In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to go to space. Fueled by a spirit of possibility, she dreamed of how different the world could be if women and people of color were given the same opportunities to succeed, and then put that dream into action as she stepped foot onto the Space Shuttle Endeavour and prepared for lift off.

Just like Ms. Jemison, hundreds of brave parents are taking their own first giant leap into the unknown as they step through our doors. What could their families’ futures look like without the racial, gendered, and unjust barriers systemically put in place between them and access to the resources we all need to succeed? What could their children achieve if given the same shot at a better future not predetermined by their zip code?

We know that eradicating poverty doesn’t take rocket science. Rather, it requires putting parents first as they partner with LIFT coaches to work toward family goals like increasing income, furthering education, and building savings. We design programs that maximize the inherit potential that exists in our families, and account for all facets of their well-being – personal, social, and financial – in ways that are rooted in dignity, respect, and love.

Parents are in the pilot’s seat at LIFT and this year’s annual report, LIFT OFF, is named in honor of those courageous parents who are proving that with LIFT by their side, the futures they aspire to are very much within reach.

Parents like Dominga in Los Angeles, who started her own construction business and enrolled in college. Like Ismane in DC, who found the right care for her child with special needs and earned her bachelor’s degree through a scholarship from LIFT. Like Mariela in New York, who went back to school, secured a job that pays a living wage, and reduced her debt by more than half. And like Anastasia in Chicago, who finished her college degree, secured safer housing for her family, and just opened her own successful business.

In 2018, we launched a four-year strategic plan committed to deepening our impact, and in just the past year LIFT touched the lives of more than 3,500 parents and children – with 92 percent of our families improving their financial well-being. Our model is clinically proven to address the trauma of poverty. It reduces toxic stress for children and increases parents’ well-being. Parents are putting in the work and their families are reaping the benefits.

As you learn more about the milestones we achieved over the past year – including our study with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, LIFT’s epic 20th anniversary, and features in TIME, Axios, and USA Today – you’ll also hear from the families we partnered with this year, each with their own inspiring journey.

LIFT is fueled by you. Thank you for your belief in LIFT’s mission to bring about new possibilities for families on their journey out of poverty, and for your commitment to making that path more equitable.

Michelle Rhone-Collins

Gina Coburn
Chair, National Board of Directors

In the past year, LIFT reached 3,543 parents and children.

From getting a degree and starting their own business, to saving up for their children’s college and moving up the career ladder, LIFT parents are encouraged to dream big.

To help parents achieve their goals, and overcome barriers that may get in the way, we pair them with a trained coach so that their dreams can become a reality.

Ninety-two percent of the families that walked through our doors made progress on their career and financial goals.

The average annual income for a LIFT parent is $15,700.

For parents in our program who saw an increase in income, the average annual increase was $14,360.

Parents who improved their savings and debt reduction reported:


increase in savings


decrease in debt



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


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


of parents with low social support increased their social supports

All parents have the potential to achieve greatness.

But equitable access to the resources and support they need to unlock that potential eludes low-income parents and their families.

LIFT parents are the CEOs of their families. They know what’s best for their children, and what they need to succeed. That’s why we partner with parents, listen to them, invest in them, and build solutions together.

Our program is designed for parents, by parents.

When Parents First Come to Us


have a bank account


know their credit score


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


average yearly income across four of the most expensive cities. The median income for a US household is $61,937.

Our Parents 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



goals in pursuit of their dreams, like securing a full-time job, going back to school, and paying off debt


action steps toward achieving those goals, like creating resumes, practicing interview skills, and learning how to budget


monthly one-on-one meetings with their coaches

Along the way, parents stop by our offices to participate in workshops, luncheons, and other family-friendly gatherings that not only grow their financial knowledge, but also help them build community with other parents at LIFT. This social connectedness correlates to financial stability.

It’s not rocket science.

We all need someone in our corner when times get rough.

Whether it’s an ear to hear you out, or someone to cheer you past the finish line, LIFT parents know that we’re here for them every step of the way.

Our program is powered by the relationship between LIFT coaches and parents. They work hand in hand to build plans, come up with solutions, and make parents’ dreams a reality.

Thanks to our 55 clinically-trained volunteer coaches, 30,710 hours were spent working with LIFT parents across 9,900 one-one-one meetings – that’s the equivalent of $890,590 of donated time.



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

A Year Of LIFT



LIFT Co-Founder and CEO Kirsten Lodal announces her departure from LIFT after 20 years of service and the search for LIFT’s next leader begins.

