Forward Foundation helps families through education, financial resources and support

An organization in the Richmond area is helping single parents as they navigate raising their families.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 3:29 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 4:34 PM EDT
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HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) - An organization in the Richmond area is helping single parents as they navigate raising their families.

The Forward Foundation is a “nonprofit dedicated to assisting working, single parents and their children in the Greater Richmond area who are in the midst of a financial crisis.”

“On paper, they’re making too much money. In real life, they’re not making enough to be able to cover their bills. And so, what can we do to bridge that gap and provide them that support that they need to help men and women?” said Executive Director Andrea Starr.

The organization offers educational opportunities and financial resources and provides a community of families.

“[Maybe] you’ve gone through, or you’re going through a divorce. You may have extended litigation. You’re dealing with, or you could have had, you know, death in the family, caring for an elderly parent, lots of different things that can cause financial crisis,” said Starr. “What Forward Foundation does is we are a gap filler. We are working to be able to provide assistance via offering community education, career advancement, opportunities for these single parents that would not be eligible for services through the state based upon their income.”

For parents like Dani Kinker, the Forward Foundation came into her life when she was stressed about finding childcare. Kinker is in school, and she was in a bind when classes went from virtual to back in person. Kinker posted on Facebook, looking for help.

“And in one of the VA mom groups, this wonderful woman, Andrea [Starr], reached out to me and said, “Hey, I see that you’re a single mom. I’d love to talk with you sometime. I might be able to help you out.” To be honest, at first, I was thinking, is this a scam? And I almost didn’t respond,” said Kinker.

Responding led to assistance with childcare and educational programs on setting up benefits and 529 College Savings Plans.

“Having this community of women that genuinely care about each other has been the most life-changing thing for me that the Forward Foundation has brought into my life,” she explained.

The Forward Foundation typically helps 12-15 families per year, but Starr hopes to see that number grow.

“The goal is absolutely to be able to double that size. We have a really wonderful opportunity to make that happen,” said Starr. “We were presented with a challenge match at the beginning of this year. So, we have an anonymous donor that has presented us with a $100,000 challenge match. That means if we can match those funds dollar for dollar, we have it. We have a match back up to 100,000, and that would be life-altering for the foundation.”

To learn more about the Forward Foundation and how to apply for assistance or donate, click here.