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Together We Rise

 580 W Lambert Rd, Suite A
 Brea, CA 92821
[P] (714) 7846760
[F] --
[email protected]
Gianna Dahlia
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years No
Employer Identification Number 26-3043727 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the way youth navigate through the foster care system in America.

Mission Statement

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the way youth navigate through the foster care system in America.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $3,860,000.00
Projected Revenue $5,250,000.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Build A Bike
  • Family Fellowship Program
  • Sweet Cases For Children in Foster Care

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

Together We Rise is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the way youth navigate through the foster care system in America.

Background Statement

In 2008, Together We Rise was founded by college students after one of their classmates discovered that their 9-year-old cousin was living in a car. They wanted to do something but they came across some obstacles because they were all under the age of 21. Government agencies denied their help due to Federal regulations. There were no organizations like Together We Rise that welcomed young people to join their efforts.

After telling others about their vision, the students were inspired by encouragement from friends and colleagues to use their ambition to help others and start something. From that came Together We Rise. There weren't many organizations around that created a way to help kids in foster care without becoming a foster parent, and certainly, none that would allow students to help, or at least a role large enough to make a substantial difference. So a movement was created to change the way youth experience foster care.

Impact Statement

In Orange County alone there is over 4,000 foster youth. We want to directly impact them by providing them with the resources they need to make their transition from placement to placement less stressful and traumatic. 
We have directly helped over 290,000 children in foster care, we've given away thousands of bikes, hundreds of thousands worth of clothing, and taken over 1,000 Orange County youth to Disneyland. 
Our goals for the next five years are: 1) to deliver more than 100,000 care packages per year from our Sweet Case program to children in foster care in order to help improve their sense of normalcy and decrease stress levels in times of trauma 2) to continue to mobilize more young people to make a difference in their community by using social media and highlighting success stories from our college interns 3) to raise awareness through service by carrying out out group requests and team building opportunities to be highlighted on social media so that others may be inspired to do the same 4) to raise self-esteem of children in foster care through programs, such as our Clothing Tour, to provide children in foster care with new, brand name clothing and school supplies 5) to open minds to the idea of foster parenting and adoption in order to empower people to make a difference, help alleviate the negative stigmatism towards foster care, and possibly attract new potential families.

Needs Statement

The foster care system can be a confusing and sometimes disheartening place, but through our fundraising and network of passionate volunteers, we strive to give children in foster care a better experience, a sense of normalcy, and the knowledge that they are not alone. Here are some ways you can help: Sweet Cases: Personalized duffel bags filled with comfort items. $25 each. Build A Bike: Giving children their first bikes. Bikes are $65 - 85 each. Disney Days: Each year we reunite hundreds of siblings separated through foster care for a magical day of new memories together at the happiest place on Earth. Any donation amount helps!
We understand that not everyone can be a foster parent but everyone can help a foster child.

CEO Statement

We're excited for the opportunity to help youth in foster care in Orange County. We believe with the help of OC partnerships we can do this more on a larger scale and more effectively. We've been able to use this method, partnering with community foundations across the country and we can't wait to make this happen in Orange County. Together we can directly affect the way youth experience foster care in your community. 

Board Chair Statement


Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

You may mail checks written out to Together We Rise at 580 W Lambert Rd, Unit A, Brea, Ca 92821, donate online at our website (, or contact us at (714) 784-6760.

Geographic Area Served

West Orange County
North Orange County
Central Orange County
South Orange County
Our programs run nationally.

Organization Categories

  1. Youth Development - Youth Development Programs
  2. Human Services - Foster Care
  3. -



Build A Bike

While children experience the foster care system, they often lose the simple joys of childhood like riding a bicycle. We provide FREE bicycles to hundreds of children. We also provide bicycles for teenagers that need help getting to school or work. The Build A Bike Program provides bicycles to kids in foster care so they can enjoy something that is personal and belongs to them. 
Budget  $350,000
Category  Human Services, General/Other Foster Care
Population Served Children Only (5 - 14 years) Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  We want to help establish a normal childhood to foster children. Learning how to ride a bike for the first time is a moment every child should have. 
Program Long-Term Success  The Build A Bike Program also helps provide tansportation for young adults who are currently aging out or are already out of the foster care system. Providing a bicycle helps them get to school or work on a daily basis. We hope this assistance through our program will benefit foster youth in the long term by providing them the essentials needed to make their transition into adult hood more easy.
Program Success Monitored By  Together We Rise monitors their program's success by communicating and receiving feedback from foster care agencies who have received bicycles from our organization. 
Examples of Program Success  --

Family Fellowship Program

Through the generous introduction by Hope D. Smith with her husband Robert F. Smith, the president and founding board of director of the fund ll Foundation, Together We Rise has partnered with the fund ll Foundation to support youth in foster care with financial, educational, and wrap around support. 
Budget  $500,000
Category  Human Services, General/Other Foster Care
Population Served Adolescents Only (13-19 years) At-Risk Populations Other Named Groups
Program Short-Term Success  Our short term success includes successfully adding 10 new fellows in 2016 and 10 in 2016, bringing our total number of scholars to 28. Of these students, 100% of them are currently on track to graduate from their selected institution. We have had two students earn Bachelor's Degrees and one of these students is currently enrolled in a master's program.
Program Long-Term Success  The program is still too young to accurately track long-term success. Our long-term goal is to have 100% of our students graduate with a bachelor's degree and to complete one professional internship while in our program.
Program Success Monitored By  Our program success is monitored by ensuring proper academic success of students in the program by collecting information on their term and cumulative GPA. We also measure success by percentage of students who complete their bachelor's degree, and percentage of students who complete at least one professional internship during their undergraduate career. We aim for a 100% graduation rate and for 100% of our students to complete an internship before graduation.
Examples of Program Success  --

