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“Aleenah” by Ebersole Photography

November marked 60 years since Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange was founded through a Declaration of Trust. MARE was created expressly to facilitate matches between waiting children and families interested in adoption– the same thing we do today.


Check out our 60 year timeline on the back page!

60 YEARS OF PURPOSE “…to establish and carry on a statewide service of information amongst charitable adoption agencies, to bring together adoptable children to appropriate adoptable applicants whose needs cannot be met by the agency to whom the application has been made. It shall provide the means for exchange of information about children available for adoption and adoptive applicants.”

Dear Friends, The beginning of this year was transformational as we moved the agency’s office from Downtown Crossing to suburban Newton. After 60 years anchored in Boston, from Washington Street to West Street to Boylston Street and lastly Franklin Street, we made the decision that the best move for MARE was out of the city. The move was symbolic as well as literal. The agency was growing and changing how and where we do our work. Some changes were physical: brighter open office plan to encourage collaboration, a glassed-in conference room allowing us to host workshops and meetings, plenty of free parking. But of equal importance were the organizational changes taking place, including a new website and database, a strategic planning process, and targeted programmatic shifts to meet the needs of a growing population of children in foster care. We may look different now, but at its heart MARE remains focused on its mission – finding homes for children and teens in foster care. I am pleased to share this Annual Report with you to showcase the progress that was made over the past year. For the many of you who support us as adoptive families, social workers, volunteers, and donors, THANK YOU. Sincerely Lisa Funaro, Executive Director

“Walk/Run” by Terry Louison

MEETING THE NEED MARE was able to keep pace with the increase in child registrations (13%) with a similar increase in child placements (12%). To address the high caseloads, the decision was made to bring back the Director of Child Services position to oversee 4 Child Service Coordinators (CSCs), a change which occurred at the start of FY19. CSCs increased work in the field – meeting more frequently face-to-face with adoption workers. MARE served 928 waiting children and teens and 3,918 families in FY18 through our complementary programming departments - Child Services and Family Support Services.


Number of Children Needing Adoptive Homes* FY18 1,136 FY17 850 FY16 800

Number of Children in Care* FY18 9,600 FY17 9,600 FY16 8,700

* at the close of the fiscal year

BY THE NUMBERS Child Services Children Served

Child Placements into Adoptive Homes

FY18 928 FY17 922 FY16 996



New Child Registrations



FY18 488 FY17 431 FY16 399



Average Length of Time Registered with MARE before Placement FY18 1.46 years FY17 1.42 years FY16 1.13 years

Average Age at Time of Placement FY18 6.8 FY17 7.25 FY16 6.68

Family Support Services New Families FY18 1,846 FY17 1,615 FY16 1,535

Family Contacts by Family Support Staff FY18 2,452 FY17 1,793 FY16 1,992

New Mentor/Mentee Relationships FY18 51 FY17 34 FY16 14

Family Constellation Facts

87% Couples

13% Single Parents

16% LGBTQ-led Families

CHILD SERVICES The children who are registered with MARE are those who have a goal of adoption and for whom no adoptive resource (family member or foster parent) has been identified. We often describe our caseload as “including those considered more difficult to place.” The truth is, it is not simple to find the right family for any child, but there are groups for which it is much harder. Those children are most at risk of aging out of the system at 18. With the influx of children into foster care in Massachusetts and the correlating rise in MARE’s caseload, it could be tempting to focus energy on moving all the easiest placements through. However, the organization was founded specifically to serve the hardest to place children, thus we are making a coordinated effort to find adoptive homes for those who have been waiting the longest, those who have not had inquiries, and those who have needs that drastically narrow the number of eligible families. After children are registered with MARE by their adoption worker, they are assigned a Child Services Coordinator (CSC) based upon geographic region. The CSC crafts a recruitment plan to find a permanent family for the child using an array of tools, including multimedia profiles, news campaigns, events, and community outreach. CSCs also respond to inquiries from families and review homestudies in an attempt to match each waiting child with a pre-adoptive family.

