2017 Annual Report


The theme of this year’s annual report is Why We LIFT.

We routinely ask our staff, board members and volunteers to share their Why I LIFT stories. Doing so is a way to ground our shared work in our own personal history and motivations, and to get to the root of what drives our sense of urgency to pursue our mission of empowering families to break the cycle of poverty. It is also an acknowledgement of the fact that, every day, our members entrust us with deeply personal information about their backgrounds and aspirations, and as part of our commitment to equity, we must also open ourselves to the vulnerability and opportunity of sharing our stories with each other.

This is a complicated time in America – a time when we’re seeing so many of our country’s racial, cultural, economic and geographic divides laid bare. At LIFT, we believe that there has never been a more important time to cross the lines that artificially divide us. Part of what we uncover whenever we share our Why I LIFT stories is that our hopes and dreams for ourselves and our families tend to be remarkably similar no matter where we live or who we are. At the most basic level, we all want to pass on a brighter future to our children. Any differences tend to come down to how difficult it is for some to access the capital to realize their dreams.

So at LIFT, we’re seeking to bridge that capital gap between families’ dreams and realities. We know that when we help families grow their human, social and financial capital, we can achieve transformative change for children and communities. In last year’s annual report, we spelled out the scientific and economic research that tells us that by focusing on helping parents of young children escape poverty, we can lift two generations at once.

Our accomplishments over the last year show us that this is a winning strategy. When families are committed to LIFT’s program, they decreased their debt by an average of $2,000 and increased their savings by an average of $950. And the families in our program who saw increases in their income witnessed gains by an average of $7,500 (which is equivalent to a 50 percent or greater increase in their annual income). We are truly proud that 76 percent reported an increase in social support after working with LIFT – all huge wins for families living in poverty. Most importantly, our families are feeling better equipped to meet their children’s needs and ensure that their children are well set up to succeed in school and in life.

And this is just the beginning. We recently completed an ambitious four-year strategic plan aimed at lifting an additional 25,000 parents and children out of poverty through our direct services, while also launching a bold systems change strategy targeted at the six million families with young children in poverty in the US. The plan will cost $40 million over four years to achieve, and we are thrilled to feature Jonathan and Jeannie Lavine in this report – extraordinary supporters who have made a catalytic $4 million investment in this plan. With this strong wind in our sails, combined with the support of the broader LIFT community, we are confident we can secure the resources necessary to propel our work with families forward in the next four years.

We couldn’t do what we do without the support of people like you. As you read on and think about why you LIFT, we hope you will choose to continue investing in LIFT’s hardworking families.

Kirsten E. Lodal
CEO, Co-Founder

Steve Rotella
Chairman, National Board of Directors

Angiie Ramkalan
LIFT-New York Parent Member

Photo of Angiie Ramkalan and daughter Althea


because I want Althea to have the life I never had.”

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because we should and, fortunately, we can.”

Photo of Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine

Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine
LIFT supporters

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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

LIFT Members

are the parents and caregivers of young children that we serve.

Tenacious, fierce and determined, they want what all parents want – a stable home for their families and a bright future for their children.

When They First Come to Us


have reliable child care


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 $59,039.

Over the next four years,
LIFT is committed to touching the lives of

25,000 parents and children.

And in just the past year alone, more than 4,000 parents and children accessed LIFT’s services. These resilient parents are fighting tooth and nail to create better futures for their families, and it’s paying off.

Our Impact


savings increase


debt decrease

Members who committed to LIFT’s program reported an average savings increase of $950 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

LIFT is about more than just helping parents.

It’s about empowering them.

Making them feel respected.

At LIFT, we treat all our members with the kindness and dignity they deserve.

Thanks to our 73 clinically-trained volunteer coaches, more than 17,000 hours were spent working with LIFT parents across nearly 3,500 one-one-one meetings  – that’s the equivalent of $500,000 of donated time.

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


feel they are making progress on their goals


would recommend LIFT to a friend or relative

In the Past Year



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


LIFT-Los Angeles Executive Director Michelle Rhone-Collins, Board Chair Cash Warren and his wife Jessica Alba featured in Variety magazine’s entertainment philanthropy issue. (Photo below courtesy of Variety/Jessica Chou)

LIFT-Los Angeles partners with CBS Interactive to coordinate a back-to-school night for 20 families to receive backpacks, school supplies and food


LIFT publishes A Parent’s Perspective, a look at how to better support parent and caregiver engagement to improve children’s educational outcomes

September, continued.

LIFT-Chicago Executive Director Sol Anderson featured on Timshel’s podcast, discussing how technology can help the social impact community raise awareness and galvanize people around a cause

LIFT-DC announces formal partnerships with two of the city’s most recognized nonprofit organizations, Martha’s Table and Bright Beginnings, to recruit new parents to its program


LIFT-Los Angeles hosts its 3rd annual Holiday Fiesta and gift exchange for member families and LIFT supporters

LIFT-New York hosts its annual holiday party – each child left the event with a gift wrapped toy, generously donated by StoneCastle Partners, LLC, and a new winter coat

In the Past Year



LIFT-Los Angeles partners with CELL-ED to provide members with free, mobile English as a Second Language (ESL) classes


LIFT partners with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to improve financial capabilities for parents


LIFT-New York partners with Cornell University to produce My Plate Wednesdays, which provides parents with nutritional literacy while incorporating fun and collaborative activities

LIFT is featured on the Meeting of the Minds blog, a vehicle the global leadership network uses to have thought leaders from the public, private, nonprofit and academic sectors identify initiatives that can be scaled from city-to-city


LIFT: ART 2017 takes place in Los Angeles, raising $340,000 for families in need

LIFT-Los Angeles chosen as winners of the LA2050 and First 5 LA #MyLA2015 challenge

LIFT-DC hosts Ideas42 for parent interviews on their experiences voting and thoughts on increasing voting participation in underrepresented communities


LIFT-Chicago partners with iF Charities to give Chicago’s Little LIFTers a day of family fun

LIFT-Los Angeles partners with The Wildwoods Foundation and takes 15 families on a hiking trip and photo expedition to the Santa Monica mountains

LIFT-DC joins The Family Engagement Learning Network, sponsored by The Bainum Family Foundation, to provide training, technical assistance, collaborative time and action planning time for parents

Kelli Phillips
LIFT-Chicago Parent Member

Photo of Kelli Phillips


to make a difference. Not just for my community, but for my family. For my children. For my mother. I do it all for them.”

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because I cannot be silent. If I remain neutral in situations of injustice, then I’ve sided with the oppressor.”

Photo of Maggie Lindrooth

Maggie Lindrooth
Operations Associate, LIFT-Chicago

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Revenue total: $6,584,612

Expenses total: $6,155,063

Charity Navigator – Highest Rating
LIFT is a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity



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

* multi-year commitment

More Giving Levels


Meet the people that made it all happen

Our Team