that spark joy and fit their personal needs and style builds confidence and is particularly meaningful to foster tweens and teens, who often feel at the mercy of other people’s decisions. Some of our guests have never previously shopped for new clothes of their own! Many coordinate their appointments to reconnect with and shop alongside siblings placed with a different family.
“Hope in a Suitcase…builds up children and youth by instilling hope, conveying unconditional positive acceptance, extending kindness, modeling agency, and empowering participants to use their voice and choice…If I could duplicate Hope in a Suitcase for every agency serving children and youth in foster care, I would.”
— Sean Sparks, Program Coordinator from Children’s Bureau
Word has spread among foster families and social workers about The Emporium experience (check out the “Response from Social Workers" page of this website), and despite the challenges foster families often face with respect to scheduling and transportation, each Event we have held has been more highly attended than previous Events. By way of example, Hope in a Suitcase hosted 14 foster tweens and teens at our very first Shopping Day in September 2017. At our most recent Shopping Day in May 2019, and despite morning showers, we successfully outfitted 136 children with ALL NEW wardrobes, shoes, books, art supplies and luggage.
While we accomplished a lot, those who visited or volunteered at our original headquarters experienced the challenges of our original “open air” space. Inventory was tightly packing into a garage and a Tuffs shed. Shopping Days required 20+ strong volunteers to roll clothing racks, set up (and break down) pop-up dressing rooms and canopies, and to lift heavy tables, bins and boxes of clothing and shoes. Rainy days involved the tough choice between cancelling the Event or renting expensive tents and risking damage to our inventory. Windy days and hot days on asphalt tested us in other ways. We always found a way to make it work. But we have been bursting at the seams, and location challenges became a limiting factor and a drain on efficiency.
Our New Home Will Be a Giant Leap Forward
We will be able to serve children rain or shine!
Our new home will enable us to support a higher number of our city’s children, and we will be able to do so more quickly and effectively! It includes flexible space for community building through literacy, internship and mentoring programs. This new expansive home will help us create meaningful volunteer engagements, build opportunities, and facilitate lasting connections with the foster community.
Ample interior “SHOWROOM” area on the ground floor will allow for more comfortable, more frequent and less labor intensive (free-of-charge) “Shopping” opportunities for youth in foster care during their most vulnerable times. Social workers will be able to refer children ages 7 - 17 (and of course their younger siblings) who are ENTERING the foster care system or who have recently moved between homes to Hope in a Suitcase’s Shopping Boutique. Youth who are transitioning OUT of foster care can schedule an appointment with Make Good’s TAY Boutique for a seamless transition.
Our new space will allow us to tell youth in urgent need of assistance, “YES, COME TODAY.” A child entering foster care under emergency circumstances needs clothing for his or her first day at a new school? “YES, COME TODAY.” A youth who has recently aged out of the system needs clothing for a job interview? “YES, COME TODAY.”
“It is an amazing transformation not only in appearance by in spirit. You have to see it to fully understand it.”
--Cesar Guillen, DCFS Youth Permanency Unit
Please come see for yourself and join our Family in the next chapter of The Emporium: Foster Resource & Literacy Center.
Important Charitable Contribution Details
Charitable contributions are deductible to the extent allowed by law. Hope in a Suitcase is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, tax identification number 47-5071911. For all monetary donations, you will receive a letter from us confirming your donation for tax purposes. Click here for a copy of our IRS tax exempt notice.
Be sure to specify with your donation how you would like to be recognized. We will of course also honor all requests by donors who would prefer to remain anonymous.
If you would like to contribute by check, please send to our mail center box: Hope in a Suitcase, 311 N. Robertson Blvd, #715, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Please make checks out to “Hope in a Suitcase.”