Karen Olson was rushing to a business meeting when she passed a homeless woman on the street. On impulse, Karen bought her a sandwich.The woman, Millie, accepted the sandwich but asked for something more — a chance to be heard. Karen stayed with Millie and listened. What she heard made her understand that homelessness brought profound feelings of diminished self-worth and disconnection from society. Soon after, Karen and her two sons began delivering lunches to homeless people on the streets of New York.
1986: THE FIRST NETWORK
When Karen learned that homelessness was affecting families right in her own community in New Jersey, she knew she had to do something. But this was much more than giving sandwiches. She brought together people in need and people who wanted to help. Existing community resources could provide shelter, meals, and housing. Volunteers could use their skills, knowledge, and compassion to help their homeless neighbors find employment, reconnect with society, and restore their dignity.
She approached the religious community. Congregations offered hospitality space within their buildings. The YMCA provided showers and a family Day Center. A car dealer discounted a van. The first interfaith hospitality network opened on October 27, 1986.
1988: THE NETWORK GOES NATIONAL
As word spread, more New Jersey congregations formed a second network. Other congregations were inspired to develop similar programs. In 1988, we formed the National Interfaith Hospitality Network to bring the program nationwide. In addition to shelter, meals, housing, and job-seeking support, our Affiliates began developing programs for transitional housing, childcare, and homelessness prevention. Nationally, we added programs like Just Neighbors and Family Mentoring.
1992: POINT OF LIGHT
Family Promise was awarded one of 21 Points of Light, out of a field of more than 4,500 nominees, by President and Barbara Bush, signifying Family Promise as one of the top volunteer agencies in the country. The award recognizes how one neighbor can help another, and calls upon the nation to take action in service to our fellow citizens.
2003: WE BECOME FAMILY PROMISE
We changed our name, from the National Interfaith Hospitality Network to Family Promise, to reflect our broad range of programs and our vision of ending family homelessness. The name refers to the promise, in the sense of commitment, which communities make to families in need. But it also refers to the promise, the potential, inherent in every family.
2014: FAMILY PROMISE BECAME AN IDEA IN JUNEAU
July: The summer lunch program at Shepherd of the Valley saw several families who are experiencing homelessness come through. Many were sleeping in cars or at the campground and they made the church aware of the limited resources in Juneau to address family homelessness.
Pastor Tari and Father Pat Travers met and talked about working together on the Family Promise model that would use the many church facilities we have in town to help address family homelessness.
September: Donna Lawson from Family Promise national met with a group of 19 interested people at St. Paul’s where she laid out the process for becoming a Family Promise affiliate.
2017: FAMILY PROMISE OF JUNEAU OPENS ITS DOORS
January: Joann Flora is hired, Nils Dihle and Pam Watts agree to volunteer as care coordinators. Opening date scheduled for March 17, 2017. Barbara Frank, Kelly Hansen and Lisa Lindeman join the board.
February: Stacy Pollard, FPJ’s regional representative, comes to Juneau to train Ms. Flora, care coordinators, volunteers, and Board. We have decided to delay opening until March 26, 2017.
The opening date is moved to April 30, 2017, and a new hiring process for an executive director begins.
March: K. Loren Bettridge is hired as the ED and Stacy Pollard returns to train him.
Soapy Lingle purchases a van from Oregon and allows FPJ to use it.
April : FPJ opens with two families.
Mr. Bettridge resigned as FPJ ED on May 12, 2017. Michelle Strickler immediately steps in as the temporary executive director while we look for an interim executive director and engage in a much more extensive search.
Shannon Fisher is recommended as someone who served at Mat-Su Family Promise and is familiar with the program. She agrees to assist for the summer as the interim executive director.
Sherry Lanz helps organize volunteers.
July: Shannon Fisher agrees to serve as our permanent Executive Director.
August: Jennifer Lanz is hired as the Family Service and Operational Coordinator.
October: Pastor Tari Stage-Harvey and Shannon Fisher attend the national Family Promise conference in Washington, D.C.
December: FPJ reaches 1000 bed nights. Barbara Frank agrees to become a financial secretary.
2017 Highlights and Statistics Four families graduated into housing, staying an average of 74 days. Two full time jobs were acquired. Served: 6 families, 23 individuals, 11 kids. 1710 bednights, 5130 meals.
