Dani’s video – “Will I feel Safe?”

Forward Foundation Parent, Dani, briefly discusses the emotional challenges faced by single parents and shares her personal experience upon joining the Forward Foundation. Initially intimidated by the prospect of meeting new people, she found a welcoming and non-judgmental community that offered an outpouring of love and support.  Working with the Forward Foundation means you are safe and supported.

Back to School / Back to Schedule

YouTube Video/Reel: https://youtube.com/shorts/3nnkC05FLEk?feature=share

Navigating Back-to-School as a Single Parent: Three Practical Tips

The school bell rings, signaling a new academic year and a fresh set of challenges. If you’re a single parent, the back-to-school season can be particularly overwhelming. Here are three essential tips to help you survive and thrive during these hectic weeks.

1. Plan, Plan, Plan

Time is often a luxury single parents can’t afford to waste. Use a planner or digital app to schedule everything from pick-up and drop-off times to grocery shopping and family meals. Prepare lunches and outfits the night before to reduce morning chaos.

2. Team Up

You don’t have to go through this journey alone. Create a support network with other parents who can help with carpools or last-minute emergencies. If your child forgets their lunch, knowing there’s a neighbor who can help out will be a lifesaver. The community you build will provide emotional support too, something underestimated, but crucial for single parents.

3. Prioritize Self-Care

It’s easy to get consumed by the whirlwind of school supplies, homework, and parent-teacher conferences. But remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Take a few minutes each day to breathe, meditate, or enjoy a cup of tea in silence. You deserve it, and what’s more, it equips you to tackle parenting challenges with renewed energy.


Forward Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to assisting working, single parents and their children in the Greater Richmond area who are in the midst of a financial crisis.

Empowering Action to Move Forward | Navigating life’s challenges as a community

Halfway ’til Gala: A Milestone of Support, Solidarity, and Celebration

As we savor the festive moods of the holiday season, there’s another special milestone to acknowledge—it’s exactly “Halfway ’til Gala”!

With February 24, 2024, drawing nearer, the Forward Foundation family can’t help but buzz with excitement for our 5th annual Celebratory Gala. This year, the event takes a grand turn, moving to the opulent Cultural Center of India, a venue perfectly aligned with the grandeur of this landmark occasion. But let’s not forget the core of why we celebrate—the magic of community, as well as the impact of donor and parent interactions.

Soliél Lindsey, our Operations Coordinator, described her first experience at the gala as “truly magical.” She said, “I don’t think I’d ever been to a gala before so to experience it was wonderful. Seeing so many people in the room have a heart for single parents truly blessed me and made me feel overwhelmed with support.” Soliél’s sentiments get to the heart of why this gala is more than just a fundraiser. It’s a declaration: “People actually see and value us!”

These interactions between parents and donors are invaluable, for as Soliél adds, “It’s my hope that all of our parents get to join as often as they can so that they can see the faces of those who have supported their families through difficulty. Not only that, I believe it’s important that our donors get to see and meet our families as well. To hear their stories and be impressed by such an amazing group of single parents should alter their lives and perspective forever.”

Board Member, KC Murphys, echoes the enthusiasm and promise of what’s to come: “The 2024 Gala will be everything and more than years past! It is being hosted in a new luxurious venue to help Forward Foundation celebrate the 5th milestone year of the event.” According to Murphys, it’s not just the venue that’s getting an upgrade. “It will be a fun night with more casino games, dancing and exciting auction items,” she notes, inviting everyone to “get glammed up to spend a memorable evening supporting the most deserving Forward Foundation and help them celebrate this landmark event.”

As we reach the halfway mark to this momentous occasion, we are reminded that the gala serves as a unique spotlight, illuminating the strength, resilience, and courage of our single-parent families while offering our donors a close-up view of the lives they are changing. It’s more than casino games, auction items, or a dance floor. It’s a celebration of community and the transformative power of support.

So as we excitedly count down the days, let’s take a moment to appreciate the journey so far and anticipate the unparalleled evening that lies ahead. Let’s commit to making the next six months of preparation, collaboration, and unity worth every second, as we work together to ensure that the 5th milestone year of the Forward Foundation Celebratory Gala will be one for the history books.