“Chloe” by Judy West

RECRUITING FOR ALIJAH: PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF Registered with MARE in February 2014, Alijah was then a happy and sweet 6 year old boy with global developmental delays and a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. His biggest love was the characters from Kung-Fu Panda. Recruitment for Alijah was dependent on showcasing his personality through words, photos, and video, as adoption parties were not a realistic option for him. Over 4 years, MARE staff facilitated 19 media campaigns which resulted in just 10 total inquiries. CSCs looked for internal matches every few months and utilized national databases as well. In June of 2017, the Maxwell Family from New York was featured in an AdoptUSKids newsletter and at the same time came up when the CSC ran matches for Alijah. The Maxwell family had actually inquired about Alijah after seeing his profile on the MARE website back in 2014. An update made to their MARE profile led to the new match. MARE reached out to the family’s social worker and found out the family was interested. A disclosure meeting occurred in March and then a slow transition took place over the spring/summer.


“Alijah” by Nicole Chan

Alijah moved into his new home (with 2 brothers, 1 sister, and a cat) in October. Sharing a happy photo of Alijah, his mom said, “I cannot believe how blessed we are to wake up and see this beautiful smile every day!”

RECRUITMENT TOOLS Identifying Community Connections Children that have a tie to a specific community or group (i.e. a cultural connection or support network for a specific disability) are promoted within that community.

Heart Gallery The Heart Gallery is our photography display featuring professional portraits of waiting children. It is displayed physically and digitally at locations across the state. 42 Heart Gallery portraits were taken in FY18, a 40% increase from FY17.

Online Profiles/ Photos/ Videos Our website allows prospective adoptive families to view profiles, photos, and videos of waiting children from all over the state. Families can also search through profiles to find and inquire about children for whom they may be a good match. MARE created 578 online profiles last year, up from 464 in FY17.

FY18 Innovation: Professionalizing Videos See Kiley’s example as you turn the page. 32 video snapshots were created in FY18, an increase of 190% from FY17. Intensive Recruitment Through a grant from The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, MARE has 2 Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiters that provide intensive recruitment services for children who have been waiting for adoptive families the longest. This process includes case record review, regular meetings with children, assessment, recruitment plan creation, and adoption preparation.

FY18 Innovation: A Culture of Intensive Recruitment Taking a cue from the evidence-based and widely successful Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program, CSCs are engaging in intensive recruitment for a small number of children on their caseloads that have been waiting the longest or have been particularly difficult to place.

RECRUITMENT TOOLS Adoption Parties MARE hosted 10 of these interactive events bringing together waiting children, their social workers, and prospective adoptive families in a low-pressure atmosphere. Adoption parties are our most successful recruitment tool, accounting for 78 (27%) of FY18 placements.

FY18 Innovation: Teen Parties As this age group is generally not fond of traditional adoption parties, teen parties are smaller and have a focused activity. CSC Emily Goldberger worked with the Central Region to develop a ninja-warrior style party at Ultimate Obstacles in West Boylston. Matching Events Prospective families can have in-depth conversations with social workers about waiting children on their caseloads. MARE held 4 matching events in FY18.

Media Campaigns Waiting children are featured using a strengths-based model to appeal to a wide audience of potential adoptive parents. Two of our most visible media campaigns are Wednesday’s Child on WBZ and the Sunday’s Child column in The Boston Globe. MARE orchestrated 392 media placements in FY18. MARE Matching CSCs work to match waiting children with appropriate local and out-of-state families. CSCs use criteria in the MARE database to find families whose strengths are a fit for the needs of a particular child. They do the same assessment while reading homestudies or reviewing inquiries.

FY18 Innovation: Visiting Resources When CSC Maurine Albano met Peter, a single man with a grown adopted child, he was just getting back into exploring the process. Maurine suggested that he may like to be a visiting resource for Markel, a 13-year old with severe autism living in group care. Within a year, Peter had a homestudy completed, had transitioned Markel into his home, and is applying for guardianship.

GETTING FAMILIES TO THE FINISH LINE Family Support Services provides information, support, and resources for families who want to learn about adoption from foster care, as well as those families who are already in-process. Launched by MARE in 2008, Family Support was initially focused on recruiting families, as well as helping families move from their first call or email to becoming a licensed waiting family. Now, with a dedicated Communications Department that handles many of the outreach functions, Family Support can concentrate on ensuring that families who begin the process make it through to a succesful adoption.

FY18 FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES EVENTS Information Events MARE holds meet-and-greet events as well as informational sessions to introduce experienced adoptive families and prospective parents.