January: Anna Blackwell hired as bookkeeper.
Board retreat, held at the Shrine of St. Therese, with the following in attendance: Rev.Tari Stage-Harvey (Board Chair), Lisa Lindeman (Vice), Jennifer Carson and Willie Anderson (Treasurers), Pat McLear and Peter Mores (Secretary), Kelly Hansen, Joe Orsi, Soapy Lingle, and non-board members Shannon Fisher (Executive Director) Barbara Frank (Financial Secretary), Jen Lanz (Family Services and Operational Coordinator), Deanna Komar (AK Native Consultant).
February: Annual Halibut Dinner brings in a record $20,000 from tickets, corporate sponsors, silent auction, and dessert auction. Michelle Strickler, Barbara Frank, and Soapy Lingle are recognized as volunteers of the year at the annual meeting. Shannon and Tari attend the Foraker Executive Leadership Institute kickoff in Anchorage.
April: First anniversary on the 30th. All families in the first year of FPJ graduated into housing.
May: Jennifer Lanz resigns when her husband is stationed out of state. Teresa Kissel joins the staff as the Family Services Coordinator.
June: FPJ puts on Fabulous Family Fun Festival at Dimond Field House as a service to the community to build community awareness of FPJ.
September: Norman Alexander joins the team as an Americorps Member.
October: Three families graduate into housing within two weeks. Second annual Taste of Promise October 20th, with musical acts added. Thunder Mountain High School National Honor Society students were a huge help. Emmanuel Baptist joins as a hosting congregation.
December: Crossfit Juneau provides gifts for the family staying at FPJ over Christmas.
Best Western provides room for family over Christmas for the second year in a row. Family Promise was the beneficiary of the December Mudrooms storytelling event.
2018 Highlights and Statistics: Nine families served, a total of 33 individuals, including 18 kids, 10 under four years old. Six families graduate into housing, and one remains in rotation at the conclusion of 2018.
January: Annual Board retreat held at Lisa Lindeman’s home. In attendance: Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey (Board Chair), Lisa Lindeman (Vice Chair), Pat McLear (Secretary), Rebecca Farrell, Kelly Hansen, Eileen Hosey, Soapy Lingle,Peter Mores, Joe Orsi. Celebrations, gaps and dreams were addressed.
Michelle Weaver began as the FPJ financial secretary (volunteer position).
FPJ staffed an information table at both the Juneau Women’s March and at Project Homeless Connect 2019.
February: The FPJ Annual Meeting was held on 2/5/19 at Chapel by the Lake. Randy Coleman, Dan Hall and Becca Antonopios were recognized as volunteers of the year.
Kate Wolfe joined the FPJ staff as the Care Coordinator.
The Murdock Charitable Trust representative, Rudy Carrasco, met with SH, Tari Stage-Harvey and Pat McLear on 2/22/19 to review the FPJ proposal to fund a volunteer coordinator for Trustee consideration.
The 4th Annual Halibut Dinner and Silent Auction was held on 2/22/19 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. $19,396 was raised.
April: FPJ Board of Trustees Elections. A slate of officers was put forward and was approved.
Tari Stage-Harvey, Chair, Lisa Lindeman, Vice, Pat McLear, Secretary, Eileen Hosey, Treasurer (check signer, auditor, overlap with bookkeeper).
In celebration of FPJ’s 2nd anniversary, David Reed created a video highlighting the stories of families, volunteers, and staff who have been changed by their involvement with FPJ. The video can be viewed on YouTube.
May: Shannon Fisher submitted her resignation effective after transitioning with the new ED.
June: The job description for FPJ ED is advertised. The Mission Team from Peace Lutheran Gahanna, Ohio, served as hosts at Chapel by the Lake.
July: The First Annual Pulled Pork Picnic and Battle of the BBQs was held at Shepherd of the Valley Church on the 14th. Katti Carlson, LMSW Executvie Director from Family Promise of the Palouse in Idaho was offered the job of FPJ ED and she accepted to begin in September 2019.
August: FPJ was awarded a Rapid Rehousing Grant.
September: Shannon Fisher leaves as the ED and Katti Carlson begins. Jen Pegues is hired as the administrative assistant for 15 hours a week.
