2018 Annual Report

The Next Chapter

Letter from the CEO & Board Chair.

Over its 20-year history, LIFT has been an ally for more than 100,000 hardworking individuals and families on their journeys towards better tomorrows.

LIFT parents prove every day that their dreams are attainable. In fact, parents in our program who increased their income saw an average annual increase in salary of more than $9,300. For parents who increased their savings, the average increase was $1,100; for parents who reduced debt, the average amount was $2,000. Our families live in cities with some of the highest costs of living in the U.S. and on average make just over $20,000 annually. The types of financial gains made with LIFT’s support not only help pay the bills, but are transformational for our parents and their children.

This past year our parents have accomplished much to be proud of, and as an organization we have made similar strides. We celebrated the grand opening of our new combined national headquarters and LIFT-DC office, launched our first-ever Parent Leadership Institute at LIFT-Chicago, grew LIFT-Los Angeles’ Holiday Fiesta to unite hundreds of families and donors, celebrated the launch of The Lavine Family Innovation Fund with LIFT-New York and so much more – all of which you will learn about as you explore this report.

Looking forward, LIFT is writing a new chapter in its 20-year story. After a rigorous national search led by our national board of directors, the CEO torch is being passed to a new leader. We are thrilled that our very own Michelle Rhone-Collins, LIFT’s Chief Cities Officer, will become our next CEO in January 2019. Michelle’s 25 years of deep commitment to the betterment of communities and her outstanding service to our organization and members over the last seven years makes her the perfect successor, and the most qualified to lead LIFT into the future.

But none of this – our longevity, our program, our impact – would be possible without your support. Whether you’re new to LIFT, or you’ve been with us since day one, we’re proud to have you as a member of our family and humbled by your commitment to helping deserving families write new and inspiring chapters in their lives.

Onward – to the next chapter,

Kirsten E. Lodal
CEO, Co-Founder

Steve Rotella
Chairman, National Board of Directors

David Jones
LIFT-DC Parent Member

Photo of David and Family

My goal now

is to see my children achieve their goals.”

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I want us

to be happy and financially independent.”

Photo of Irma and Family

Irma Juarez
LIFT-Los Angeles Parent Member

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Parents aren’t our clients; they’re family.

That’s why we call the parents and caregivers we serve members.

LIFT members discover our services through referrals by trusted community organizations; from friends and neighbors; at tabling events at local community colleges; or just by walking through our doors.

They’re ready to write their family’s next chapter.

We’re here to help.

Our Members Are


average age of a LIFT parent


average age of a Little LIFTer


people of color




employed full or part-time


have a high school degree or higher

When They First Come to Us


have a bank account


know their credit score


own a smartphone


in debt with one in four having over $10,000 in debt.


average income across four of the most expensive cities. The average income for a US household is $61,372.

In the past year,
LIFT touched the lives of

3,882 parents and children.

Our one-on-one coaching program unlocks the potential in these extraordinary families. We help parents build the personal well-being, social connections, and financial strength they need to get ahead–and it works.

For parents who saw an increase in income, the average annual increase in salary was more than $9,300.

That means less stress for parents, and more opportunities for families.

Our Impact


savings increase


debt decrease

Members who committed to LIFT’s program for at least three months reported an average savings increase of $1,100 and an average debt decrease of $2,000.


of members with low levels of hope increased their hope and confidence


of members with high levels of stress decreased their feelings of stress


of members with low social support increased their social supports

Maxica Williams
LIFT-Chicago Parent Member

Photo of Maxica and Family

I needed a plan.

LIFT helped me build that.”

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because of my children; knowing that I can’t let them down and that they depend on me.”

Photo of Millie and Family

Milagros Lopez
LIFT-New York Parent Member

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We’re not just any nonprofit.

We believe in the power of love.

That’s why LIFT works.

Success thrives in relationships rooted in dignity and trust.

Thanks to our 59 clinically-trained volunteer coaches, more than 19,000 hours were spent working with LIFT parents across nearly 3,500 one-one-one meetings  – that’s the equivalent of $559,574 of donated time.



goals in pursuit of their dreams


action steps toward achieving those goals

How do LIFT Members Feel About Our Services?


believe they can turn to LIFT in a time of need


feel they are treated with courtesy, dignity and respect at LIFT


get new and useful information at LIFT


would recommend LIFT to a friend or relative

Humu’s Story

Her Next Chapter

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2017-2018 Fiscal Year


LIFT-Los Angeles partners with the Wildwoods Foundation to take member families on a hiking and photo expedition at Franklin Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.

iF Charities invites LIFT-Chicago families to partake in their annual “All-Star Football and Cheer Camp,” founded by former Chicago Bears defensive end and LIFT-Chicago Board Member Israel Idonije.