We look forward to celebrating with you next year!  To stay connected and be the first to learn when Gala tickets go on-sale, subscribe to our Forward Foundation Newsletter. https://forwardfoundationva.org/contact-us/#newsletter


New Chapter of Empowerment: The Junior League of Richmond Partners with Forward Foundation

We are thrilled to announce a transformative partnership between the Junior League of Richmond (JLR) and the Forward Foundation. This collaboration is a testament to our shared mission of empowering women and fostering community impact.

The Junior League of Richmond, an organization committed to advancing women’s leadership for meaningful community impact, has generously granted a single payment of $30,000 to the Forward Foundation. The JLR’s grant will significantly increase the number of monthly childcare subsidies offered by the Forward Foundation, from 12 to 20. This support provides working, single parents experiencing financial crisis with peace of mind, knowing their children are properly cared for. It also offers them financial flexibility to save, pay down debt, or make necessary repairs.

Andrea Starr, CEO of Forward Foundation VA, expressed her gratitude for the partnership, stating, “Being able to collaborate with the Junior League of Richmond has been an immense blessing for our families. The JLR’s hands-on, intentional, and thoughtful manner in which they are contributing to the empowerment of our families is truly transformational.”

This partnership provides not only a beacon of hope for single parent families, but offers tangible solutions from a community who cares deeply about their success.

Together, we can navigate life’s challenges as a community with strength, perseverance, persistence, and purposefulness.

75 Year Salute to Women in the Military

The Department of Veterans Affairs recently hosted an event commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act. This milestone celebration took place at the Virginia War Memorial, bringing together esteemed guests and attendees to pay tribute to the invaluable contributions of Women Veterans over the years.

Oftentimes, single-parent military families may feel overlooked due to the traditional network of support many married military parents receive. Forward Foundation’s services provide resources, a safe space, and unique opportunities to receive additional support needed as a single parent. Unconventional deployment and working hours oftentimes makes finding affordable and adequate child care difficult. Our childcare subsidy allows parents more options in finding the best fit for their unique needs.

It’s ingrained in veterans to serve; our organization is the perfect place to fulfill this duty and desire due to our pay-it-forward approach. We are always seeking opportunities for our families to serve, give back, and volunteer. If there are talents and hobbies that our parents possess, we encourage them to share them with our other families so they can be of support to each other. From offering cooking classes to workout classes to confidence coaching, our fellow parents truly do stand in the gap for one another!

Case in point, Erica is a Forward Foundation mom who has seen a great benefit in being part of our community. She is a busy mom with many duties on her plate including serving in the Navy and working a full-time job. As you can see in the video, she is beyond grateful for the many resources provided by our community partners during such a transitional time in her life. As she is no stranger to serving, she also has an opportunity to serve using her personal gifts and interests. Erica enjoys staying in shape and has led boot camp classes for the other moms (and their littles) to lessen the stress in their busy lives and keep them in shape.

– Soliél Lindsey

Why The Forward Foundation Community is So Essential?

This is the kind of community that doesn’t merely exist; it nurtures, it heals, and it propels us forward. It’s where strength blossoms, and resilience thrives, helping our parents navigate through the most challenging phases of life.

The Forward Foundation community stands as an unwavering pillar, brimming with heart and compassion. It’s an entity that roots for its participants and provides a safe harbor devoid of judgment. Most importantly, it’s a community infused with confidentiality, allowing parents to just be themselves. It’s a connection built on shared experiences, trust, and unconditional support. They understand each other, often without the need to explain or justify.

One of the most transformative aspects of this community is the sharing. Parent’s swap resources, share stories, and send messages of encouragement on both good and bad days.

In the end, the Forward Foundation serves as a beacon of what a loving community should be. It’s a testament to the power of support, love, and understanding. This community stands firm, continuously inspiring and reminding us that with a solid network of support, we can indeed get through just about anything.

What Are Your Top 5 Reasons?

Every choice you make has a reason behind it. From the time you wake up until you lay your head back down, you make choices. Difficult ones, simple ones and some you wish you didn’t have to make. The Forward Foundation team is so proud of you for choosing to grow as a Forward Foundation parent.

This time of self-discovery hasn’t always been easy, but you’re not letting that stop you. When you look back on your time with us, we hope your top 5 reasons for being a Forward Foundation parent bring a smile to your face and a sense of accomplishment in your heart.

We hope this time has given you the confidence to make those tough decisions and know that you’re doing the right thing. Your Forward Foundation family will always be there for you.