October: The Policy and Procedure Manual was adopted.
The Annual Taste of Promise fundraiser was held on 10/20/19 at Chapel by the Lake. Rep. Andi Story presented FPJ with a special honorarium. This legislative citation was signed by Reb. Story, Rep. Hannan and Senator Kiehl.
December: During December, Jen Pegues worked diligently on creating and producing a new website. We started serving households with Rapid Rehousing Funds. FPJ finished the year by bringing in our 25th family on December 30.
2019 Highlights and Statistics: In 2019 FPJ served 9 families with six successful exits to permanent housing, two exits to other housing programs, and one in shelter still at year’s end. There were four newsletters published in 2019. Volunteer training and congregational coordinator gatherings were regularly scheduled. Two volunteer training were held at Amalga Distillery. The FPJ program's success depends on volunteers and we are particularly grateful to Teresa Kissel for serving as a substitute Care Coordinator, ED, and on-call person. The Thunder Mountain High School National Honor Society are exemplary volunteers as both hosts and workers at the fundraising events. The FBJ Board truly stepped up by hosting several weeks and by being on-call throughout the year.
January: Annual Board retreat held at Lisa Lindeman’s house. In attendance: Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey (chair), Lisa Lindeman (vice-chair), Rebecca Farrell, Eileen Hosey, Soapy Lingle, Peter Mores, Katti Carlson (executive director). Shane Carson, Kayla Wisner, and David Morris joined the Board. Celebrations, gaps, and dreams were addressed.
February: FPJ Annual Meeting was held February 20, 2020, at Chapel by the Lake. Kim Kiefer, Joe Orsi and David Reed were recognized as volunteers of the year.
March: Fifth Annual Halibut Dinner and Auction held at Thunder Mountain High School Commons on March 15, 2020. FPJ raised close to $30,000. Thunder Mountain High School National Honor Society volunteers worked hard preparing and serving food. Last in-person fundraiser held before COVID restrictions were imposed. On March 15, 2020, AWARE recognized Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey as a “Woman of Distinction” for her contributions to the Juneau community.
April: FPJ’s Third Anniversary! Received $20,000 from 100+Women Who Care Juneau. Began planning on how to reconfigure our traditional rotational model for hosting families during COVID.
June: FPJ’s first Night Without a Bed raised $20,335. Kate Wolfe was hired as full-time coordinator for the Rapid Rehousing Program.
July: Kayla Wisner joined the FPJ board and agreed to serve as FPJ’s bookkeeper. No fundraiser due to COVID.
August: Housed two families in hotels and shifted focus to keeping families housed and working with families in crisis.
October: No Taste of Promise fundraiser due to COVID. Received $82,000 in CARES Act Funding with a December 31, 2020, deadline for expenditure. Sheila Dyer joined FPJ as our family support specialist.
November: Board approved the purchase of a building at 2221 Jordan Avenue for use as FPJ’s offices and day center, contingent on CBJ Assembly’s approval of $300,000 of CARES Act funding.
December: Purchased Jordan Avenue property with CARES funding, and FPJ moved in at the end of December. Also purchased 2020 Toyota Sienna van with CARES funding.
2020 Highlights and Statistics: FPJ served eight families in shelter. Seven successfully moved into permanent housing, 67 people served in Rapid Rehousing, and 17 Families served in this program. Three newsletters were published in 2020. We held training for congregational coordinators and volunteer training was available on FPJ’s website. We held training for congregational coordinators; volunteer training was available on FPJ’s website.
January: FPJ Board retreat held January 24, 2021, at Sandy Beach. Welcomed Jane Johnson, Carol May and Deb Spencer to the board. Masks and social distancing. Celebrated FPJ’s work and accomplishments and identified goals for the upcoming year.
March: FPJ Annual Meeting held by Zoom on March 16, 2021, with approximately 35 participants. Recognized Vickie Gartley, Pat McLear, and the Benito and Frances C. Gaguine Foundation (John and Cindy Gaguine) as exceptional volunteers and donors for FPJ.
April: FPJ’s takeaway barbecue and online auction fundraiser staged at Chapel by the Lake on April 18 2021, raised over $17,615!
May: Katti Carlson conducted a “Board Host Week Training” to inform board members on what to expect for their weeks as FPJ hosts.
