Human Services

Family Lives on Foundation

  • Lionville, PA
  • www.familyliveson.org

Mission Statement

Family Lives On Foundation, formerly Mommy's Light, brings joy and comfort to grieving children, teens and their families by helping them continue cherished traditions.

Main Programs

  1. Direct Services
  2. Tradition Fulfillment Services
  3. OUTREACH AND BEREAVEMENT EDUCATION PROGRAM:
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

ruling year

1998

Chair, Board of Directors

Self-reported

Mike Maher

Keywords

Self-reported

bereavement, death of parent, children's grief, bereaved children, bereavement education, child's grieving, child grieving, child mourning, children mourning, children grieving,

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Also Known As

Family Lives On

EIN

23-2929922

 Number

1269687333

Physical Address

411 Eagleview Boulevard Suite 110

Exton, 19341

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

More than two million children and teens in the US are grieving the deaths of their moms or dads. Family Lives On Foundation’s groundbreaking Tradition FulfillmentSM program helps these young people and their families continue cherished traditions as a therapeutic tool that enables them to move beyond the death story to celebrate the life story of the loved one who has died. Serving children once a year, every year, until they are 18, the Tradition Fulfillment program supports grieving children as they mature and reach developmental milestones. The rigor of ongoing support is pivotal in increasing stability and security in a child’s life.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Direct Services

Our free direct services support maternally bereaved children in continuing traditions and simple pleasures they shared with their mothers. Our services legitimize a child's natural need to maintain a connection to a mother who has died and elevates the reverence of the selected tradition for all who participate. As soon as Family Lives On (FLO) receives an application from a family, two trained volunteers meet with the child(ren) and parent(s) or guardian(s) to discuss the tradition or simple pleasure that the child(ren) shared with his mother and wants to continue. Subject to request fulfillment guidelines, FLO makes and pays for the entire request arrangements. The first child served by FLO is Max. Max was seven years old when his mother contacted FLO. She was in the final stages of breast cancer. Max loved gardening with his mom and wanted to continue this tradition even though his mom was too sick to dig in the dirt. Max told FLO what color flowers he wanted to plant. That year, Max and his family planted blue flowers delivered by FLO to celebrate Mother's Day. Max's mom died the following winter. FLO has continued to support Max's flower planting tradition for the last 5 years. Max's new stepmother recently shared with FLO how excited he is when planting time arrives and how this day provides a special and unique opportunity for Max to express himself and his feelings about his mom. Our volunteers pay close attention to the details of each request. For example, when Jacob went to a NASCAR race with his mom and family every year, his mom always packed turkey sandwiches for him and bologna sandwiches for his brother. Down to the type of mustard Jacob likes on his sandwich, FLO will help him continue this tradition once a year until he turns 18. FLO serves all eligible children and teens regardless of race, gender, religion, socio-economic status, or the cause of the mother's illness or death. FLO has experienced exponential growth in the number of children served since serving Max in 2000.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Program 2

Tradition Fulfillment Services

More than two million children and teens in the US are grieving the deaths of their moms or dads. Family Lives On Foundation's groundbreaking Tradition Fulfillment program helps these young people and their families continue cherished traditions as a therapeutic tool that enables them to move beyond the death story to celebrating the life story of the loved one who has died. This is healing. This is hope. And, this is critical because these children are at a much greater risk for psychological and behavioral problems, and are more likely to spend time in jail than their non-bereaved peers. Conversely, if given support tools like our Tradition Fulfillment services, these same children and their families are more likely to move from being survivors to thrivers. Bereavement expert Alicia S. Franklin, LICSW, GMS, states: "This Tradition Fulfillment program provides an opportunity to activate the memories, not just speak of them. The experiential engagement of the activity utilizes all five senses and can be a more powerful healing tool to help move a child through grief to healing. The program is also family based rather than support group oriented. It is child directed, not other focused. It is designed and fulfilled as the grieving child directs, not as someone else determines. it is truly a life-focusing and child-centered intervention. It represent the very best of child-focused bereavement support services." In order to provide our critical services, we rely on generous contributions from strategic partners to fund capacity-building initiatives that will allow us to support thousands of grieving children and their families.

