TAMPA, Fla. – Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay has hired Linda Kay O’Reilly as Development Director. In her newly established role, O’Reilly will lead Friends – Tampa Bay’s fundraising efforts, identify opportunities with donors and stakeholders, and assist in developing additional corporate partnerships and sponsorships for the nonprofit organization.
Most recently, O’Reilly served as Director of Development for The Salvation Army of Tampa/Hillsborough County. During her 25-year career, she has led fundraising efforts for several leading national nonprofit organizations including the American Cancer Society, Alzheimer’s Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Clearwater Aquarium. In all, O’Reilly and her teams have raised more than $40 million for the organizations they have served.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Linda Kay’s caliber join Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay,” said Executive Director Rick McClintock. “Linda Kay brings a tremendous amount of passion for assisting causes like ours that truly make a difference, as well as an unmatched understanding of our region and the opportunities that are available to nonprofits like ours. We look forward to the contributions that she will bring to our organization and the children and families we serve.”
“I was truly drawn to the mission of Friends of the Children Tampa Bay,” said O’Reilly. “The life-changing impact they have in our community is remarkable and their 12 ½ year mentoring model is unique among nonprofits. I can’t wait to get started.”
Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay is part of a national organization which pairs paid, professional mentors (called Friends) with children facing adverse childhood experiences such as being in, or at risk of entering, the foster care system, poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, or food insecurity. The Friend walks alongside the student from kindergarten through high school graduation for 12 ½ years no matter what; Friends are a consistent adult in these youths’ lives.
Friends – Tampa Bay’s long-term, “power of one” model brings much-needed stability to a child’s life, helping them overcome obstacles, and eventually break the cycle of generational poverty.
In addition to working with individual students in schools throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas County, Friends – Tampa Bay has had a partnership with Foster Elementary School in Hillsborough County since 2020 and will begin a similar partnership at Lealman Elementary School in Pinellas County this fall.
Since its establishment in 2014, Friends – Tampa Bay has already achieved outstanding results:
· 95% of youth with Friends exited the foster care system;
· 98% of youth with Friends advanced to the next grade in school (2022-23 school year)
Nationally, the Friends of the Children model, executed throughout the 32 chapters including Friends – Tampa Bay, produces life-changing results:
· 83% of youth with Friends graduate high school, while in some communities, graduation rates are as low as 27% for youth without a Friend;
· 93% of youth with Friends avoid the juvenile justice system, compared to 74% without Friends;
· 98% of youth with Friends advanced to the next grade in school
· 92% of program graduates go on to enroll in post-secondary education, serve our country, or become employed in a living wage job.
For more information about Friends of the Children – Tampa Bay visit www.friendstampabay.org or Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.