Executive Director & CEO at FosterHope Sacramento
“Looking Beyond the Horizon”
Erin Brown, LCSW is the Executive Director of a foster care and family service agency in Sacramento, Ca. called FosterHope Sacramento. She has worked with the organization for over 25 years and has been leading their mission and vision for the past 10. It takes many unique talents and qualities to run a non-profit organization, especially in today’s world of limited funds and resources. Fortunately, Erin possesses many qualities that have contributed to the organization's transformations over the last 10 years. Erin can see, articulate, and bring forth a vision that has a significant impact on the success of an organization. “I worked for FosterHope for 15 years before becoming the Executive Director. During this time, I was able to observe what worked and what was lacking in the organization that was preventing it from growing,” she says. “The main area of weakness I identified was the lack of establishment of strong relationships within the community. When I became the Director, my vision was to obtain community support for our programs to serve the children and families better.” In her tenure as Executive Director, Erin has managed to do that on a grand scale, increasing community support and leverage by over 800%. Today, FosterHope Sacramento has ongoing community support and is well-known and well-respected in the field of foster care and child welfare.
Erin is also a visionary, which is facilitated by her ability to establish trust in relationships. “In this field, trust amongst staff, foster parents, and the children we serve are vital to the organization. My words and actions are consistent with the principles and values of the organization,” explains Erin. “I stand for what I believe, and I give honest answers to tough questions.
“I try to deliver a consistent message to different audiences with a tone accepting to all. I appreciate differences and am committed to understanding others, even those I may disagree with. This leads to the ability to establish long-term supportive relationships.”
Erin strongly advises every woman leader to believe in themselves and never give up. “Stick to your goals, values, and passion. I have had so many try to sway me away from the mission or plain give up when the going got tough. I couldn’t do that.” She adds, “Try not to dwell in the challenges but develop the ability to move things forward by believing in the possibilities ahead. Honestly, it is because of my passion and perseverance that our organization is still open today. I believe a great leader challenges, inspires, and empowers others and helps them see past their expectations.” With every encounter, whether it be with the Board, foster parents, staff, or the children they serve, everyone feels valued for their efforts and achievements. Erin says that if one is passionate about a cause, belief, mission, or vision, don’t just go through the motions; get involved and do the necessary work to make it successful.
“As women, we are often more compassionate and sensitive. This has been used against us in the past in the workforce, identifying those characters as being weak or flawed. I, however, have learned to embrace it as a powerful tool in my ability to promote the organization, connect with people and to be a strong leader. I have also learned that you can be compassionate while holding people accountable. This earns a level of respect as a leader that many others may struggle to find.”
FosterHope was created with the vision of professionalizing foster care. The goal was to build family homes for children in need that were skilled enough to work with them in their darkest hours. The system has been developed to protect children, but, in history, it often created more harm. Their goal at FosterHope is to train staff and families to be well equipped to handle anything that may come their way and never give up on a child. “Our philosophy is to provide the highest quality care and do whatever it takes to support the children and families to achieve stability and find long-term sustainable solutions.”
FosterHope is working on expanding its reach to children and families that face economic and social adversities and providing supportive services to those in need to create long-term stability and success. They are doing this through developing and implementing a growing number of community-based services that include programs that assist youth transitioning from foster care, diversion programs for offending youth, and a family support program. “Our goal is to reach more children and youth and extend the positive outcomes our programs can bring to our surrounding communities and society at large.” IEWL
Executive Director & CEO
FosterHope Sacramento is a non-profit California foster family agency providing professional foster care for children in the greater Sacramento Valley region. FosterHope Sacramento annually serves more than 250 young people in foster care. Our vision is to provide these children with safe, healing and loving homes.