About the Foundation

Each year over 1,400 youth in San Joaquin County find themselves in Foster Care due to neglect, abuse or abandonment. The Mary Graham Children’s Foundation is a private non-profit 501 (c)3 organization formed by local concerned individuals to give support to local foster youth, picking up where other systems of support leave off.

Our foster youth start off their childhood with difficulties no child should have to face, and unfortunately, their transition into adulthood can be just as difficult. On their 18th birthday, our Foster Youth are processed out of the foster care system, and are largely on their own in the world…on their own with minimal financial support, no parents to fall back on, and with limited education and job skills. Your support of our Foundation makes a life-changing difference in these children’s ability to successfully transition out of care and into life on their own.

The Foundation’s fundraising efforts are dedicated to supplementing County funds to increase the education and enrichment programs, equipment, and capital improvements that directly benefit the children at the Shelter…and further, to provide trade school and college scholarship opportunities for these children and those who are placed in the foster care system and have since”aged out”… all innocent victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

Please join us and invest in these youths futures! Your donation can change lives.
Tax ID number 94-3377000

Historic Dates

2000 – Foundation founded to replace the old brick Shelter with a new state of the art shelter.

2003 – New Shelter built and 1st year of Trade School & College Scholarship Program supporting 4 promising youth.

2008 – First Art Auction held auctioning off art pieces created by residents of Mary Graham Children’s Shelter.

2016 – Foundation supporting 36 former foster youth in a trade school, 4-year university or Jr. College, and has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships to date.

Our Mission

FOSTERING HOPE, FULFILLING DREAMS

OUR MISSION is to provide support that enhances life skills and education to local foster youth.

 

The Foundation’s fundraising efforts are dedicated to supplementing County funds to increase the education and enrichment programs, equipment, and capital improvements that directly benefit the children at the Shelter…and further, to provide trade school and college scholarship opportunities for these children and those who are placed in the foster care system and have since”aged out”… all innocent victims of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

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History

A TRADITION OF SUPPORT FOR OUR FOSTER YOUTH

Established in 2001, the MGCF strives to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged and at-risk youth of San Joaquin County. The driving force behind the Foundation’s inception was the need for suitable housing for innocent children removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment.

The Foundation, whose volunteer board includes business leaders, health care professionals, financial experts, and educators, rallied with the community and the Human Service Agency to replace the crumbling dormitory buildings that provided shelter to the children. The Foundation raised enough funds to build a child advocacy center where victims of abuse may be interviewed discreetly and with sensitivity. The new JD Kortzeborn Child Advocacy Center is located on the shelter’s grounds and provides medical care for residents and other foster children.

Upon completion of the new Shelter the Foundation recognized a dismaying void in the continuum of care for foster children. Once these children attain adulthood, there is no provision for continued education and after-care. Without guidance and financial support systems, the odds of these children becoming successful, self-sufficient adults are low. Statistics show that former foster children comprise 40% of the nation’s homeless population. Many of which end up in the criminal justice system.

The Foundations rose to the challenge, and started its Trade School and College Scholarship Program in 2004. Eight students were initially enrolled at trade schools, community colleges, and state universities. Several students have since graduated and have began their careers. The Foundation’s contributions may include subsidized housing, special needs stipends, and tutoring services.

Concurrent with these efforts, the Foundation provided, and continues to provide, enrichment funds for the children placed in the protective custody of the Shelter. While government funds cover the basic living expenses-food, shelter, clothing-there are no funds for the little “extras” that enrich childhood-birthday parties, holiday gifts, outings to the movies and ball games, prom dresses and tuxedos, etc. The Foundation determined to cover these expenses and has supported the County’s mission to provide a safe, nurturing environment for these children while they begin their healing process.

In addition to this financial support, the Foundation has established a mentoring program for the scholarship recipients. Community volunteers from varied walks of life-physicians, attorneys, educators, philanthropists-have joined forces to lend a helping hand, open ears, and sometimes, a shoulder to cry on, so that the students can navigate through yet another stressful period in their lives.

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Enrichment Program

BUILDING LIFE SKILLS AND EMOTIONAL WELL BEING

The Foundation provides funds to the Shelter for enrichment programs so that the children placed in the protective custody of the Shelter can strengthen their self esteem. While government funds cover basic living expenses-food, shelter, clothing- there are no funding streams for the little “extras” that address their emotional and skills developmental needs. These enrichment funds cover:

  • Art Classes
  • Music Lessons
  • Cooking Classes
  • Duffel bags
  • Birthday Parties
  • Holiday Parties
  • Outings to movies, and sporting events
  • Prom dresses and tuxedos
  • Educational field trips
  • And much more

All of the above go a long way to strengthen these children’s self esteem, identify new interests and skills and improve their overall emotional well being.

Board of Directors

President ERIN GUY CASTILLO, Esq. Parish Guy Castillo, PLC
Vice President RANDY BURNS Waterloo-Morada Fire District
Treasurer SUSAN LENZ Iacopi, Lenz & Company
Member RYAN BIEDERMANN  San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department
Member DIANNE DREW BUTLER, Esq. Dianne Drew Butler & Associates, Inc.
Member ROBYN F. CHESHIRE  Visit Stockton
Member MICHAEL DUFFY CEO Financial Center Credit Union
Member DIANNE GINI Senior V.P., Collins Electric
Member KERRY HECKMAN-BOKIDES Business Owner, Educator
Member VALENCIA JONES Associate Vice President/Nationwide Insurance
Member CLAUDIA PRUETT  
Member ALEXIS STEVENS, Esq. Somach Simmons & Dunn
Member DR. EARL TAYLOR Physician
Member WILLIAM R. TREZZA CEO, Bank of Agriculture & Commerce
Member JOHN VERA Retired Director, Human Services Agency
Member MELANIE VIEUX Principal Architect, WMB Architects
Member MARK YOST San Joaquin County Office of Education