Category

Human Services

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

Budget

$187,973.00

Program 3

OUTREACH AND BEREAVEMENT EDUCATION PROGRAM:

The purposes of our bereavement education materials are to provide a foundation for people to understand healthy bereavement and information about circumstances when additional resources might be helpful. Our bereavement education materials for grieving young people and their loved ones are available on our website, www.familyliveson.org.

Our materials explain the range of emotions and other responses that a grieving child might be experiencing, offer helpful suggestions as to whom a child can turn with related questions and issues, offer ways in which children can remember their mothers and fathers, describe bereavement so those in a child's life can understand and provide support, and identify behaviors that indicate a child might need additional help.

Category

None

Population(s) Served

Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)

None

None

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Family Lives On’s mission is to bring joy and comfort to grieving children, teens and their families by helping them continue cherished traditions. The death of a parent changes internal family dynamics and may result in greater isolation among family members if this change is ignored and new methods of communicating are not developed. Currently, the majority of bereavement support services offer programs for individual family members outside the context of family life, rather than for family units at home.

    Our program is the only bereavement support tool that serves a child once a year, each year, until the child is 18 years old. The longevity and continuity of our services nurture and sustain family connections, including with the loved one who has died, throughout the child’s developmental process. The individualized and self-directed nature of our program empowers children and their families to use a lifelong bereavement support tool that helps them honor the past, celebrate the present and build the future.

    Our Tradition Fulfillment program addresses three critical and oftentimes unmet needs in child and family bereavement support, providing families with intra-family connection and communication, ongoing support (year after year) and opportunities to celebrate a loved one's life story. Bereavement expert Alicia S. Franklin, LICSW, GMS, states:
    “This Tradition Fulfillment program provides an opportunity to activate the memories, not just speak of them. The experiential engagement of the activity utilizes all 5 senses and can be a more powerful healing tool to help move a child through grief to healing. The program is also family-based rather than support group oriented. It is child-directed, not other-focused. It is designed and fulfilled as the grieving child directs, not as someone else determines. It is truly a life focusing and child-centered intervention.”

    Our sixteen years of experience serving the grieving community has proved that Tradition Fulfillment is a vital therapeutic intervention. Our goal is to make our Tradition Fulfillment program available to more grieving children. We aim to grow our direct services to 500 children, and reach an even wider population through our online Tradition Fulfillment tool.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    We currently serve a very small fraction of children in need, but by leveraging technology, we can go from serving hundreds to serving millions. The new website will have content specifically targeted to help educate guardians, children, and counselors throughout the United States about childhood bereavement. The goal of the website is to educate all audiences on the importance of grieving and how our Tradition FulfillmentSM Program can aid the grieving process. The website will include tools that engage both the child and guardians in remembering the deceased by uploading images, text, and video, helping to create conversation between child and guardian. The online Tradition Fulfillment Program will allow each user to decide the level of volunteer assistance needed, with the options of learning how to fulfill a tradition independently, scheduling an interview to aid in tradition selection, or receiving direct services from Family Lives On. The website will also include a forum that will connect the guardians, allowing them to chat, vent, and share advice. The first phase of the website, strategic planning and discovery, was completed with the financial support from Jefferson University Hospital.

    Our vision for the future includes three comprehensive levels of service: full logistical and financial support for up to 500 children annually through our direct services, a self-guided approach utilizing the interactive Tradition Fulfillment website, and a combination of the two that provides coaching and support to those using the website to identify and continue their traditions.

    Targeted outreach with bereavement organizations providing acute support (camps, support groups) will allow us to collaborate to provide a more comprehensive bereavement experience for grieving children. Partnering with organizations that currently provide support to grieving children will allow us to grow exponentially and reach our direct services goals.

    Family Lives On receives funding from a variety of dedicated sources - special events, foundations, corporations and annual giving. A key initiative in Fiscal Year 2014 is the kickoff of an endowment campaign with the goal of raising $3 million in 3 years. Once in place, an endowment of this size would cover the out-of-pocket costs for over 500 grieving children. We are also seeking to increase corporate sponsorship, as well as individual donors and grants.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    At the core of Family Lives On’s strengths are the people who ensure the consistent implementation of our Tradition Fulfillment program to the children and families currently enrolled. This includes a diverse Board of Directors, a staff that has been restructured to maximize attention on serving bereaved children, and a fully trained volunteer force committed to serving our families until each child graduates from our Tradition Fulfillment program.