LIFT-Los Angeles and our community partners at the Wildwoods Foundation bring together LIFT families for our annual nature hike and photo expedition at Franklin Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.

July Cont.

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

LIFT announces the appointment of Arlene Ford and Dele Oladapo to its national board of directors.


Walker & Dunlop Real Estate donate new bicycles to the families of LIFT-DC.

LIFT-DC hosts "Night Out with LIFT," a self-care themed workshop and networking event for parents and their children.

LIFT is featured in USA Today as one of the best organizations working to make the world a better place.

LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its third annual backpack drive in partnership with CBS Interactive, ICM Partners and Los Angeles Board Member Carrie Southworth Johnson.


LIFT releases a statement on the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau Poverty Report and supplemental poverty measure.

LIFT releases a report on the first year of the Lavine Family Innovation Fund’s impact.

LIFT-DC hosts its inaugural upLIFTing DC Family Jazz Brunch benefiting DC families.


LIFT announces the appointment of Michelle Rhone-Collins as its next Chief Executive Officer.

Axios series "Smarter Faster" features LIFT in a video addressing intergenerational poverty.

LIFT is featured in an episode of "Achieve Great Things" podcast discussing how our organization fights poverty with aspirational messaging.


LIFT-DC hosts its inaugural Career Exploration Workshop where parents learned more about possible career paths and took assessments on “career personality type.”

LIFT-Los Angeles builds a Día de los Muertos altar with our LIFT families where the community can come and honor their loved ones who have passed.


LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its fifth annual Holiday Fiesta celebration at Two Bit Circus, bringing together hundreds of LIFT and donor families for a day of celebration.

LIFT-Chicago, LIFT-DC, and LIFT-New York host holiday parties to celebrate a year of great accomplishments for the families of LIFT.


LIFT-New York Parent Angiie Ramlakan is featured in TIME discussing the American Family Act.


LIFT announces Gina Coburn as its next National Board Chair.


LIFT-DC partners with Passion Planner for a workshop and giveaway to empower parents with the tools and strategies to manage their busy lives.


LIFT-Chicago Executive Director Sol Anderson and Program Director Sarah Spunt are interviewed by the Bridging Chicago podcast.

LIFT-Chicago hosts its inaugural My First Piggy Bank event in partnership with Money Is Basic to teach parents how to talk to their children about money, budgeting and saving.

LIFT is featured in the Aspen Institute report “Short-Term Financial Stability: A Foundation For Security and Well-Being."

April Cont.

LIFT-New York welcomes Xiomara Romain as its new Executive Director.

LIFT-Chicago honors LIFT family the Washingtons and LIFT supporter family the Heymans at upLIFTing Chicago.

The city of Los Angeles recognizes LIFT-Los Angeles for its work empowering low-income families.

LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its inaugural Coach and Parent Farewell Event. The gathering gave parents the opportunity to celebrate with their coaches outside of their meetings.


LIFT-New York hosts a career exploration workshop with volunteers from Neuberger Berman.

LIFT-New York Executive Director Xiomara Romain and Program Fellow Felix Alarcon are interviewed by BronxNet TV.

LIFT-DC hosts its inaugural Focus on Finance series that gathers parents for workshops on budgeting, saving, and building credit.

LIFT celebrates its 20th anniversary at the HOPE. MONEY. LOVE. Gala in Washington, D.C.

LIFT-Los Angeles partners with The Honest Co., Capital One, Children’s Bureau and LATTC to celebrate for its second annual Mother’s Day Careers Workshop.


LIFT-Los Angeles parent, Sylvia Perez, wins the 2019 Sola Impact Fund Scholarship Award for $3,500 to put toward her higher education through her work with LIFT.

IL State Sen. ‪Robert Peters ‬and IL State Rep. ‪Kam Buckner‬ visit the grand opening of LIFT-Chicago’s new Bronzeville site.

LIFT-DC and board member, Malik Husser, hosts its first Black male philanthropic LIFT & Learn.

LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its first-ever Father’s Day event, inviting 11 LIFT fathers to meet with a panel of working dads from various professions who volunteered to share advice on balancing work, school, and parenting.

LIFT is powered by the generosity of foundations, institutions, partners, and individuals who believe that all families deserve a fair shot.

We’re committed to providing complete financial transparency to our funders and supporters. Download an audited report of LIFT’s FY19 financial statement to see how your donations fueled our work with parents over the past year.

Thank You to Our Supporters


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

The Prudential Foundation

* multi-year commitment

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