MercyFirst’s Bridges to the Future Revitalized with Frank J. Antun Foundation Grant

MercyFirst’s Bridges to the Future Revitalized with Frank J. Antun Foundation Grant

July 27, 2015

While inadequate resources, funding, and public awareness still hamper foster care systems, philanthropic organizations often overlook the next stages in these young adults’ lives. MercyFirst has worked to bridge this gap with their innovative Bridges to the Future program.  

In all of its projects, MercyFirst, a family service nonprofit, stresses the importance of an all-encompassing approach to care, treatment, and support. Bridges to the Future gives adolescents who are exiting foster care systems the tools they need to navigate the professional world and prepare for independent living. 

The Frank J. Antun Foundation, a nonprofit based in Woodbury, Nassau County, with a special concentration on health care issues, has recognized the strides made by Bridges to the Future with a $10,000 grant. 

Bridges to the Future targets a portion of the foster care population that MercyFirst has identified as at particular risk for academic failure, criminal activity, and substance abuse. The curriculum involves interactive workshops that provide hands-on experience. 

MercyFirst, initially founded in 1894 as two sister orphanages in Brooklyn and Syosset, enlists a staff of 500 and has an annual budget of $48 million. 3,200 children and teenagers partake in MercyFirst programming at 15 locations in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. The nonprofit strives to maintain long-term relationships with these adolescents, who benefit from continued, structured supervision and enrichment. 

Besides Bridges to the Future, MercyFirst also offers Community-based Group Homes, Mother/Child Residences, Treatment Family Foster Care, Foster Homes and Adoption Services, Campus-based Residential Treatment Programs, and Family Support Programs. 

Everett Pelzman