    Trained volunteers work with the child to identify a tradition they shared with their mother or father, and that they want to continue. Volunteers engage the child and family in child-focused manner. Each eligible child, including multiple siblings in a single family, is encouraged to articulate his or her own tradition. Currently served children have chosen activities such as going to the zoo, skating rink and movie theater; baking cookies, muffins and cakes; back-to-school shopping; and planting flowers. Family Lives On then provides the logistical and financial resources for the family and child’s annual participation in the requested tradition or simple pleasure until the child reaches the age of 18 years.

    Our staff includes four full-time employees, one part-time employee, and one independent contractor.
    A full-time Program Manager oversees the volunteers as they serve the families in the program. The Program Manager records and tracks all details of the tradition from the first interview through each delivery. The consistency of the single point of contact ensures that all aspects of the tradition are carried out with the detail and in the timeframe agreed to in the initial interview. Our Program Manager also administers volunteer training throughout the year to safeguard our 2:3 ratio of volunteers to children in the Tradition Fulfillment program.

    Effective August, 2013, new Board President Jennifer Robinson brings over 20 years of experience in business development, strategic planning, marketing and sales. In fiscal year 2014, Executive Director Chris Cavalieri and Development Director Kelly Becker also joined the Family Lives On team. Chris comes from an organizational development background, specializing in evidence based, data-driven strategic planning. Kelly brings Development and Marketing experience from both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    Our volunteer evaluations are tracked and measured online through a partnership with K12 Insight. Family feedback is tracked and measured at two points - a phone interview to measure the effectiveness of the tradition delivery from an operational standpoint and a paper evaluation to assess the overall impact of the Tradition Fulfillment program. These evaluations are routinely reviewed to identify any areas of improvement to enhance the overall impact of the tradition celebration. For the past three years, Family Lives On has boasted a family retention rate of greater than 95%.

    Our success is measured when we have provided our Tradition Fulfillment services to grieving children, and the evaluations from the families, volunteers and Tradition Partners average 4 or higher on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest evaluation. Another component of our success will be a family retention rate of greater than 90%.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    In the past 16 years, we have fulfilled over 1,000 traditions and supported over 250 children and their families. We have taken continual steps to reach more children through responsible growth. With the use of Skype technology, we now interview and support families that live outside of our geographic region. We have successfully migrated from serving only families whose mothers have died to launching Daddy’s Light services, where we now also support families grieving the loss of their father. The completion of Phase One of our website development, strategic planning and discovery, ensures that our leap into the web phase of our growth is based on solid reasoning and the revealed need.

    Our biggest barrier to growing our direct services is balancing the funding for the long-term support of the families in our program, with the financial resources needed to support an influx of additional families.
    One of the most important measures of our success is in the form of qualitative feedback from those we serve. Here are a few examples of what Family Lives On families have to say:

    “I wouldn’t change a thing about my tradition, the memories are too good. I can feel my mom here with us enjoying the beach, running into the water and collecting shells. . . .” – Tony, a son

    “After my mom died, I thought that it was over for us to have any relationship, but Family Lives On taught me differently and allowed me to remember my mother every year through a tradition.” – Chudney, a daughter

    “This organization provides very special experiences that we would never have otherwise. My kids have stronger memories of their mom because Family Lives On presents opportunities to talk about her and the things she loved to do. . . . Family Lives On is truly a beacon of light for the men and children who suffer the loss of their wives and mothers.” – Rich, a father
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

Social Media

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

FAMILY LIVES ON FOUNDATION
Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Family Lives on Foundation

Leadership

NEED MORE INFO ON THIS NONPROFIT?

Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2015, 2014 and 2013
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Community
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Chair, Board of Directors

Mike Maher

BIO

Michael J. Maher, Jr., - Michael is Chairman and Principal of Valley Forge Financial Group, where he utilizes his strong analytical background to assist business owners and affluent families manage wealth, to advise corporations on the planning, design and oversight of their retirement programs, and to facilitate investment programs for foundations and endowments. Mike earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Management at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. An active member of the Investment Management Consultants Associate, he received his CIMA® in 1999, and holds Series 7, 24, 51, 63 and 65 licenses with the FINRA. In the past, Michael was chairman of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization. Michael joined the Family Lives On Board as Treasurer in January of 2014.

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Jennifer Robinson

No Affiliation

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization


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BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?


RESPONSE NOT PROVIDED

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?