PORTLAND, Oregon - Arby's Foundation awarded a $46,300 grant to Friends of the Children-Portland to support its evidence-based mentoring program. Founded in Portland, Friends of the Children partners with public schools and the foster care system to proactively select kindergarteners experiencing the greatest challenges and provide them with 1:1 support from full-time, salaried mentors (called Friends) for 12 + years – from kindergarten through high school graduation.
The Arby's Foundation gift was raised through sales proceeds at Oregon Arby's restaurants. The opportunity began in 2019, when Stephen Lutfi, Arby's restaurants owner, invited his teams to raise funds with the intention of donating proceeds to a local nonprofit. Ultimately, Lutfi and his team chose Friends of the Children-Portland due to the program's generational impact.
Funding will support Friends of the Children-Portland as they begin enrolling 85 high-priority kindergarteners into their mentoring program this spring—the organization's largest selection class yet. For eight weeks, selection teams will work closely with teachers and counselors at five elementary schools across the Portland area in order to observe and identify kindergarten-aged youth for enrollment into the program. Friends of the Children currently serves over five hundred youth in the Portland Metro Area. Our youth are in approximately 160 schools throughout 18 school districts.