July Cont.

LIFT hosts LIFTopolis for 300 students at the Bank of America Student Leaders Summit.

LIFT takes a stand against White Supremacy during the incidents at Charlottesville in July 2017.


LIFT-Los Angeles hosts their 2nd annual Back to School Celebration in partnership with Lazard, GOOD+ Foundation, Baby2Baby, City National Bank, Wildwoods Foundation, the Andrade family, Every Child’s Dream Foundation and Delivering Good out of New York.


LIFT-New York hosts the LIFT Champions Reception honoring the achievements of Bronx families over the past year.

LIFT launches The Lavine Family Innovation Fund thanks to the largest-ever gift in the organization’s history, made possible by the generosity of Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine.


America’s Promise Alliance visits LIFT-DC as part of the #Recommit2Kids campaign, marking the 20th anniversary of calling the nation to recommit to action on behalf of children and youth.

The Kresge Foundation announces that LIFT will participate in its inaugural NextGen human services cohort working to develop innovative approaches for the field. This two-year, $500,000 investment empowers LIFT to improve the social and economic mobility of low-income families.


LIFT Chief Cities Officer, Michelle Rhone-Collins was selected to join the Senior Fellows program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.


LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its largest-ever Holiday Fiesta celebration at Hubble Studio, bringing together hundreds of LIFT and donor families.

December Cont.

LIFT-Chicago, LIFT-DC and LIFT-New York each host holiday parties for LIFT members and their children to celebrate the spirit of the giving season.


LIFT CEO & Co-Founder Kirsten Lodal heads back to school as a University of Chicago Institute of Politics of Politics Pritzker Fellow, participating in a panel discussion, hosting a seminar and holding office hours for interested students and staff.


Allie Olson joins LIFT-Los Angeles as its new executive director.

LIFT is featured as the cover story of the March 2018 edition of The Chronicle of Philanthropy. The feature explores LIFT’s intentional work over the past eight years in diversifying our staff and leadership team, and creating a company culture rooted in equity and inclusion.


LIFT CEO & Co-Founder Kirsten Lodal delivers keynote speech at the 2018 Poverty and Opportunity Training Forum in Vermont, held by the state of Vermont’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

The Aspen Institute speaks with LIFT Chief Strategy Officer Molly Day to talk all things co-creation at LIFT and learn how LIFT uses continuous learning from the parents we serve to inform our program model.


LIFT-Chicago’s yearly fundraiser, upLIFTing Chicago, makes a triumphant return. Guests are treated to an intimate fireside chat with Chicago parent members, moderated by Valerie Jarrett. Similarly, LIFT-New York re-launches upLIFTing New York with an evening celebrating our New York supporters and families.

The Honest Co., Honest Beauty and Union Bank partner with LIFT-Los Angeles for a special Mother’s Day to celebrate LIFT moms with mommy makeovers and mock-interviews.

Michelle Rhone-Collins discusses the challenges facing women and families living in poverty as a speaker at the United State of Women summit.

May Cont.

As winners of the OpenIDEO Bridgebuilder Challenge – funded by the GHR foundationLIFT-Chicago launches the Parent Leadership Institute to build solutions to challenges families face on the Southside.

LIFT’s national office and LIFT-DC come together as we celebrate the grand opening of our new headquarters in the NoMa neighborhood of Washington, D.C.


LIFT speaks out against the separation of families at the southern U.S. border.

It takes

hope and LOVE to truly help families.”

Photo of Allie

Allie Olson
Executive Director,
LIFT-Los Angeles

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We partner

with organizations that are working on innovative solutions.”

Photo of Dele

Dele Oladapo
LIFT National Board Member,
Prudential Financial, Inc.

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I hope

that every last one of our families get an opportunity to succeed.”

Photo of LIFT kiddos

Interview with AppleTree
LIFT-DC Partner

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Revenue total: $9,555,534

Expenses total: $6,123,083



Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine, Trustees of the Crimson Lion Foundation *

The Prudential Foundation

* multi-year commitment

More Giving Levels


Meet the team that made it all happen

Our Team