Better Business Bureau has announced Friends of the Children–Portland as the 2018 Charity of the Year Torch Awards winner for the entire Northwest and Pacific service region.
Better Business Bureau’s annual Torch Awards are presented to businesses and charities that demonstrate excellence in their dedication to high standards of trust, integrity and ethical business practices in the marketplace. This is the first year that the Torch Award has had a Charity of the Year category for the Northwest and Pacific service area, which includes Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Western Wyoming. The Charity of the Year category specifically honors 501c(3) organizations that demonstrate effectiveness in impacting positive change in the community in an ethical and responsible way.
Julie Witt, vice president at Better Business Bureau Northwest, presented the award to the entire staff of Friends of the Children–Portland. During the presentation, she shared what brought the organization to the top of the list. "Friends of the Children has some pretty amazing metrics," Witt exclaimed. Friends of the Children has three long-term outcomes of which the majority of program graduates meet and exceed: 83 percent graduate high school or obtain a GED, 98 percent avoid early parenting and 93 percent avoid involvement in the juvenile justice system.
"Obviously in any organization, any charity, any foundation your goal is to have an impact on the communities that you serve, and you do some pretty amazing work," Witt continued. "Not only does Friends of the Children meet all of BBB's 20 charity accountability standards, but you are very much Charity of the Year."
While BBB accreditation is not required for consideration of the award, awardees must still demonstrate that they meet a minimum of 15 out of 20 Standards of Charity Accountability and are making progress towards meeting all 20 standards. 15 charities across the region were recognized as finalists for the award.
Friends of the Children–Portland's Executive Director, Pietro Ferrari, sees the award as recognition for the continuous dedication that supporters have provided in helping youth become their best: "We really see the Torch Awards as a way to say thank you to our community for the trust and value that they place in the work that we do. Having the consistent and continued support of our investors is what makes our 12+ year promises to our youth possible. That level of commitment from our supporters is truly deserving of the recognition that this award brings.”
In regards to what makes Friends of the Children deserving of the 2018 Charity of the Year Torch Award, Ferrari stated, “From our supporters and our staff all the way through to the youth we serve, the drive and determination that I see exhibited every day is unparalleled. Our program youth and their families are especially incredible in this regard. It’s an honor and a privilege to be in their lives, a role that we cherish and take on with a great sense of responsibility.”