Connection Events MARE has designed events to bring together families of shared experiences and stages in the adoption process.

Education Events MARE provides educational opportunities through workshops and panels. To date, MARE has organized presentations on a range of topics including open adoption, trauma, and prenatal substance exposure. “Ecker Family� by Ebersole Photography

FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE MARE has long partnered with various religious institutions in promotion of adoption from foster care, both informally and as part of larger initiatives. During FY18, the foundation was built for a more comprehensive faith-based partnership program. It will focus on making strong connections with nonprofit agencies and leaders in faith-based communities throughout Massachusetts. Led by Family Support Coordinator Ricardo Franco, Ph.D. Divinity, outreach and planning culminated in the creation of the Faith-Based Collaborative Group, which began meeting monthly in March 2018. The group is comprised of 12-15 people from MARE, DCF, and nonprofits, including The Forgotten Initiative, Fostering Hope, and Emmanuel Gospel Center. Its purpose is to discuss strategic ways to bring foster care/adoption into the theological conversation and ministry practice in faith communities.

MENTOR/MENTEE PROGRAM Joe and Jim Hykel adopted their 2 sons from foster care in 2014. They have graciously volunteered their time on a number of occasions to speak with new families at events or on panels, and have served as a mentor family for the past several years. In February 2018, they were paired up with a new family – single dad Joey Colomba. Joey was hoping to adopt a boy between 5 and 10, and ended up with 11 and 12 year-old brothers! His family worker was initially not sure he could handle pre-teens, due to what she referred to as his gentle, sweet, parenting approach and lack of experience with limit setting. However, Joey has a lot of close family support and felt he would be up for the task with some guidance. Diane Tomaz, Director of Family Support Services knew that the Hykels would be the perfect mentor family due to the similar ages of the boys and the parenting style she had observed on the many occasions the Hykels came to MARE events. When asked what keeps them coming back, Joe shared, “My boys, Jim, and I love to help out in any way possible. We enjoy mentoring, volunteering, and donating our time at MARE events to give back to the organization that helped us form our family.”

“Dhamanjie” by Ebersole Photography

A VIDEO IS WORTH AN INFINITE NUMBER OF WORDS “I want a happy family that gives me what I need, which is just food, water, clothes, a bed with a pillow, and a blanket.” Eleven-year-old Kiley was a pro at describing what she wanted in a family and it was pretty simple – happiness was her top priority. A Heart Gallery photographer had captured her impish smirk and sweet face in a gorgeous portrait, and her online profile included a portion written by Kiley herself. However, it was Kiley’s presentation on camera that made all the difference. Singing along to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and kicking around a soccer ball outside, Kiley said that she was hoping to go to a good college so that she could someday be a DCF worker.

“Kiley” by Kent Earle

When Kiley was registered with MARE in June of 2017, her Child Services Coordinator sought to capitalize on Kiley’s personality with lots of media exposure. These efforts resulted in an average of 3.8 inquiries per month for 6 months. However, when MARE posted her video, shot by professional videographer Kent Earle, the floodgates opened. The next 2 months saw a 225% increase in inquiries and resulted in the loving adoptive home Kiley wanted. She was placed into the Dumas home on June 26, 2018 – almost a year to the day from being added to MARE’s caseload. “Rhilee” by Linda Fitzpatrick

“Zoey” by Shana Griffin

“Devondrick and Eliajah” by Lisa Anderson

DRIVING RESULTS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY For nearly 5 years, MARE worked on an overhaul and upgrade of its website and, along with it, the database used to store information on those we serve. MARE’s database is the backbone of the organization – it holds all data on children and families, facilitates the matching process, and provides outcomes for measurement and evaluation. MARE’s new website launched in February and has already proven to be a game-changer. The transition to an entirely web-based system for prospective adoptive families and social workers allows for quicker placements and permanency outcomes for waiting children. BENEFITS • Enhanced reporting capabilities that will inform programming changes and/or expansion. • Families use log-in credentials to access their unique account and have a dashboard through which they can keep track of their activity, send inquiries and requests to MARE, upload homestudies and other relevant documents, and register for events. • The ability for in-process families to view waiting children who are legal risk – a big change. The majority of waiting children fall into this category and the new website provides the security measures to allow the sharing of this information with appropriate families.

