Open Collective
Open Collective
2023 Year in Review!
Published on December 21, 2023 by Alexa Hudson

The 1999 Collective publicly launched in May 2023, and since then, we have served over 70 young people through one-to-one support and our Life After Foster Care courses, which focus on the nuts-and-bolts of transitioning to adulthood. We have taught 27 Life After Care sessions with three community partners.

We developed a 57-page Life After Foster Care goal-setting and education planner that includes beautiful image outlines for coloring. We launched a monthly food delivery program for food insecure foster care alumni in a partnership with Open Doors Food Pantry. We launched an emergency fund to ensure young adults stay housed and able to transport to work or school. We partnered with the national nonprofit One Simple Wish to get crucial items like phones, steel-toed boots for work, and a calculator for school into the hands of young people. We partnered with Utah's Youth Resource Center and DCFS to invigorate Foster Care Fridays, which link unsheltered foster care alumni to resources. We have partnered with over 30 local and national organizations and agencies to improve supports and resources for young people transitioning from foster care in Utah.

Organizationally, we built and launched ourselves as a lived-expert led and designed organization, becoming the first and only foster care lived-expert led organization in Utah. We identified the strengths, roles and growth areas of our co-founders. We've identified members of the community to invite into our founding board of directors, drafted bylwas and articles of incorporation, and created a transition plan to move from fiscal sponsorship to our own incorporated nonprofit.

We have raised over $150,000 in funding in one year. We have spent about $50,000, primarily on paying co-founders who are foster care alumni for their time and expertise.

Most critically, in the words of one of our co-founders, we have created "a space for those impacted by foster care to take ownership of our power, stories, and voices to affect change. We have created a beautiful space for healing."

We have faced many challenges, and many growth opportunities. We are challenged in navigating the dynamics of race, gender, power, and politics in our state. We are challenged by the day-to-day realities of our foster care system, educational systems, housing systems, mental health systems, and the barriers that our young people face over and over again. We are challenged by the lack of change over time on a broad, systemic level. We are challenged by our own histories. We are challenged in working together to share power and decision-making. We work through these challenges by talking, venting and taking space. All members can take time away from the Collective, and we wrote a self-care policy to ensure we care for ourselves as we undertake this work. We also maintain a conflict-resolution team to help us address internal conflicts that arise.

In 2024, we plan to maintain our current levels of program activities while we solidify a future Board of Directors and fundraise. Strengthening these areas will lay the foundation for future success.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the 1999 Collective through donations, time, energy, and emotional support. We are honored to work with you, and so grateful for the chance to strengthen outcomes for people impacted by foster care in Utah.