June: Second Night Without a Bed raised $2,621. Congregational Care Committee met to begin planning on how to re-open our rotations. Sent letters and packets to all congregations explaining FPJ’s planned changes, COVID protocols, and the 2021-2022 Service Agreements.
September: Jennifer Skinner started as a full-time FPJ Family Support Specialist.
October: Take away Lasagna Dinner and online dessert auction fundraiser staged at Chapel by the Lake on October 3, 2021, raised $12,400! Thunder Mountain High School Honor Society students were a huge help.
December: The Ford van was sold for $12,000.
2021 Highlights and Statistics: FPJ served 64 families and 59 children through the shelter and Prevention Services programs during another year of COVID. All families served in shelter in 2021 moved into long-term housing. 95% of the families served in Prevention Services never became homeless. FPJ raised $67,933.65 by 269 individual donors to end homelessness. We have 15 Families of $1,000 and 43 Families of $500. Individuals/Families pledge to donate $1,000 or $500 annually for three consecutive years. The Block Foundation currently matches all new Individuals/Families of $1,000. Two newsletters were published in 2021. We held training for congregational coordinators, and volunteer training was available on FPJ’s website.
January: FPJ Board retreat held January 30, 2022, at Shepherd of the Valley Church. In attendance, Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey, Shane Carson, Jane Johnson, Lisa Lindeman, Carol May, David Morris, Deb Spencer, Kayla Wisner; outgoing members Rebecca Farrell and Peter Mores; and new members Carrie Macaulay, Becky Monagle, Amy Williams and Bill Williams; FPJ Executive Director Katti Carlson, Family Support Specialist Jennifer Skinner, Administrative Assistant Jen Pegues, and Rapid Rehousing Coordinator Kate Wolfe. New member Loren Jones was on travel. Board approved the 2022 budget.
February: Welcomed a new family of three children and two parents. Provided 140 bed nights and 420 meals.
March: FPJ Annual Meeting on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, by Zoom. Honored Ruth Vincent, Congregational Coordinator for Church of the Nazarene; David Morris, Board member and building support; and Ruth and Dennis Cunningham, Auke Bay Ward coordinators and Day Center cleaning support. Amy Williams resigned from the board but will continue in a consultant role.
April: Halibut dinner and online dessert auction fundraiser on Sunday, April 3, 2022, staged at Chapel by the Lake. Kensington Mine Coeur Alaska and First Bank donated over $2500. Alaska Glacier Seafoods donated 100 pounds of halibut (thanks, Soapy Lingle!), Breeze In donated rolls, and Chef Beau Schooler of In Bocca al Lupo made the chowder. Thunder Mountain High School National Honor Society students helped bag and deliver orders. Raised over $12,000! A family moved into housing.
May: Transition of Board president begins
July: Stacy Pollard comes from National Family Promise to help guide some long-term planning and talk about the change of Board President.
August: FPJ’s birthday celebration at Sandy Beach on August 21. Free pulled pork barbecue with silent and live auctions to celebrate building community to end childhood homelessness. Honored Pastor Tari Stage-Harvey for her significant work in building a network of churches to create Family Promise of Juneau and for her leadership as president of the Board of Directors since 2017. Rep. Andi Story and Senator Jesse Kiehl presented a legislative citation to Pastor Tari, recognizing her exceptional contributions to Juneau and the State of Alaska.
September: Pastor Tari officially left the Board.
October: Board Leadership Deb and Carrie with staff Katti and Jen S. Head to Las Vegas Symposium. They all come back with new ideas and lots of knowledge. Board started the first 360 review of the Executive Director.
November: Board Voted on Strategic Plan.
December: First Annual Stocking Stuffers allowed parents to come to the day center, check in with staff, and stuff stockings full of toys and goodies for their children.
2022 Highlights and Statistics: FPJ served a record 117 Families in 2022, which includes 85 CHILDREN. With over 230 phone calls for services, we served 213 people. With 32 families of 1000 and 38 families of 500 and 215 unique donors Family Promise of Juneau raised just over $58,000.00
January: At our January board meeting, Katti presented a change in operation to a static site. The board approved these changes and created a committee to start working. The committee consists of Katti, Carrie M, Loren J and Randy C. Board Retreat is scheduled for January 29 at Chapel by the lake.