FY18 FINANCIALS Revenue DCF Individual Donations Foundation & Corporate Events In-Kind, Other Total Revenue

$ 754,921 $ 94,388 $ 407,014 $ 128,344 $ 277,000 $ 1,661,667

Expenses Program Services General & Administrative Fundraising Total Expenses

$ 1,324,224 $ 179,640 $ 118,409 $ 1,622,273

Assets Net Assets Beginning of Year Net Assets End of Year Change in Net Assets

$ 396,253 $ 435,647 $ 39,394

Special Thanks MARE would not be successful without the support of the following:

Foundation Partners The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Jack Williams Endowment for Wednesday’s Child

Agency Partners Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Children & Families Ascentria Care Alliance Berkshire Children & Families Bright Futures Adoption Center Cambridge Family & Children’s Service Child & Family Services Fall River Child & Family Services Lawrence Children’s Friend Home for Little Wanderers Justice Resource Institute Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Media Partners WBZ – Channel 4 The Boston Globe

Corporate Partner Jordan’s Furniture

EXPENSES Programs – 82% Fundraising – 7% Admin – 11%

“Alexis” by Aaron Schwartz

A HUGE shout-out to the hundreds of social workers who work tirelessly with our children and families every day. Special thanks to our 34 photographer/videographer volunteers 235 event volunteers 92 experienced family volunteers for their dedicated support.

MAJOR DONORS The following each contributed $1,000 or greater through financial and in-kind donations to MARE during the fiscal year. $100,000 and above Jordan’s Furniture The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption $50,000 - $99,999 Clipper Ship Foundation, Inc. Jack Williams Endowment For Wednesday’s Child $25,000 - $49,999 George F. Jewett Foundation East The Estate of Selina L. Mastrocola $10,000 - $24,999 Albert W. Rice Charitable Foundation Charles H. Hall Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts DCU For Kids George H. and Jane A. Mifflin Memorial Fund Gratis Foundation John W. Alden Trust The Peabody Foundation, Inc. Wells Fargo Foundation $5,000 - $9,999 Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation Anthony and Kristine Jordan Boston Bruins Foundation Ellen Abbot Gilman Trust EY Grand Lodge Massachusetts Knights of Pythias Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation

$5,000 - $9,999 continued Jamie and Meg Grant KPMG, LLP Laurie and Jill Campbell Lorrie and Paul Deletetsky Orville W. Forté Charitable Foundation, Inc. Stephen and Wendy Briggs The Brown-Cullinane Family $2,500 - $4,999 Bethesda Lodge #30 Independent Order Of Odd Fellows BNY Mellon Community Partnership Bob Hallett and Joanne Donovan Boston Bruins Community Relations Bridget and David Chiaruttini Brookline Bank Christopher and Eileen Maza Citizen’s Bank - Greater Boston Consumer Banking Team Dana and Amanda Lehman Florence Electric, LLC GE Foundation George A. Ramlose Foundation Insource Services, Inc. Jason Hayes Foundation Jean and Robert Ricci Jonathan and Beth Nicholson Katherine Funaro Ken Aspeslagh and Rachel Harris Liberty Mutual Marc and Catherine Langer Maximus Foundation Michelle and James Cuff Randy Ross and Jill Smith Samuel Engel and Anne Freeh Shurtleff Children’s Services Smith and Nephew Tracey Aronson Wellesley Bank Charitable Foundation

$1,000 - $2,499 Barbara and James Froio Bethany Grazio Dawn and Steven Mesite Hub Parkour Training Center Jane and P.T. Hart John and Linda Sbrogna Joseph McLaughlin Karen Litchfield Keith and Marie Ventimiglia Kevin and Melissa Martin Louis Tucker Louise Lazare Mark Zuroff Mary Belge and Keri Califano Paddy’s Irish Pub Peter Borans Steven and Allison Weber Tallena and Jermaine Wiggins The Cape Club of Sharon

FY18 Board of Directors Anthony Jordan, President Dana Lehman*, Vice President Steve Briggs, Treasurer Jeff Kruck, Clerk Tracey Aronson* Paul Deletetsky* Lisa Funaro Jamie Grant Jane Hart* Tony LaCasse* Karen Litchfield Deborah Yamin* *Adoptive Parent

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