The 2023 Celebratory Gala – What is it? How can I help?

You step into the ballroom at the Acca Shriners center and are transported to a place of fun and whimsy. This year’s Gala will be no exception, and we can’t wait to celebrate the many milestones reached and the promising year ahead for the Forward Foundation.

Some of you will come as current parents in the program and experience an outpouring of the love and support of the entire Forward Foundation Community for the first time, while others will be there to support an organization they love and appreciate.

No matter the reason, we hope you’ll join us on Saturday, February 25th.

How did the Gala get started?
The inception of our annual celebratory gala began on February 29, 2020. Our introductory gala was a really BIG deal because it was the official launch of our rebranding from The Sophie House to Forward Foundation. The gala was our opportunity to gather everyone together and celebrate their contributions in making Forward Foundation a reality. Everyone involved including our families, donors, community partners, and board members who had worked so diligently behind the scenes now had the chance to meet one another firsthand. The immense impact that had on everyone involved was palpable.

How does the Gala support our parents?
Forward Foundation hosts two large fundraisers each year, our Annual Celebratory Gala and our GO FORWARD TOGETHER Ride. The gala is our largest fundraiser and the main revenue source for our program funding each year. The money raised goes to support our families with childcare subsidies, financial education, parenting coaching, career advancement opportunities, and mental health support. The revenue raised also funds our community events such as healthy meal prep workshops, outings, holiday activities, picnics, and so much more. Without this funding support our programming wouldn’t be possible.

How can someone get involved to help?
Anyone can attend the event! Tickets are available at https://forwardfoundationgala.com.

There are a multitude of different ways for individuals or organizations to become involved in supporting the Forward Foundation. Anyone interested in getting involved can reach out via our website www.forwardfoundationva.org and submit a volunteer sign up form.

Volunteer opportunities consist of various ways to be involved, such as leading a workshop, serving as an advisory committee member, hosting an event for our families, holding a fundraiser, offering mentorship and more.

The Best Gift You Can Give This Year – A Community of Support

It’s the holiday season. You’re making lists of gifts to give and experiences to have. You’re catching up with friends and family for coffee and meals. You’re taking the time to slow down and really talk to people you haven’t seen in a while.

Maybe the stress of gift-giving is causing a little more anxiety than you’d like. Ok maybe it’s causing a lot more. There’s something priceless and selfless you can give to another single parent: your experience.

Only you know what it is like to be a single parent during the holidays.

Figuring out how to split up the time and make the most of the precious time you have with your children means there could be some unwanted alone time.

Check in with those parents. The gift of Community can mean a world of difference to the well-being of a single parent.

That’s what makes the Forward Foundation Community so different. We’re constantly in awe of the deep relationships our parents form through shared experiences and vulnerability.

Every time a parent in the program feels stronger and more secure about their future, the Forward Foundation is making a difference.

Our goal is to support, educate and empower more single parents in 2023 than ever before, and we need your help. Share your story. Share the Forward Foundation with people, organizations and companies.

Your willingness to be there for each other is a gift. You might be the very gift someone needs this season.

Happy Holidays,
Your Forward Foundation Family

Andrea, Mary, Soliél
Jamie, David, Pam, Tim, Bo and Micah

What I’m Thankful For

The holidays are a time for reflection. This year, the Forward Foundation Team is thankful for so many things. Most of all, you, our Forward Foundation parents. We asked our new Operations Coordinator, Soliél Lindsey, to share what she’s thankful for this holiday season.

‘Tis the season where we reflect on the year and what we’re grateful for. As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to take time to share some personal reflections.

Just like so many of you reading, I am still recovering in my own way from the COVID-19 pandemic and its lingering effects. During this process, it’s been vital to keep my focus on positive things and not so much on the many changes I’ve endured.

Simply put, I am thankful for my family – both God given and created. My immediate and extended family have come together in a way that really makes me proud. I particularly love the increased family video chats and “just checking on you” calls. My framily (friends turned family) have also been incredible during this time. Where one may be in need, the other picks up and vice versa. It’s been wonderful to feel and watch the community in action!

I believe we can conquer a lot with love and family. That’s a reminder I’ve been getting over the last few weeks and wanted to share with you. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I hope this helps you reflect on your own gratitude.

Happy Holidays!