March 2014

An organizational update from Merri Ex, President and CEO, Family Focus

We have had a particularly brutal 2014 winter, but that hasn’t impeded Family Focus’ commitment and enthusiasm in serving more than 10,000 children and families in the past eight months. This memo shares some highlights with you:

  • Family Focus celebrates its 38th year in the spring and we are grateful and privileged that Bernice Weissbourd, our founder, continues to be an inspiration for participants, staff and leaders in the early education field.
  • More than 1,600 families are receiving early childhood services, such as home visits, doula prenatal services and early literacy programming through Family Focus to ensure children are reaching developmental milestones and getting the best possible start in life.
  • More than 3,500 youth and their parents or caregivers participated in Family Focus’ pre-and after-school enrichment programs in schools and at our seven centers.  These programs include a robust STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) taught through robotics and chess clubs, tutoring and homework help, digital media projects and parent mentoring group.
  • Another 5,000 individuals participated in parenting education including grandparents raising grandchildren and fatherhood groups, health and fitness classes, computer training, English as a Second Language, citizenship classes, computer classes,  tutoring programs, summer camps and violence prevention activities.
  • As government resources devoted to human services continue to shrink, our board and staff have enhanced efforts to bring new private funds to support programs.  In the past two years, private income has increased by 44%.
  • We launched an associate board, a diverse group of young professionals to bring new ideas, energy and skills to Family Focus.
  • Family Focus’ next three-year strategic plan will go into effect on July 1, 2014.  We are currently gathering information from funders, sister organizations, our board, participants and staff to create a plan which continues to place strengthening families in and with their communities the center of our work.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know by e-mailing at

Please mark your calendars for the Family Focus 2014 dinner gala honoring the Steans family, who will receive the Bernice Weissbourd Award for Family Support to recognize their many philanthropic contributions in our region.

On behalf of Family Focus’ thousands of participants, thank you for your dedication and support.