Impact Report No. 10: Foster The Bay

Impact Report No. 10: Foster The Bay


Foster the Bay


Philip Pattison


The statistics about children and youth in foster care are devastating: Children who grow up in foster care make up 60 percent of the children who are sex trafficked; they are likely to be pregnant before the age of 21; only 3 percent go to college; 50 percent will be unemployed at the age of 24 and 30 percent will be incarcerated.

Philip Pattison, a pastor by training and heart, felt called by God to mobilize the church to deal with the issue in the 11 Bay Area counties adding Santa Cruz and San Benito counties to the traditional nine counties that border San Francisco Bay.

Reuniting families often is the best outcome for the child. In the cases where reunification is not an option, adoption often through fostering becomes the best choice. The good news is there are about 7,000 children in foster care and if each church in the Bay Area raised up one foster family and four support families, the problem would be solved.

Pattison, who left his church job in 2018 to work full-time as the executive director, told partners that after conversations with a Santa Clara County worker, she invited him to “spearhead a faith alliance” to recruit and support more foster families.

He cited three reasons:

  1. Orphans are nearest to God’s heart according to scripture.
  2. Their story (orphans) is our story because God adopted us into his family.
  3. If the church steps up, we are leading systemic change that will pay huge societal dividends to generations for to come.

Pattison understands what it takes to be a foster family because he, his wife and their three children are living it. Their first foster child was a girl who was 4 months old. She called him “Dad,” his wife, “Mom,” and the foster child became a sister for their kids. Her biological family got its act together after about a year, coming to Christ and meeting the legal requirements, so in a day that was both heartwarming and heartbreaking, Philip handed his fostered daughter back to her biological father.

Foster the Bay has developed a turn-key program for churches that guides and supports the pastor and the leadership if they are feeling called. Pattison’s group focuses on church and the family and support family recruitment, relying on the government agencies to do screening, training and licensing the families.

To date, they have partnered with 30 churches that resulted in 65 families supported by 174 other families and 90 children placed. It takes about a year for a family to be licensed by the county agencies. (It can be shorter with a private agency.) Foster the Bay uses that time to help the team of families build relationships and prepare for the placement.

Foster the Bay started in Santa Clara County, expanded into San Mateo County and is preparing to launch in the City and County of San Francisco. Pattison was heartened there when a government worker told him that the “faith community was the key missing piece.” Marin County is next on the list.


What’s the best financial strategy to sustain and scale our work across the Bay Area?


Philip Pattison was joined by Roger Dill (coach) and Kim Pace (facilitator/scribe) and six other Barnabas partners for the Ideation.

Philip said Foster the Bay needs help with developing financial projections and then raising the funds to expand into all 11 Bay Area counties. Each county is staffed with a part-time regional director, a part-time program director plus a volunteer pastor to support the pastor with the foster program and director of advocates with the churches.

The current budget is $330,000 and is projected to increase to $500,000. As the organization grows, he anticipates bringing a development director, a marketing director and an operations director onto the staff.

Partners suggested developing an advisory board, a strategic plan and considering how churches with programs started by Foster the Bay could invest in other churches starting down the path.

Partners recommended the following:

  1. Gather your history (know costs, numbers, stats).
  2. Figure out the pieces needed to go forward: people, support system, media/material, etc. (strategic planning).
  3. Determine your deliverables (both historic and future).
  4. Find a mentor and/or advisory board.
    • Be clear about expectations of the Board.
    • Advisory board is place to audition/groom future Board of Directors.
    • Six-month strategic goals: strategic plan, financial development plan, staffing projections.
  5. Work with someone experienced in developing strategic plan.
  6. Explore Transforming the Bay with Christ connections.
  7. Create support system around Foster the Bay so Philip can stay focused in his lane.

Philip Pattison came out of his Barnabas Ideation Session laser-focused on two areas:

  1. To write a strategic plan that would make it easier to focus on developing a financial plan that will support Foster the Bay’s effort to scale its ministry (expanding all 11 counties in the Bay Area);
  2. For Philip to find a mentor and/or an advisory board.

To date, Philip has completed most of a comprehensive business plan. In the process, Foster the Bay has filled three key paid staff positions, added three new advisory board members (and is looking for one more), and has determined that they will require a 50 percent increase in funding for next year. In addition, they have raised funds to begin launching their East County area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties).

Foster the Bay has greater clarity on its six-month strategic plan and is executing on its primary mission.

Finally, Philip has been working with a mentor, Filipe Santos, who he has found extremely helpful. Philip wanted Barnabas Partners to know how much he appreciates our investment, clarity and assistance.