Sweet Cases For Children in Foster Care

When children enter the foster care system, they are often given a trash bag to transport their personal belongings from home to home. In these moments, when a child is at their most vulnerable, we believe any bit of comfort and warmth can make all the difference. This is why our goal is to replace these trash bags with our Sweet Cases. Sweet Cases are brand new duffel bags filled with comfort items such as a teddy bear, blanket, coloring book, crayons and a hygiene kit.
Budget  $146,429.97
Category  Youth Development, General/Other Youth Development, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Poor,Economically Disadvantaged,Indigent At-Risk Populations
Program Short-Term Success  The Sweet Cases project aims to provide duffel bags and/or suitcases to foster youth when they first enter the system in order to provide them with a sustainable item to transport their belongings from home to home. At the moment, almost all children in foster care only receive two trash bags to move their personal possessions when they are picked up by social services. In providing foster children with duffel bags filled with various necessities (including hygiene products) and other items (such as stuffed animals), we hope to change the perception the kids acquire when placing their belongings in a trash bag. In addition, it allows foster children to build self-esteem and have something to call their own. TWR seeks to highlight both local and national organizations and resources in order to fill these bags and provide children with a variety of items that will enrich their lives on a day to day basis.
Program Long-Term Success 

TWR believes gifting foster children with Sweet Cases serves as a tangible reminder for children that they are more than just a case number in the system. Our project aims to give foster children a sense of normalcy by reducing the negative trauma through our sweet cases. These simple possessions will aid in nurturing a sense of belonging that every child should experience. In The Role of Symbolic Consumption in Identity Projects: The Case of Foster Children researchers state that “It’s important to instill children with a sense of urgency for their own lives…at times of transition, possessions play an important role, symbolizing relationships and helping to enhance feelings of psychological well-being during liminality.” Our Sweet Cases project combats some of the potential stigmatization that children might have otherwise felt if they traveled with a trash bag. By recruiting volunteers in local areas to assemble and distribute the cases, we increase the awareness of what problems foster children deal with on a daily basis. We know with more exposure our program receives in the community the more they are open to the idea of adopting or becoming foster parents. The Sweet Cases program eliminates the use of trash bags as “luggage” for foster youth from placement to placement and will raise self-esteem and decrease stress levels in times of trauma. Child Welfare Training recognizes personal belongings as a fundamental part of maintaining familiarity in the placement transition period when children change homes. These placements are extremely stressful events for children to experience and having the ability to maintain small constants, such as a duffel bag to keep their belongings safe, can make a huge difference in the comfort level that they experience when they relocate into a new home.

Program Success Monitored By  We have created an extensive database of foster agencies, social workers, foster parents, CASA volunteers, and foster care professionals in Orange county that help us track and monitor where are services are impacting and who is in need of our services. We constantly interview social workers and foster parents to make sure our services are relevant and needed. We stay updated in foster care statistics and issues so understand the need at all times. 
Examples of Program Success  In 2017, we donated 80,000 Sweet Cases and were able to make some key relationships in foster agencies across Orange County. We've been able to identify the needs of foster youth in Orange County and how we can better assist them. 


CEO/Executive Director Gianna Dahlia
CEO Term Start Mar 2012
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Danny Mendoza June 2008 Mar 2015

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
100 Cars For Good Toyota Grantee Toyota 2013
Chase American Giving Awards Chase 2012
Do Something Awards Finalist Do Something 2012
National Jefferson Award Jefferson Awards for Public Service 2012


Affiliation Year
-- --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 20
Number of Part Time Staff 1
Number of Volunteers 1,000
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 75%
Staff Professional Development Yes

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
Caucasian: 8
Hispanic/Latino: 6
Native American/American Indian: --
Other: --
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 17
Male: 3
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 1
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan Yes

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Quarterly

Government Licenses


CEO Comments


Foundation Comments



Board Chair Danny Mendoza
Board Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Chair Term Jan 2008 - Dec 2018
Board Co-Chair Gianna Dahlia
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation Azusa Pacific University
Board Co-Chair Term Jan 2013 - Dec 2017

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Ms. Gianna Dahlia -- Voting
Danny Mendoza California State University Fullerton Voting
Brandon Meyer -- --
Kimberly Moore -- Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 2
Hispanic/Latino: 3
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 2
Male: 3
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 100%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $5,250,000.00
Projected Expenses $3,860,000.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 990

2014 Form 990

2013 990

2012 990

Audit Documents

2017 Audited Financial

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $4,773,445 $2,027,579 $5,124,764
Total Expenses $2,940,763 $2,476,356 $1,200,363

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$4,749,999 $1,942,746 $5,098,435
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- $0 $0
Earned Revenue -- $0 $0
Investment Income, Net of Losses $23,446 $18,651 $15,689
Membership Dues -- $0 $0
Special Events -- $0 $0
Revenue In-Kind -- $0 $0
Other -- $66,182 $8,535

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $2,655,054 $2,277,272 $1,132,580
Administration Expense $255,585 $179,876 $58,764
Fundraising Expense $30,124 $19,208 $9,019
Payments to Affiliates -- $0 $0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.62 0.82 4.27
Program Expense/Total Expenses 90% 92% 94%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 1% 1% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $7,010,904 $3,721,100 $4,169,523
Current Assets $6,955,341 $3,645,274 $4,078,345
Long-Term Liabilities -- $0 $0
Current Liabilities $26,930 $37,785 $40,152
Total Net Assets $6,983,974 $3,683,315 $4,129,371

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 258.27 96.47 101.57

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%
Endowment Value $0.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the Form 990s, compiled financials and consultation with the organization.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.